Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two 2014 Christmas Bird Count Reports


We're processing the data from our two Christmas Bird Counts: Dec. 17 Wastewater Circle (Brian Johnson, leader) and Dec. 20 City of Muskegon Circle (Feller DeWitt, Charlie DeWitt, Ric Pedler, Ken Sherburn and Dayle Vanderwier, group leaders).

We'll post the totals once they're compiled.  Meanwhile here are four pictures (first, second and fourth by Carol Cooper) from the northside where eight people walked Muskegon State Park from 8:00 til noon finding 273 birds of 22 species (not including the thousands of distant ducks flying far out over Lake Michigan).


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

November Field Trip Report


Ken, Carol, Charlie and I tolerated wet slippery conditions to bird the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve this morning.  Cell phone photo by Charlie:


For awhile there were no birds anywhere.  Really.  However, as the drizzle decreased, the birds increased, and we finished the day with 21 species.

Notable were two Tundra Swans southwest of the boardwalk, two Bald Eagle flyovers, at least three Fox Sparrows up close and personal by the feeders at the pavillion (undoubtedly aware that we had no cameras), a probable Merlin zipping through the upper branches and then out over the lake, an accipiter (probably the Cooper's Hawk who murdered Carol's cardinal a few days ago), plenty of living Northern Cardinals, some American Tree Sparrows, the sound of red-breasted nuthatch performed by a duck hunter's mallard-caller, and plenty of gunfire, several booms very close to the preserve.

- Ric

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October Field Trip Report


Without Dayle Vanderwier today, Charlie DeWitt led a group of eleven around the Wastewater properties this cold, damp, windy morning.  

Despite the conditions we recorded 37 species including a Tundra Swan, an American Wigeon, 30 American Black Duck, 3,000 Northern Shoveler, 12 Green-winged Teal, 2,000 Ruddy Duck, a Northern Harrier, 4 Bald Eagle, both Yellowleg species, 3 Pectoral Sandpiper, 75 Bonaparte's Gull, 24 American Pipit, 4 Savannah Sparrow, 7 Meadowlark and a Brown-headed Cowbird.

Thanks to Carol DeWitt for these photos of the group and an Eastern Meadowlark.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Extra Field Trips, Anyone?


     Our 2014-2015 Field Trips are posted along the left side below.  However, there are several open dates remaining if anyone is interested in organizing additional trips.
     For example, Allegan and Berrien Counties have been suggested, or the Montague area, or another trip to northern Ohio like last season.
     Besides weekdays, next year's open Saturdays include April 25, May 2 and May 30. Please let Ric know if you're interested.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Meinert Park / Flower Creek Dunes Preserve



This morning 17 people accompanied Justin Hesslinga around the Meinert Park area including the Land Conservancy of Michigan's new Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve.  Strong southwest winds made birding difficult, but forecast rains never arrived and the sun even shone for awhile.

Only eight bird species were encountered: southbound mergansers (Common or Red-breasted), a Turkey Vulture, southbound Sanderlings (four stopped briefly on the beach to chase the waves), Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, southbound terns (Common or Forsters), a Blue Jay and some Black-capped Chickadees.

This is the rare Pitcher Thistle protected and managed on the preserve:


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wastewater Field Trip



Feller and Charlie DeWitt led a group of ten people around the Wastewater properties today recording 39 bird species.


Thanks to Travis Dewys for these pictures of the group and some of this morning's birds: Lesser Yellowlegs, young Red-tailed Hawk, adult Bald Eagle, and Stilt Sandpiper.





Saturday, July 19, 2014

Montague Field Trip


This morning Feller led seven of us northeast of Montague around the Henderson Lake Nature Center and the Clear Springs Preserve where we recorded 14 and 17 species respectively.

Ken scans the south end of Henderson Lake.


We had several sightings of Green Heron here, plus a Least Bittern.  There were fewer birds along the north side probably due to dozens of frisbee competitors, many of them decked out professionally.


They did not frighten this pair of "wood ducks" which are ...



... according to Sibley, plastic.

Acadian Flycatchers sang at Clear Springs.  The fledgling of one begged its parent for food.  We also heard and saw at least one Yellow-throated Vireo.

Otherwise we enjoyed everyday summer birds this beautiful summer morning and didn't have enough time to bird Whitehall as had been planned.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Muskegon Lake and White Lake Surveys


July 15 Email to the Muskegon County Nature Club:

I have been working on a project with the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Council, the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and many other local and community groups to conduct research on Muskegon Lake and White Lake and the way they are perceived by both residents and visitors. The research will be used to guide plans and investments in Muskegon County for the future.

Key to this work is getting the broadest possible cross-section of participants from Muskegon County. I am reaching out to several local organizations like yours in hopes of connecting with those individuals with a unique perspective on these issues. We have created two online surveys to make it as easy as possible for individuals to participate (click below).

Ann Tisdale
Research Associate
Traverse City, MI.

The Muskegon Lake Survey

The White Lake Survey

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Howard Christensen Field Trip


Greg Swanson led a group of seven around the Howard Christensen Nature Preserve this morning.  Although we counted 40 species of birds, this trip included many other forms of nature as well.


Chicken-of-the-Woods Mushroom 


A 15-inch flight feather from a big bird.  We'll check if this fits the dimensions of Common Raven which lives here.

(A quick internet check indicates that this is probably an American Crow feather.  Although it has a very pointy end (indicative of raven; crow's might be more blunt), the size isn't large enough for Common Raven.  If anyone with more knowledge has additional thoughts, please email me.  - Ric) 


A distant Blue-winged Warbler with food in its beak.


Common Whitetail Dragonflies were plentiful, often on the trail lumber.


Checking the marsh wildlife on the south side of the lake.


Painted Turtle


Dot-tailed Whiteface Dragonfly 


Chalk-fronted Corporal Dragonfly


Dragon flies mating.


Entering the Nature Center.


Donated bird mounts from one of the Kent County schools.

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eBird Report
June 21, 2014
Howard Christensen Nature Center
Traveling
2 miles
235 Minutes
Observers: 7
All birds reported? Yes

Comments: Greg Swanson's MCNC Field Trip

1 Mallard
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Mourning Dove
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
2 Belted Kingfisher
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Eastern Wood-Pewee
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
3 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Blue Jay
1 American Crow
3 Tree Swallow
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Tufted Titmouse
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
1 House Wren
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
2 Eastern Bluebird
4 Veery
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
1 European Starling
2 Cedar Waxwing
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
3 American Redstart
3 Ovenbird
3 Common Yellowthroat
1 Eastern Towhee
2 Chipping Sparrow
1 Scarlet Tanager
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
3 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 Baltimore Oriole
2 American Goldfinch

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mike Moran Photo Gallery


Thanks to Chip Francke and many others (like Steve Mueller and Greg Swanson) there is now a gallery of several of Mike Moran's 33mm color slides online.  Mike's photos used to grace the pages of our original website.  All of them were taken the old-fashioned way -- with film (and unbelievable patience)!

Michael G. Moran 1940-2008

Notice: The link to the gallery above has been adjusted to take you to all of Mike's galleries, not just the bird photos.