Submitted by the Bakers from their backyard in Tawas Township on April 23rd:
“This Barred Owl was perched in our Aspen tree. It was hunting for squirrels or rabbits that would come to eat the bird seed scattered on the ground by our pond.” Click on the photo for a larger view.
One of the AVA’s busy volunteers is also one of Oscoda’s busiest.
Arnie LaRiche was a winner at the Oscoda Volunteer Appreciation basket raffle on Friday, April 20. How perfect as he is nearly a 24/7 Volunteer!
Glen McCune with his Gyrfalcon Tumbler
Its now in the books. For those of you who were there, you saw some great programs, although it was cold outside. Mackinaw Straits Raptor Watch put on a great event. If you weren’t there, put this event on your calendar for next year!
Glen and Tumbler
Recognizing Ed Cole for his Contributions to AuSable Valley Audubon as part of the 45th Anniversary Celebration
Ed joined the AuSable Valley Audubon about 12 years ago –when he was in his mid-80’s! Since then he has been an active member attending meetings, going on field trips, providing ideas and acute comments, participating in spotted knapweed pulls at Tawas Point State Park, joining in garlic mustard pulls, and working as part of our “road crew” on the M-55 Road Clean-Ups.
Some of his specific contributions include:
- Establishing the Oscoda Circle for the Christmas Bird Count along with Cory Gildersleeve in 2007 and working for several years along with Larry VanWagoner in organizing the annual Oscoda Circle Bird Counts.
- Heading up a two year survey of wildflowers within the AuSable Valley Audubon territory along with Emily Kemnitz and Jean Howard. Printing the list on Excel of the over 370 species identified.
- Serving as a leader or an assistant leader for the Flower Walk event of the Tawas Point Birding Festival.
- Writing and publishing for more than three years a bi- monthly newsletter, the AuSable Valley Audubon Trumpeter.
- Monitoring and filing official reports on Sandhill Crane migrations at Tuttle Marsh for 2017 and prior years.
Ed was presented with gifts of a bird feeder and seed as part of the recognition.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is our next birding adventure (February 16th to the 19th)!
Come to the February 13th meeting at the Robert J Parks Library, 6010 N. Skeel Ave., Oscoda, to learn how easy and fun it is to participate!
(Update added 1/28:
…“A day or two can make a big difference when birding. Approximately 148 Trumpeter Swans were seen on the river Saturday 1/27/18 while on Sunday, just at Iargo, over 60!
Keep looking everywhere!!” – Sue D.)
Five hearty AVA members gathered at Iargo Springs to search out Trumpeter Swans along the AuSable River on a sunny and balmy 42 degree day, January 26, 2018. The swans were right there and easily visible from the platform. That made the search pretty short and sweet thanks to good advice from Peggy and Phil. There were 20 plus Trumpeters, some flying (oh so gorgeous!) some calling and feeding. Also seen/heard were about 40 Golden Eye Ducks, two Bald Eagles, a couple Black-capped Chickadee, a White breasted Nuthatch and 5 -6 Pine Siskins and one lone Raven patrolling M-65.
Due to recent snow a number of tracks were identifiable as well. We walked between the two viewing platforms at Westgate, where there were zero swans. We did, however, see tracks of mice, multiple Ruffed Grouse, possibly fox and definitely people.
Much birding conversation and a delicious lunch at the Bear’s Den Restaurant followed the viewing. Kathy S. and Carol B. joined us at the Bear’s Den and we all enjoyed getting to know new members Melinda and Bob a bit. Kathy and Carol reported a RHWO near Sand Lake, a Red-shouldered Hawk and a fox that trotted across Esmond Road !!
Oh, yes, four of the group highly recommend the homemade chicken dumpling soup! Others voted for chili…. Or the half pound burger!
Photo Left to right Melinda and Bob, Ruth, Sue and Larry.
Have you ever been on a Snipe hunt? How about looking for Timberdoodles? Well….now it’s time to go on a swan search!😁
With warmer weather there have been some open places on the AuSable River where swans have recently been sighted. So hopefully this will not be a tricky joke on us.
We’re heading out on Friday, January 26 to search for those Trumpeter Swans. Maybe we will get lucky enough to have you join us at Iargo Springs on River Rd. That’s Friday, January 26 at 11 AM. We may check a couple other places if the swans aren’t there, but by noon 30 (or so)we should end up at the Bear’s Den Restaurant on M 65 for lunch. Join us! (for a variety of reasons I would appreciate knowing if you plan to join us. )
Call Sue or Larry at 362-2522, 989-701-5471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Same contact info works if you have questions or need directions!
On Tuesday, January 9th, the AuSable Valley Audubon chapter held its first meeting of the new year. It was a celebration of 45 years of birding in Iosco county and the sunrise side of Michigan. Here are the links to the chapter’s annual report and the 45th anniversary timeline document. You will need a PDF reader to view these documents.
The tasty swan cake:
Trumpeter Swans – our signature bird
More pictures of speakers and some of our AVA volunteer activities. Click on the photos for a larger view :
All photographs are courtesy of Maggie Berch.
Five Ruffed Grouse – photo by Larry VanWagoner
I was sitting at my desk on the second story of my home on New Year’s Day, 1/1/2018. I noticed movement in a window that overlooks a large crabapple tree. Looking out I saw not one, not two, not three, but seven(!) Ruffed Grouse eating the buds from the tips of branches. I’ve included a photo of five of the birds. At such close range, I couldn’t get all of the birds in one photo. The 2nd photo is of one of the birds as it approached a branch tip about 10 feet from my window. I’ve been fortunate to see grouse in this tree in the past, but never more than 3 at once.
submitted by Larry VanWagoner
How Fast Can You Count?
A very casual report of the AVA Christmas Bird Counts by Sue Duncan
G’s Restaurant in Oscoda was a perfect place to compare notes and recharge before setting out for a few more bird sightings.
The two Christmas Bird counts done in Iosco County for 2017 were so different, and yet so alike!
They were alike because both had great participation; 18 or more members for both, good food at breakfast and lunch with exciting conversation and really wonderful bird finds in both areas. What fun and stimulating days! (That’s a BIG reason to “like” the CBC adventure for me! )
They were different too: the weather! Lots of new snow and pretty chilly on on Saturday, December 16 in Tawas and then balmy 41 degrees and sunshine (some) on Tuesday, December 19 in Oscoda. Bird finds usually duplicate each other to some extent, but there are also differences! Like lots of hawks on one, lots of starlings on the other! You’ll have to wait for the official tally to find out all the contrasts.
The really exciting bird finds included a Snowy Owl in each count, Brown Creepers -2 (a first for a count, we rarely see two together on counts) No Redheaded ducks! No Cedar Waxwings, Bohemian or not. But a number of Ruffed-grouse and a lot of leaf-birds were spotted. Most unusual and surprising? Rose-breasted Grosbeaks! All four people on that team swear to it!
If you were lucky enough to go on one of the counts, what did you see that thrilled, amazed or puzzled you? Maybe you expected to find a species that wasn’t around this year. What was it? Let’s continue this group ‘conversation’ by watching for the official report coming to this website and by discussing it all again at the January meeting in 2018!