Saturday, November 21, 2015

November 21 Field Trip Report

Thirteen of us put up with snow covering the ground, filling the air, and melting on our binoculars at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve this morning.  Eight continued on to Snug Harbor.  We recorded a dozen bird species at each location and a total of 16 species for the day.

Notable at the preserve were 15 American Tree Sparrows, a Pied-billed Grebe, 3 Fox Sparrows and a first-year White-crowned Sparrow.  Snug Harbor provided another Pied-billed Grebe and an appropriate sixteenth species: Dark-eyed Junco (the "snow bird").

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October 17 Field Trip Report, Etc.

Seven birders recorded 27 bird species this morning on Charlie's field trip to Black Lake Park.

It snowed briefly as we walked along the ditch bordering the south side of the property and duck hunter shotguns occasionally blasted west of us by the lake.

Birds of note included Eastern Phoebe, White-throated Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Sandhill Crane (2 flying overhead), Hermit Thrush, Hairy Woodpecker (excavating a tall tree stump),

American Coot (200+ on the lake despite the hunters), Redhead, Ruddy Duck, Cooper's Hawk (flew over the meadow, then perched in a distant tree),

and this pair of curious Eastern Bluebirds:

The sun came out for our last half hour but it still remained cold!

- Ric

PS:  Thanks to Greg for conducting Thursday's meeting while Carol and I dealt with the aftermath of a branch falling on our garage roof.  No one hurt and not a lot of damage, but definitely memorable!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September 19 Field Trip Report

The rain stopped before our monthly field trip began.  Seven of us walked the protected trails of the Kitchell-Lindquist Dunes Preserve and the windy north side of the Grand Haven Channel this morning recording 30 species of birds.

In the woods of the preserve we saw Swainson's Thrush, Blue-headed Vireo, a female Scarlet Tanager and some warblers including Yellow-rumped Sharp-shinned Hawk, Northern Harrier and Red-tailed Hawk migrated overhead.

The highlight was a sleeping Eastern Whip-Poor-Will brought to our attention by a mobbing group of chickadees and nuthatches that must have mistaken it for a raptor.

Merlin greeted us at the north pier parking lot and seven Sanderling fought the strong winds while foraging along the Lake Michigan shoreline north of the pier.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 15 Field Trip Report

Twelve of us (not counting unexcused tardy individuals) birded the Wastewater properties this morning without seeing a single Tree Swallow!.

 Photo by Carol Cooper

We recorded 50 bird species (49 not including the pair of Egyptian Geese in Churning Lagoon #3, or 51 including the eight phalaropes in non-breeding plumage swimming too far out on the West Lagoon to I.D.) notably Blue-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Sandhill Crane, White-rumped Sandpiper (SE corner of East Lagoon), Bank, Barn & Cliff Swallows, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Dickcissel, Bobolink and a Common Raven flying from the landfill to a sprinkler unit east of Swanson where it "crawked".

 Great Blue Heron by Carol DeWitt

Without enough dry habitat in Churning Lagoon #2 shorebirds were confined to the small lagoon (#5) and the edges of the big lagoons.  We gave eBird 24 Killdeer, 9 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 12 Lesser Yellowlegs, 6 Least, 1 White-rumped, 1 Pectoral and 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper.  Sparrows were limited to 2 Chipping, 4 Field and 9 Song.

Bobolink by Charlie DeWitt

As always, lots of fun birding with a great group of people on a beautiful day!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 18 Allegan Field Trip Report

The original plan was to walk a one-mile loop on the Allegan State Game Area in the morning followed by lunch at the Crane's Orchard Restaurant.  Instead (thanks to an impressive and beautiful storm front), we headed up to Crane's as the rains came, then returned to the SGA for a partial walk at midday after the skies had cleared.

Led by Feller DeWitt, nine of us recorded 26 bird species including a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, a pair of Eastern Towhees, families of Tree Swallows and Eastern Kingbirds, 20 Sandhill Cranes, 3 Dickcissels, Barn Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings and plenty of sparrows (Field, Grasshopper, Chipping and Song).

Pardon the blurry images, but prior to the storm this Dickcissel sat for pictures, showing off his rubber-necked ability to preen.

Do not try this at home!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 20 Snug Harbor Field Trip Report

Our group of twelve found 50 bird species at Snug Harbor (Muskegon State Park) this beautiful morning.  See the complete report and pictures posted today on our Recent Sightings page.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 30 Montague Field Trip Report

Rains were light to moderate as Dayle Vanderwier led five people (Henderson Preserve) and four people (Clear Springs Preserve) bird-watching northeast of Montague this morning. 

No cardinals or chickadees all day!  No ducks either, though it was a good day for them.  Of the fourteen species at Henderson, notable were Green Heron, Cedar Waxwing and Black-billed Cuckoo.  Of the twelve species at Clear Springs, the Belted Kingfisher and a Magnolia Warbler were the highlights.

Of the three species outside the windows of the Harbor View Grille in Whitehall during lunch, best were the 12+ Chimney Swifts.

Despite the damp conditions, everyone had a good time!

Hope to see you on our summer field trips (see side bar for dates and places).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 23 Big Day Count Report

Another very large THANK YOU to all nineteen people who took part in our Big Day Count Saturday (May 23, 2015).  A special thanks to Marc Miedema for bringing his little tape player and Travis Dewys for taking photos of the event.

It was cold and the birds were not easily gotten.  Here are the 108 bird species that we found and where we found them:

Lane's Landing:  American Robin, Whip-poor-will, Northern Cardinal, Wood Thrush, Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, American Woodcock, Pied-billed Grebe, Canada Goose, Common Yellowthroat, Gray Catbird, Wood Duck, Red-winged Blackbird, Willow Flycatcher, Mourning Dove, Common Grackle, Sandhill Crane, Marsh Wren, European Starling, Mallard, Tree Swallow, Wild Turkey, Alder Flycatcher, Northern Flicker, Song Sparrow, Least Flycatcher, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, American Goldfinch, Great Crested Flycatcher, American Crow, Red-eyed Vireo, American Redstart, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Wood-pewee, Black-capped Chickadee, Baltimore Oriole, Downy Woodpecker, Indigo Bunting, Brown-headed Cowbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Warbling Vireo, Eastern Kingbird, Sora, Barn Swallow, Least Bittern, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Jay, Brown Thrasher, Double-crested Cormorant and Turkey Vulture.

Muskegon County Wastewater System:  Killdeer, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Shoveler, Eastern Meadowlark, Dunlin, Semipalmated Plover, Bank Swallow, Blue-winged Teal, Grasshopper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Brewer's Blackbird, Wilson's Snipe, Horned Lark, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Turnstone, Least Sandpiper, Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, American Wigeon, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Rock Pigeon, White-rumped Sandpiper, Ruddy Duck, Belted Kingfisher, American Coot, Eared Grebe, ** Black Scoter **, Bald Eagle, Horned Grebe and Bonaparte's Gull.

State Game Area Headquarters:  House Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Scarlet Tanager, House Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Blue-winged Warbler, Bobolink, American Bittern, Vesper Sparrow and Upland Sandpiper.

Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve:  Caspian Tern and Mute Swan.

Snug Harbor:  Common Loon.

Muskegon Channel across from USS Silversides:  Purple Martin.

Ellis Road:  Eastern Phoebe and Chipping Sparrow.

- Feller DeWitt

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Final Club Meeting of This Season

Our annual potluck picnic meeting was Thursday May 21 at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve pavilion.  Everyone enjoyed the food, companionship and a bird walk afterward on a cool, beautiful evening.

Thanks to Carol Cooper for many of the preparations, the cake and these photos from the event.

New Book on Birds of Ottawa County

A new book, Birds of Ottawa County, Michigan: An Annotated Checklist, includes the most up-to-date information on the 328 species of birds that have been observed in Ottawa County over the years. Each species account includes current breeding status and describes when the bird is present in the county and how likely you are to see each species at the appropriate time of the year. There is additional information on range, natural history and locations for many species. There are also seasonal bar graphs for each species that quickly show when each bird is present and how common it is when it is present. In addition to the species accounts and graphs, the book lists over 20 of the best birding locations and provides valuable information about birding in Ottawa County.
The book is coauthored by Chip Francke, Carl Manning, and Judi Manning. The authors volunteered all their time writing and researching this publication. Ottawa County Parks funded the project and all proceeds from book sales will go to the Ottawa County Parks Nature Education Center.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Michigan artist Amelia Hansen including an original color painting of Pileated Woodpeckers for the front cover. Over 25 of her excellent black and white bird illustrations are found throughout this publication. Amelia was chosen to be the 2015 International Migratory Bird Day artist. You can see more of her work at the Ottawa County Parks Nature Education Center. Local Muskegon graphic designer Amy Gustin completed the layout of the book and created the seasonal bar graphs.

The 156 page book costs $14.95 and can be purchased at the Ottawa County Parks Nature Education Center located at Hemlock Crossing County Park in Port Sheldon Township (closed Monday). For more information, please call 616-786-4847.