Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Snowy Owl on Saturday's CBC

December 26:  Ethan Kibbey sends us this photo of a Snowy Owl taken with the Central Group (see post below) on Saturday's Muskegon CBC near the Hartshorn Marina bike trail.

Snowy Owl by Ethan Kibbey

Sunday, December 24, 2017

City of Muskegon Christmas Bird Count


Yesterday (Dec. 23) three groups of birders censused a 15-mile circle (centered downtown) on our annual City of Muskegon Christmas Bird Count.  When the final numbers are compiled, we'll post them here.

The "bird of the day" was this Marsh Wren found by the Central Group near the abandoned B.C. Cobb Plant and photographed by Ethan Kibbey:

The South Group found two Common Ravens at the Wood Road bridge near Black Lake.

Nothing exotic was found by the North Group, but Carol Cooper took these photos on the Muskegon State Park walk from Snug Harbor to the Muskegon Channel:

Some of us met for lunch near the spiral (and possibly haunted) staircase in the Cherokee Restaurant.

- Ric

One-Quarter of the Wastewater CBC

On Wednesday Dec. 20 at least a dozen people helped Brian Johnson with the annual Muskegon Wastewater Christmas Bird Count.  When more data is compiled, I'll post it here.

At the moment I have just the numbers that Jim Zervos and I collected from 8:30-11:40 a.m. driving 24 miles in the Northeast Quadrant, a "piece of pie" with its point at the intersection of Ravenna Road (Newaygo Rd-35) and White Road and its "outer crust" curving from just north of Bridgeton east and south to Bailey.

- Ric

swan sp. (Cygnus sp.)  2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  5
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  11
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia)  3
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  63
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  5
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  22
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  20
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  6
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  6
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  45
American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)  18   
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  9
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  6
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  12
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  33

Friday, December 22, 2017

Snowy Owl at Grand Haven Friday

This Snowy Owl was at the Grand Haven Channel for a while in the late afternoon.  There was too much foot traffic so after about 45 minutes, the owl took off.

- Charlie DeWitt

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hermit Thrush and Yellow-rumped Warbler

December 19 Email:

Tracy and I had this Hermit Thrush at the house yesterday and we have a continuing Yellow-rumped Warbler too.  Haven’t been able to get a decent picture of the warbler yet.

- Jim Zervos

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Three Snowy Owls at Muskegon State Park

 Snowy Owls
These two were on the north breakwall
about 100 meters from the end.

 Snowy Owl
This one was on the north inner arm.
It flew to the south pier for a few minutes,
then took off for parts unknown.

All pictures were taken from the south inner arm.

- Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Peregrine and Goshawk on Saturday

November 29 Email:

Attached are two photos from Saturday at the Wastewater.  One is a Peregrine Falcon with a Mallard it had taken seconds before Marcia and I arrived.  The other is a member of a local falconer club with a Gyrfalcon.  We talked with the man awhile in the grass cells.  He didn't fly the bird because of the wind.
- Phil Willemstein

Wednesday Morning at Black Lake Park

 White-breasted Nuthatch

 Hairy Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Yesterday I spent two hours at Black Lake Park.  It was a beautiful morning to be outside.  Not many birds, but some of them let me take their pictures.

- Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Great Black-backed Gulls at Grand Haven

Great Black-backed Gull

There were three adult Great Black-backed Gulls at Grand Haven State Park this morning.

- Charlie DeWitt

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Long Birding Caravan on Caleb's DNR Trip

Over 45 people in 21 vehicles followed Caleb Putnam on his Michigan DNR Field Trip around the Wastewater lagoons this morning.  It was by far the most vehicles I've ever seen driving together while actively bird-watching.

There were not as many birds, particularly waterbirds, as we had hoped for.  Among the notables were a young Bald Eagle panicking the duck flocks over the east lagoon, two American Black Ducks, a Long-tailed Duck and hundreds of Snow Buntings foraging on and flying around the center dike.

- Ric

Saturday, November 11, 2017

No Fox Sparrow at Hemlock Crossing

Following some recent Ottawa County eBird reports of Fox Sparrow, I drove down to Hemlock Crossing this morning with hopes of seeing one.  No such luck.  I did, however, see Phil Willemstein, Marcia Fellows, and a few dozen birds of ten species at the feeders including five American Tree Sparrows

Hairy Woodpecker pair by Phil Willemstein

Blue Jay
- Ric

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Three November Events

Details regarding our program (Nov. 16) and two field trips (Nov. 17 and 18) are posted on our homepage.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Trumpeter Swans at Black Lake This Morning

Before the rains I enjoyed a walk around the south half of Black Lake Park this morning.  Besides the usual species there were two Trumpeter Swans out on the lake.  One gave the "trombone mouthpiece" call before the pair flew off to the northeast.

- Ric

Friday, October 27, 2017

Good Grebe! Bad Downy!

Two October 27 Emails:

I was at the Wastewater yesterday and came across this and another Eared Grebe.  They were in the southeast corner of the large east lagoon.

- Phil Willemstein

Never assume woodpeckers are on your siding just looking for bugs.  Our Downy Woodpecker knows it's warm in there.  Beyond the blue styrofoam insulation is the fluffy stuff.  That's where it's cozy.  This guy started the hole last year and I boarded it over as a temporary measure.  I have not gotten around to replacing the board.  The cover board fell off and the bugger resumed his project.

- Ken Sapkowski

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Updated Spider Information from Mike

October 25 Email (regarding previous post):

I had looked at a site for a brown recluse and found a picture of one, but it wasn't a website from a university or such.  Somewhere at that site there was an ability for people to put in their own pictures which caused me to mis-identify this spider. After more research I have come to the conclusion that this is a "Carolina wolf spider" the largest spider in Michigan.  I should have put a saddle on it and tried to ride it!  - Mike VanderStelt

Mike's size-reference photo.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Spider and Owl Reports

Two October 24 Emails:

I think this might be a Brown Recluse spider.  Its legs are curled because it is dead. I sprayed it with some automotive brake cleaner, but I got a good picture of it. I didn't want to do it while it was alive because I didn't know how fast they could move, and I didn't want to "p--- it off" with my hand down there. 😲

- Mike VanderStelt

I don't blame you!  Thanks for the photo.  I don't know if it's a recluse or not.  Maybe someone will post a comment or send an email.  - Ric

- - -

Just a quick note and a photo to let you know that the Short-eared Owls are back at the Wastewater facility.

- Jerry Vis

Jerry, that's good to know.  Without Mike Moran anymore, we're not as informed as we used to be about Short-eared's out there.  - Ric

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bahama Mama Made it!

October 22 Email:

Bahama Mama has arrived back at Abaco.

- Carol Cooper

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Upper Macatawa Field Trip Report

Pictures and details of our 43-species field trip to the Upper Macatawa Natural Area this morning are posted on our homepage.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday Morning at Black Lake Park

 White-throated Sparrow

There was a lot of sparrow activity at Black Lake Park this morning.  I saw White-throated, White-crowned, Song and Swamp Sparrow.

- Charlie DeWitt

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yellow Rumps and Ruby Crowns Today

There were several Yellow-rumped Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets accompanied by Black-capped Chickadees foraging the woods east of my house this morning.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

- Ric

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Finally Some Raptors Migrating!

Today was the third time this season that I'd hoped to see some hawks migrating; the first two times were disappointments.  This morning I watched for 90 minutes from the south wall of the Muskegon Channel east of the USS McLane.

I counted 39 migrating raptors (29 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 8 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 American Kestrel), 47 migrating Turkey Vultures, plus 13 probably-migrating Canada Geese and ?? migrating Blue Jays (220 total, most probably migrating, but due to conditions only ~75 visible streaming southbound over the channel.

Turkey Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk
- Ric

Juncos Are Back in Town.

 Dark-eyed Junco

I saw 20 Dark-eyed Juncos at Ellis Road today.

- Charlie DeWitt

Monday Morning at Black Lake Park

 Yellow-rumped Warbler

 Northern Flickers

 Song Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

I spent 2 1/2 hours at Black Lake Park and counted 22 species of birds. There were 14 Pied-billed Grebes on the lake.

- Charlie DeWitt

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pipits and Peregrines

Charlie's Wednesday post motivated me to head to the Wastewater this morning to get a "free" Year Bird.  I saw at least 25 American Pipits including this one on the wall of the aeration cells.  (Year Bird #181, not that anyone is counting.)

Among the other ten bird species at WW today were a singing Eastern Meadowlark east of the headquarters building (seemed pretty late in the season) and well over 1,000 Northern Shovelers in the northeast corner of the West Lagoon.

Later from the south side of the Muskegon Channel I saw "two" Peregrine Falcons fly from beyond the trees on the north side, low over the Channel, and then southbound out of sight.  That seems remarkable whether it was two migrating peregrines within the same hour or whether it was the same local bird seen twice since there are no documented peregrines nesting in Greater Muskegon this year as they used to at the Cobb plant smokestack.

- Ric

Friday at Jeff's Dune

I spent a little over two hours yesterday morning (Oct. 6) on Jeff's Dune (Muskegon State Park 1/4 mile north of the Muskegon Channel) witnessing virtually no raptor migration: just 5 Sharp-shinned Hawks.  (Last Saturday at the same location I saw only one migrating raptor, also a Sharpie.)

This adult Red-tailed Hawk moved around the property during the morning upsetting the crows wherever it went.   I also saw a Merlin perched on a snag north of the dune.

I counted 210 migrating Blue Jays among the 19 total species.  Others were the usual suspects.

This White-tailed Deer hurried into the jack pines below the dune after it and its buddy meandered out of the Snug Harbor woods.

At 8:40 I had to slow my car on Memorial Drive east of Scenic Drive to avoid hitting the "Wild" Turkeys in the road.  At 11:20 on my way home I had to do the same thing at the same location!

- Ric