Muskegon Birding, I always get the bird
How do I top a day like yesterday at Roselle Park in Ada? Simple, I go to Muskegon, where I always get my bird. It’s better than getting skunked!
Muskegon is my favorite place for birding, as regular readers here know. I was thinking about that today, there have been so many times that I’ve read online about a certain species of bird being sighted there in Muskegon, and during my next visit, I manage to track one down. It started back when I went to see if I could find Mike the snowy owl, and that continued today.
I may not always get all the species of birds that I would like to, but I have always managed at least one, today didn’t end that streak. One of the species I went after was red-headed woodpeckers. They used to be regulars at the feeders at my parent’s house when I was growing up, no more. This magnificent species has declined severely in the past half-century because of habitat loss and changes to its food supply.
These birds don’t act quite like most other woodpeckers, they’re adept at catching insects in the air, and they eat lots of acorns and beech nuts, often hiding away extra food in tree crevices for later, as you’ll see in the photos.
OK, let me go back to the beginning. I did a quick tour of the lagoons at the wastewater facility, and found a few birds to photograph.
There were thousands of waterfowl in the lagoons, which I more or less ignored. All the ducks were in their fall plumage, so I didn’t want to waste time chasing them. I’ve learned to wait for spring for some birds, ducks especially. But, I found a few other subjects to photograph around the lagoons.
Sorry for so many of the pipits, but the yoga shots cried out to be posted.
I then headed for the north end of the wastewater property, which is mixed farm fields and woodlots. Almost the moment that I shut the door of my Subaru, I was photographing birds.
I walked right on the edge of the woodlots, and it was there that I almost stepped on the skunk above. That photo wasn’t cropped at all. That’s the second time that I’ve been only a few feet from a skunk and not been sprayed, I’d better start paying attention, my luck may not last.
I won’t post all the birds that I saw, as some would be repeats of yesterday, and others that I have been posting photos of a lot recently. I will put this one in though, a flock of sparrows, note the two in flight to the left of the photo.
They were in the brush under the red-headed woodpeckers as I was photographing the woodpeckers, all the birds in sight kept me hopping!
What the heck, I’m going to throw in this bad shot as well. It’s of two bluebirds in flight, sort of.
The reason that I’m posting that very bad photo is the story behind it. One of the bluebirds was perched, I was just lining up for a shot of it, when the second one flew up and bitch slapped the first with its wing, which caused the slappee to set off in pursuit of the slapper. I can’t say as if I’ve ever seen that before.
Having gotten the red-headed woodpecker, and since I wasn’t seeing anything special there at the wastewater property, I thought it would be a good idea to check out the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, as I haven’t been there since this spring.
I hadn’t gone far, when I spotted a bird in a net.
Brian J. from the Muskegon County Nature Club was banding birds, hence the nets. I stopped and chatted with him for quite a while, I could have cheated and gotten two lifers had I been so inclined. He netted a Tennesee and Orange-crowned Warbler while I was there, neither of which I had seen before.
I left Brian to his work, then set off for a stroll around the preserve, here’s what I came up with.
The Cooper’s hawk decided to do a few yoga movements as well.
This next one is a juvenile white-crowned sparrow…
…this is what the adults look like, quite a change.
I’m going to finish this one off with a few photos of a Nashville warbler making a meal of a caterpillar’s cocoon.
I did make a serious effort to find one of the lifers for me that Bruce had banded earlier, with no luck. They were probably moving fast to get out of the area after being netted, although Bruce said that he often catches the same birds multiple times. That’s OK, I got the woodpecker which was one of my goals for the day, so I was a happy camper. I stopped back at the nets and talked to Brian for quite a while, and learned more about birding in that time than in any of the books that I’ve read. Great guy, I’ve bumped into him before, and he’s always willing to share his knowledge!
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!