Whippoorwills 4, AVA 15

–  But Both Winners!

By Sue Duncan, AVA V-P

A rather chatty and ice cream satiated group left the Oscoda McDonald’s on Sunday, June 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm to head off to find Whip-poor-wills and other night birds.

Although the nearly full moon was beautiful, as were the warm temperatures, the ‘Whips” were not doing ‘fly by’ maneuvers.  They called a lot, a number of them, but nobody came to check out the strangers.  We made a good size group, too, 15 of us, including a new member and friend from Grand Haven.  (Wow!) Hermit Thrush, Night Hawks and some American Woodcocks, that did fly over, made up the birding tally. Lightening bugs were also fun to see flitting about!

Due to Larry bringing his scope, Jupiter and four of its moons as well at Mars and Saturn with its rings were also enjoyed. As Ed Davis said, “Finally, a bird I can hear!”

Next up – Black Terns of Tawas Lake, in July.

Let me know if you are interested! smdunc@charter.net, 989-362-2522.

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Brown Thrasher Nest

This photo and caption was submitted by AVA member Jean Howard on June 1st. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

Brown Thrasher nest photo by Jean Howard

Brown Thrasher nest
photo by Jean Howard

I just discovered this brown thrasher nest in the little pine tree just outside the window in my living room.  My book says it usually takes 12-13 days for incubation.

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East Greets West

(sorry for the late posting)

Western Tanager photo by Phil Odum used with permission

Western Tanager
photo by Phil Odum used with permission

Article by Peggy Ridgway

For us birders, the massive spring movement of our feathered friends sends a buzz to our brains that we don’t experience at other seasons of the year!  These first few weeks of May are usually the highlight as we anticipate the arrival of species that have traveled thousands of miles to reach their breeding grounds. Many come from as far away as South America or even the Bahamas.   For some it’s a   stop, rest, and refuel before journeying on further north.   For others, Northern Michigan is their final destination and a time to set up territories , commence courtship, and raise young.

The kaleidoscope of color adorning the trees and even our backyard feeding stations is amazing.  Males in their bright bold breeding plumage create an artist’s palette beyond compare. Sweet song symphonies fill the air. Many of us recognize the signature sounds and significance of each note. Continue reading

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Oscoda Kirtland’s Warbler Tour Information

Kirtland's Warbler by George Falkenhagen of Oscoda

Kirtland’s Warbler by George Falkenhagen of Oscoda

In partnership with Huron Pines, Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance, U.S.
Forest Service, Michigan DNR, Michigan Audubon, Kirtland’s Warbler tours will be available in our area. The flyer is available here: Kirtland Warbler Tour Info Sheet

Tour dates- June 3 through July 3, 2016 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday only).

The tour Time is 8:00 a.m.
Place- Tours begin promptly at 8 a.m. at the Camp Inn Lodge, 3111 U.S. 23 in Oscoda, MI. The Lodge is located about 2 miles south of Oscoda.

A short video about the Kirtland’s will be shown. Following
that, participants will follow the guide and carpool in their own
vehicles to the U.S. Forest Service KW management area.

Reservations- Reservations are encouraged 24 hrs. in advance and may be made by calling the Lodge at 989-739-2021,or via email at campinnlodge@gmail.com. For more information visit their website at www.CampInnLodge.com and click on “events”.

Tours are FREE, but limited to 20 people per tour. If tours are not filled, walk-ins are allowed.

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May 7 Garlic Mustard pull has been cancelled

Due to the cool spring here in East Tawas, plant development has been slow. Therefore, the first Garlic Mustard pull scheduled for May 7th has been cancelled.

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, June 4, 9:00 a.m., when we will have the proper plant development for an effective removal effort. We look forward to seeing you then.

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New Addition to East Tawas City Park

Bird Hide at E. Tawas city park

Bird Hide at E. Tawas city park

East Tawas City Park has a new addition; one birders can appreciate. It’s a bird hide. The bird hide was built by city employees at no cost to AVA. The hide is meant to disguise curious birders (and the public) as they search for waterfowl, and songbirds in or along the beach of Tawas Bay.  Note the viewing windows at different heights and angles in the photos.

AuSable Valley Audubon board members have been supportive of this project since its inception by writing a letter of support for the grant that helped purchase the land  and offering advice and opinions on the construction and design of the hide.

Of special interest is the extended part on one end. This extension allows a wheelchair to pull-up flush to the inside viewing area and still have room for the person’s legs and the chair.

Stop by and give the hide a try! It is directly across from the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on US 23 in East Tawas. Look for the duck tracks inside, too!

Bird Hide interior

Bird Hide interior

Bird_hide_1Click on the photos for a larger view.

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PULLING TOGETHER project 2016…SPOTTED KNAPWEED

PULLING TOGETHER project 2016…SPOTTED KNAPWEED pull schedule

We don’t want to forget our invasive plant species pulls on May 7th and June 4th.
Those planned pulls are for Garlic mustard. (See message listed below posted Apr. 14th.)

Spotted Knapweed is also native to Europe but that is where its similarity to Garlic Mustard ends.  This species is listed as a prohibited noxious weed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture.  Here, it poses a serious threat to rangelands and high quality areas.  Its habitat is roadsides, old fields, pastures, undisturbed dry prairies and oak and pine barrens, and also appears on dunes and beaches.   It is a serious threat within the day-use area of the Tawas Point State Park where it has gained a foothold.  Last year our small group pulled half-a-ton(!) of Spotted Knapweed.  We plan to do even better this year. We are making a difference!

We will be pulling each Wednesday morning, starting after the 4th of July holiday.  Here is what our schedule looks like:

Wednesday, July 6
Wednesday, July 13
Wednesday, July 20
Wednesday, July 27
Wednesday, August 3
Saturday, August 6
Wednesday, August 10
Wednesday, August 17

We will begin each pull at 9:00 a.m.  Also, please note that we plan an additional pull on Saturday, August 6.  Kristin Wing, the AmeriCorp member loaned to us from Huron Pines will help us develop that broader planned pull with additional publicity.  Watch for more information on that at a later date. Continue reading

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2016 Tawas Point Garlic Mustard Pulls Scheduled

PULLING TOGETHER project 2016…GARLIC MUSTARD pull schedule.

GARLIC MUSTARD is a native plant of Europe and is very difficult to eradicate once it is established in an area.  Because it is invasive to our area it spreads rapidly and displaces native or other desired plants in a relatively short period of time.  Each plant can produce thousands of seeds which can be spread by wildlife, humans, water, and other means.

As we dedicate our work efforts inside the Tawas Point State Park, we are fortunate that Garlic mustard is only growing in the relatively small area behind the state park office.  Our goal is to remove these plants to keep the seeds from reseeding the soil.  Doing this each year will deplete the seed bank and eventually clear the area of Garlic Mustard.  With the pulling method, parks in the lower part of the state have been cleared of Garlic mustard.  It can happen here also!

We are planning a Garlic mustard pull for Saturday, May 7, starting at 9:00 a.m. We plan to pull for 2 hours.

Most likely we will need an additional pull, which we have scheduled for Saturday, June 4, 9:00 a.m.  Continue reading

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March AVA Meeting Upcoming

On Tuesday, March 15, 2016 AuSable Valley Audubon will welcome expert birder, Steve Baker, to Eagle Pointe Plaza in Hale at 1 PM for a presentation about raptor identification; specifically as experienced in the Mackinac Straits area of northern Michigan.

The public and members are encouraged to attend this free program about hawks, golden and bald  eagles as well as other raptors.

Prior to the program members, interested public and friends are invited to attend lunch at Big Bob’s Restaurant at 11:30.

Call 362-2522 for more information.

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2015 Christmas Bird Count reports now available

AuSable Valley Audubon performs counts for two areas each year for the annual Christmas Bird Count. Please check out the December 2015 results on the CBC Archive page of our website.

Thank you to all who participated.

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