Bird Strike – but with a good ending

This photo and story was submitted by AVA members Terry and Mary Baker. Click the picture for a larger image.

Sept. 21. Good ending to a potentially bad situation.

Sept. 21. Good ending to a potentially bad situation.

This little chickadee flew into our patio window and stunned itself.  I was holding it for several minutes and then it recovered and  flew away.     Taken Sept. 21st  in Tawas Township  –  Mary holding the bird and Terry Baker taking the picture.

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Our First Fall Field Trip is in the Books!

Tuttle Marsh - on the banks

Tuttle Marsh – on the banks

Friday, September 16, 2017 the first field trip for AVA was held at Tuttle Marsh, Iosco County, MI.

lighten-2033-webBy 6:45 ten members and surprise alumni members, Bobby Kennedy and Margy Kutzera had gathered. A lovely and mostly bug free viewing of 12 species and a huge orange harvest moon was enjoyed.  The 80 some expected Sandhill Cranes were elsewhere, but 5-6 Black Crowned Night Heron’s awed the late stayers who departed by 7:55pm.

Species:

Members enjoying a great evening with the birds!

Members enjoying a great evening with the birds!

Great Egrets – 24 or so
Greater Yellowlegs – 3
Lesser Yellowlegs -1
Great Blue Herons 5-8
Sandhill Cranes -16
Mallard Ducks -4
Raven -1
Hooded Merganzer-5
Belted Kinfisher -1
Canada Geese -5
Black Crowned Night Herons -6
Painted Turtles, too!

 

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September Field Trip to Tuttle Marsh

What: evening trip to Tuttle Marsh

When: Friday, September 16, 6:45pm

Where: Meet at the Water Control Structure about midway from either entrance, on top of the berm….about 3 miles in from either entrance.
How: Car pooling is good, talk to your AVA neighbors. Not sure how to get there? Call 989-362-2522 for directions.

Why: possibly see migrating shore birds, Sandhill Cranes, Egrets, Bald Eagle and friends.

Who: Audubon members and other  friends or family.

Bring your binoculars and bird books, dress in layers, stay for the sunset! Do not worry about bugs… There haven’t been any. Cancelled only for a heavy rain occurring there and then!

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Trumpeter Swan Poster

 

ausablevallyaudubonlogosAt the Tuesday, September 13th AVA meeting, Peggy Ridgway mentioned the availability of a nice Trumpeter swan poster from the Trumpeter Swan Society. Here is the link: www.trumpeterswansociety.org.

When you go to the site, click on “gift shop” and the poster / stamp information will appear.

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Change of AVA Mtg place for Tuesday, Sept 13, membership meeting

You may be aware there has a been major construction project at the Tawas Area Schools building site. We just found out the Tawas High School Library WILL NOT be available for our Sept 13 membership meeting.  However, the East Tawas City Council Chambers in the East Tawas Community Center are available at that date and time, so we will hold our Tuesday, Sept 13th, membership meeting there.

The East Tawas Community Center is on Newman Street, 1/2 mile from the US 23 light.  The Chambers room is on the end of the building near the basketball courts and on the wall opposite the gym.

Our plans for dinner before the meeting remain the same.  We will meet at Mr. Jack’ss  on Newman across the street from the Ben Franklin store at 5:00 pm.

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Beach Tragedy and Renewal

By Peggy Ridgway

photo by Phil Odum

photo by Phil Odum

All photos courtesy of Phil Odum

   It’s been a long, hot, dry summer !  Many tourists found their way to our sugar sand beaches along Lake Huron for pleasant relief and cool breezes.

Earlier in the season several other two legged  visitors descended on our shores, but  their presence was undetected by most. When a few  Great Lakes Piping Plovers  arrived in early May, the tip of Tawas Point was mostly under water. Flooded and washed out beaches were the story all along the coast. In fact, many of the normally sought out sites were inundated with water. Therefore, this small  shorebird  that tended to nest in this vicinity,   migrated  further north towards Oscoda where the landscape provided more open beach space for the rare and protected  ground nesters.

photo by Phil Odum

photo by Phil Odum

On both the north and south side of the AuSable River mouth, two pair of the federally endangered  plovers found suitable habitat for nesting.  The rather extensive and undisturbed light colored sand areas in front of two condominium complexes were perfect.

I was excited  and felt privileged as I continued my  seasonal  volunteer monitoring of these special birds.   So far, these were the only known nests on the Lake Huron side of America !  I was trusting that the residents of the condos would honor the postings limiting access to certain sections of “their beach.” They did so, and most residents showed respect for this dwindling  species nesting practically right outside their  front doors.  What a great opportunity to observe this evolving story first hand ! Continue reading

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Pulling Together project 2016…Spotted Knapweed

Letter to Chuck Allen, State Park Director, the dedicated AVA volunteers and to all AVA members and friends:

Spotted Knappweed - Tawas Point State Park

Spotted Knappweed – Tawas Point State Park

Today was our last Spotted Knapweed pull for the season.  We had eight pulls over the past seven weeks.  With each pull the immediate improvement was impressive.  Today we cleared the areas along the service entrance road to the day-use area, as well as around the far parking lot.  We had four pullers, who worked a total of 10 hours, and pulled 100 lbs of Spotted Knapweed.  While dealing with numbers, let’s do a recall of our yearly totals:

Summer season 2013 we worked 104 hours pulling Purple Loosestrife and some Spotted Knapweed.  (Bags not weighed.)

Summer season 2014 we worked 132 hours pulling Spotted Knapweed.  (Bags not weighed.)

Summer season 2015 we worked 90.5 hours and pulled 975 lbs of Spotted Knapweed

Summer season 2016 we worked 116.5 hours and pulled 959 lbs. of Spotted Knapweed.

That’s a total of 443 volunteer hours!!!  That is remarkable for our very small group and  demonstrates an impressive heart for service.  You volunteers earned your stripes!  I am very grateful to you.

As I hang my pink hat on the hat rack of retirement (from SN organizing), I leave you with a couple of points to ponder: Continue reading

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AVA August Activities

Hey AVA Folks,

The news you have all been waiting to hear! SAVE August 23, Tuesday, for our unofficial start of the AVA Season with a pot luck at the Harrisville State Park! How does 6pm for dinner sound?  The beach is great and there are two fairly short walking trails…. if you want to come early and it is not too hot!! State Park passes are required for entrance.  Bring your beverage, a dish to pass with serving tools,  and table service!

ALSO…

Thunder Bay Audubon (Alpena folks) sent info about our joining them in a field trip to an abandoned limestone quarry on August 17.  Larry and I were interested in knowing more so here is some of what I have learned.  Their group is meeting at 9am in Alpena at the Walmart parking lot to car pool to the quarry and back to Alpena for lunch.  Some of us might want to join them!  I will help arrange car pools from our group and call her with numbers for lunch… if you’d like to join us.  Let me know your plans as soon as possible as she has to alert the restaurant on Mon. the 15th and you’d probably like to know if you’ll have others who can car pool north with you before then!  smdunc@charter.net or 989-362-2522!

Read on if you are considering going!!!!    If not, you’re excused. Continue reading

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The 2016 – 2017 Program Schedule is now available

The AuSable Valley Audubon schedule of events starting in September 2016 is now available. You can access the document parts here: 2016-17 AVA Program page FINAL August 11: and 2016-17 AVA Mailer page FINAL August 11 in PDF format.

We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events or meetings!

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A Bird Behavior Quiz

 A realtor’s ad for this birdhouse might read:

10 inch x 8 inch x 15 inch one room living space w/ 3” entrance hole.

This the home

This the home

Wall covering installed by last resident.

The floor covering is white pine shavings installed by human caretaker.

This east facing home is located 15 feet above the ground on a power pole.

Location, location, location

Location, location, location

The home overlooks 40 acres of hay covered rolling hills.

Small marsh w/dragon flies and sparrows nearby.

June/July 2016 resident successfully raised 4 fledglings.

Many additional utility poles and miles of power lines are adjacent,  from which to stalk mice scurrying around on the ground.

eggs and hatchling

eggs and hatchling

Attached are photos of the house and its lovely location, the most recent resident’s hatchling (on the left of the eggs), and the house’s interior.

Interior of vacated home

Interior of vacated home

Have I given you enough information to guess who these recent residents were?

Questions?   You can reach me at lvanwago@charter.net

Click on the “read more” for the answer. (Also, click on any of the photos for a larger view.) Continue reading

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