Saturday, May 16, 2015

Howard Christensen Field Trip Report


Five of us enjoyed Greg Swanson's guided tour of the Howard Christensen Nature Center this morning.  


Of 49 bird species, we found only seven warblers (Blue-winged, Nashville, Black-throated Green, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush and Common Yellow-throat).  Not even a Yellow!  And no bluebirds!

Notables included the waterthrush, Ruffed Grouse, Common Raven and Olive-sided Flycatcher.  Others were Green Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher (vocalizing all over the property, including a pair at their nest), Veery, Wood Thrush, Eastern Towhee, Indigo Bunting and Scarlet Tanager.


That's the least-blurry tanager photo.  Greg suggested I post the blurriest as a Vermillion Flycatcher:


And if you believed that, then you'll also believe that these are birds:




Suffice that we enjoyed everything from snails to frogs to pigs (Penelope) this beautiful spring morning.

- Ric

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

FIVE CLUB EVENTS THIS MONTH


May 9, 2015
North American Migration Count
Brian Johnson

May 16, 2015
Howard Christensen Nature Center
Greg Swanson

May 21, 2015
Potluck Picnic Meeting
Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve
Ric Pedler

Potluck picnic supper at 6:00.  Bring a dish to pass.  Park in the outer lot and walk in to the pavilion.  Brief business meeting afterward including election of officers for 2015-2016.  Conclude with a bird-walk around the nature preserve.  

May 23, 2015
BIG DAY COUNT
Feller DeWitt

The hard-core group will go all day from 4:45 a.m. until dark.  Beginning at the outer gate at Lane's Landing we will spend several hours birding the Lane's Landing marsh and woods.  Then it's State Game Area headquarters for late-morning birding and brown-bag-lunch at the headquarters building.  Early afternoon at the Wastewater properties.  Late afternoon wherever necessary species may take us.  Supper at the McDonald's restaurant in North Muskegon, then to the other side of the interersection looking for birds at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve before heading west to Muskegon State park's Snug Harbor woods and north side of Muskegon Channel.  Everyone is welcome to bird with us all day or any part of the day.  Our object: to count as many bird species as possible in one day and have as much fun as possible doing it.

May 30, 2015
Montague Area Field Trip
Dayle Vanderwier

The same as in past years, we will meet at McDonald's on Apple at US-31, leave there around 8:00 a.m. going to Henderson Nature Preserve, then Clear Stream, and ending up at the White River Nature Trail in Whitehall.

(See the Sidebar for our three summer field trips.  Details about those will be posted here later.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April Meeting and Field Trip


Vice-president Judy Fleener presided over our meeting on Thursday night April 16. Kathleen Hansen and Barb Jensen presented their program "Ospreys".

Ken Sherburn and Liz Notman led our Saturday April 18 Field Trip at the Upper Macatawa Natural Area.  Several club members and others enjoyed a morning when both the weather and the birding improved as the day went on. 

Bonnie Kott recorded the following list of 40+ bird species seen by the group and Carol Cooper provided the pictures of a baby Painted Turtle, Hermit Thrush and Tree Swallow.

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
Mallard
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Virginia Rail
Sandhill Crane
Killdeer
Wilson's Snipe

Gull (species)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Black-and-white Warbler
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch





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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