My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan


Yet another Muskegon birding trip Part I

On Saturday August 17th, I made yet another trip to Muskegon to do some birding. The difference between this trip and all of my others is that this time I wasn’t alone. This was a field trip put on by the Muskegon County Nature Club, which I am thinking of joining.

After this trip, I’m not sure that I am cut out for group birding yet. I also found out that there is a Grand Rapids group that is very similar, so I think that I should check it out as well.

Anyway, I was a little late meeting up with the group, because I stopped on my way to shoot this hawk.

Red shouldered hawk

Red shouldered hawk

I could give you the boring story of introducing myself to members of the group, and how we drove around from spot to spot while looking for birds, but I won’t, I’ll get right to the photos.

Spiderwebs covered in dew

Spiderwebs covered in dew

Unidentified flying object

Unidentified flying object

Unidentified flying object

Unidentified flying object

Unidentified flying object

Unidentified flying object

Baird's Sandpipers

Baird’s Sandpipers

Baird's Sandpiper

Baird’s Sandpiper

Here’s a lifer for me, I wish that the photos were better.

Black-bellied plover surrounded by "peeps"

Black-bellied plover surrounded by “peeps”

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Gull in flight

Gull in flight



Lesser yellowlegs

Lesser yellowlegs

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Stilt sandpiper

Stilt sandpiper

Here’s another lifer for me, a Bonaparte’s gull.

Bonaparte's gull

Bonaparte’s gull

I am going to end part one with this shot of a great blue heron in flight.

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

You’ll want to see part two, for more of the extremely difficult to ID shorebirds, and the heron and some gulls performing a bird ballet!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!


18 responses

  1. You’ve outdone yourself with these shots, which is no small feat! Let me know if you want help identifying the other shorebirds, and in the meantime I’ll be busy making up more names for them. (Liking the new blog background, btw. Nice choice, and much easier to read!)

    August 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    • Thanks, I think that it would be easier using the names you come up with!

      August 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm

  2. Great photos!
    And a very beautiful spiderweb!
    I don’t see the spider though….did it travel home with you? 😉

    August 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    • Thanks! I hope that the spider didn’t, although it would have plenty to eat in my vehicle. I ran into a few swarms of insects, which are the reason for so many birds.

      August 18, 2013 at 11:21 pm

  3. Your photos are definitely stepping up a notch (or more). I personally think the white (or light) background is not only easier to read, but also highlights the images far better. I read a comment somewhere that said that there was a reason professional photographers choose white matting to surround their images for this reason.

    Also very much enjoyed seeing you catch many of the shorebirds I’m familiar with around here. Can’t imagine how you got close enough to them peeps… I’ve only seen ours skim along the edge of the water, rarely landing.

    August 19, 2013 at 12:45 am

    • Thanks, after checking this version of the new theme, I think I’ll keep it for a while.

      Getting close to them was fairly easy. They’re hungry from their travels, and there was a lot of food available to them. I was standing behind brush, with just my head and the camera poking over the top, you can see hints of that in some of the photos.

      August 19, 2013 at 7:58 am

  4. Mona

    Great shot…………

    August 19, 2013 at 1:21 am

    • Thank you Mona!

      August 19, 2013 at 7:59 am

  5. Having to introduce myself to the group is why I hike alone-I have a hard time with that. Looks like it paid off for you though, you’ve got some great shots.

    August 19, 2013 at 6:24 am

    • Introductions are easy, it’s the making small talk after that stage that gets tough for me.

      Going with the group, two groups part of the time, slowed me down for the most part. The Muskegon group set up spotting scopes and they stand around chatting while watching the birds, too far away for good photos. I didn’t want to charge in and scare the birds off, so I’d wait until they moved on to the next spot, then move in on foot to get the photos. Then, I’d rejoin the group, and repeat that process.

      The Grand Rapids group is much younger in average age, and there are more photographers in that group. I hung out with them later in the morning, and that went much better. There were half a dozen of the giant Sigma lenses pointed at the birds at times, with one of the other members directing us to each species of bird, that helped a lot.

      August 19, 2013 at 8:13 am

  6. Gorgeous pics!!

    August 19, 2013 at 10:16 am

    • Thank you, I have good days from time to time.

      August 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

  7. Nice shots! That spider’s web is awesome! I think it would be easier for you to be in a group of birders/photographers, rather than a group that is mainly there just for birding alone. But it sounds like you made the best of your day and got some terrific photos as a reward!

    August 19, 2013 at 11:44 am

    • Thanks! I should have “gone after” the spider webs, but I knew that I was going to end up with hundreds of photos, and wanted to limit what I shot.

      I should know better than to join any group, I do best when I do things my way. The people from the group probably think that I am an anti-social jerk because I split off from the group all the time, but that’s the only way that I could get the photos I wanted.

      August 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

  8. There’s definite difference between bird watchers and bird photographers. You are a photographer thank goodness. Another wonderful set of shots.

    August 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    • Thank you Tom! I’d never been birding with serious birders before. People who keep notebooks to write down the numbers of every species, and go for the numbers rather than the beauty of the birds was something I wasn’t prepared for.

      August 20, 2013 at 3:20 am

  9. Love the gull in flight (and the contemplative gull on the water very nice, too!)

    August 22, 2013 at 5:21 am

    • Thanks, I keep telling myself that I have enough photos of gulls, but I never listen to myself when I have the camera in my hands.

      August 22, 2013 at 9:23 am