Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Meeting and Field Trip


Kathleen Hansen and Barb Jensen will present their program "Ospreys" at our Thursday April 16 meeting.  For time and place, see the sidebar.

Ken Sherburn and Liz Notman will lead our Saturday April 18 field trip to the Upper Macatawa Natural Area in southern Ottawa County.

For car-pooling from Muskegon meet Ken from 7:30-8:00 a.m. at the McDonald's on Sternberg Rd. next to Meijer.  Ottawa County members might make other car-pooling plans.   In previous years they've met at the Grand Haven McDonald's.  In either case, the two groups will not attempt to coordinate their drives down to the Upper Mac.

At 8:00 Ken's group will head south on US-31 to the 16th St. Exit at Holland, east on 116th St. (which becomes Adams St.) approx. five miles to 84th Ave., then north one-half mile on 84th up to the parking lot on the right side of the road.

Liz Notman, the Upper Mac naturalist, will meet us at the parking lot.  She will lead an easy morning walk around this beautiful natural area filled with birds and other wildlife.  Most of the walking is on blacktopped trailway, but not all, so wear shoes appropriate for a walk in the woods.

Plan to be back to the parking lot before noon and back to the Muskegon area before 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 21 Ottawa County Field Trip


On Saturday morning Feller DeWitt led a group of 14 from Harbor Island to Chinook Pier (added Charlie) to Grand Haven State Park to Pigeon Lake to Hemlock Crossing.  We counted 44 bird species along the way.

Highlights included Pied-billed & Horned Grebe, Sandhill Crane, Song Sparrow, Peregrine Falcon and Wood Duck on the island, White-winged Scoter at the pier, Long-tailed Duck at the park, Brown Creeper and Pileated Woodpecker at the lake, and Eastern Bluebird, American Tree Sparrow and Pine Siskin at the crossing.

Thanks to Carol Cooper for these photos from Hemlock Crossing:

Our Gang, relaxed

Pine Siskin, acrobatic

Red-bellied Woodpecker, male

White-breasted Nuthatch, female, plus siskin

Friday, February 20, 2015

February: Beautiful Program / No Field Trip


For those who braved the cold weather Thursday night, Charlie DeWitt's beautiful photos and information about the plants and wildlife around Black Lake was well worth the effort.

There was no February Field Trip.  We canceled the Allegan trip due to unpredictable weather.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January Fieldtrip: Wastewater and Northside


Eleven of us birded the Wastewater properties this morning and eight continued to the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve and a late lunch at the Main Street Pub and Eatery in North Muskegon.


The Wastewater provided 24 bird species including Snow Bunting, Snowy Owl and eagles of various flavors.  Highlights included four Wilson Snipe in the open water ditches of the rapid filtration lagoons and six Common Raven (3 east of Swanson northeast of the East Lagoon and 3 more at the landfill).


We found 20 species at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve including a Tundra Swan and an American Robin.


Thanks to Ken Sherburn for leading the trip and to Travis Dewys for his photos of birders and Snow Buntings at the Wastewater and an American Tree Sparrow at the nature preserve.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pictures and Awards at January 15 Meeting


On Thursday evening January 15 Carol Cooper presented a program of photographs with musical accompaniment: beautiful pictures of Michigan birds, wildlife, plants and landscapes most from the Greater Muskegon area.

Ken Sapkowski received his top birder trophy (hand-crafted by Feller DeWitt) for finding 290 species of birds in Michigan last year (sixth best in the state!).  Ric Pedler earned a seedy trophy for finishing last.  Others in the contest were Charlie DeWitt, Feller DeWitt, Carol Cooper and Kathryn Mork (not pictured).


Photograph by Glenda Eikenberry using Carol Cooper's camera.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 20 City of Muskegon CBC Report


On December 20 our club conducted the City of Muskegon Christmas Bird Count.  Twenty-one people in six groups spent six hours surveying a circle within 7.5 miles of downtown Muskegon.

Dayle Vanderwier's south group of eight people counted 1,181 birds of 39 different species including a fairly dark Snowy Owl at the Muskegon Channel and the the only Cedar Waxwings (47) of the day.

Two central groups (Feller DeWitt's group of two and Charlie DeWitt's group of three) counted 993 of 17 species and 116 of 8 species respectively including the only Red-tailed Hawk and Song Sparrow of the day.

Ken Sherburn's north group of eight people counted 222 birds of 27 species in the morning including a mostly white Snowy Owl at Muskegon State Park and the only Barred Owl and Brown Creepers (4) of the day.  His group of three in the afternoon counted 149 birds of 11 species at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, all the usual suspects.

Brian Johnson began with the north group but departed and continued on to the Campground Overlook at Muskegon State Park for a shoreline count.  Two of his findings were record high numbers for the Muskegon CBC: 1 Hermit Thrush and 6 Pileated Woodpeckers (previous high of 5).  He also saw the only Cooper's Hawk, Common Redpoll, Red-headed Woodpecker and Greater Black-backed Gull of the day.

In total the participants found 2,727 birds of 50 species.

I have the Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file for National Audubon with total count numbers and an Excel (.xls) spreadsheet file with group and total count numbers if anyone wants them.  - Ric

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.