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.



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.