(This update is by the courtesy of Larry VanWagoner. Thanks, Larry!) 9/27/17
We (Sue and Larry) visited the Prescott crane site 10 days ago in the early evening. We found about 300 cranes foraging in the alfalfa field east of the roosting ponds. Past counts this early in the fall have found less than 100 birds.
And At the Straits
The Mackinaw Straits Raptor Watch group is conducting three daily/nightly surveys this fall until mid-October. A raptor count at Pt. LaBarbie ( just west of the north approach of the Mackinaw Bridge), a waterbird count at the Straits on the beach west of Mackinaw City near McGulpin Lighthouse, and an owl banding project at Cheboygan State Park.
You can view their progress / daily results by visiting their website and clicking on ’News’ in the blue bar at the top of the page. http://www.mackinacraptorwatch.org/blog/
The Headlands Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City has opened their Waterfront Event Center (and astronomical observatory). They are offering monthly sky programs. http://www.midarkskypark.org
Caleb Putnam to Address AuSable Valley Audubon
October 10, at Tawas High School
Caleb Putnam, the Michigan Bird Conservation Coordinator for Michigan Audubon Great Lakes and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources started in 2016, will address the AuSable Valley Audubon on October 10 in the media room at Tawas High School on
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
The topic is the Great Lakes Restoration Project, an ambitious program which covers work in eight states bordering the Great Lakes. This program brings together a diverse array of habitats and conservation threats for hundreds of migratory species. The Audubon /Great Lakes office is spear heading a new approach to tackling the Great Lakes unique and diverse bird conservation challenges. Caleb will speak to Audubon’s ongoing work on landbird stopover habit, Coastal Wetland Monitoring and Restoration, Bird Friendly Communities, Wind Energy and Climate Saving Important Bird Areas (IBAs), and Black Tern conservation in the Great Lakes regions, as well as other projects.
Previously as Coordinator of the Michigan IBA Program, Caleb worked with several managing partners in assembling rigorous criteria for designating and achieving an area as an IBA, among those, Saginaw Bay-Tawas Bay. Well known as a frequent guide and speaker at the Tawas Point Birding Festival, he has a diverse background in ornithology and wildlife management. The public is welcome to attend. [There has been some confusion over the location of this meeting—however, it is at the Tawas High School, M-55 Tawas city-media room.]
The new program schedule for the 2017-2018 calendar is now available. You may download or view a copy in PDF format at the following link: AVA program schedule 2017-2018
Be sure to get a copy to see all the upcoming meetings and events.
Nik Schulwitz attaching microphone to capture bat frequencies to top of car.
AuSable Valley Audubon was among the Michigan groups selected by the Organization for Bat Conservation to participate in the Michigan Bat Monitoring Program and to conduct an acoustic bat monitoring survey as part of its Citizen Bat League.
We were sent the equipment for the survey—a microphone to attach to the top of the car, a Garmin blue-tooth device which plugged into the car cigarette holder and a pre-programmed iPad. Any bat frequencies encountered along the route were recorded on the iPad.
Snapshot of Monitoring graph from the iPad
The survey had to start one-half hour after sunset and in temperatures greater than 50 degrees.
Members Larry VanWagoner, Alan Bernard and Nik Schulwitz each prepared a survey route of more than twenty miles which routes were approved by the organization. Bob Kemnitz, Jim Mortimer and Jean Howard also participated in one of the surveys. The equipment will be returned to the Organization for the analysis of the data and determination the identity of the bats encountered!
Join AuSable Valley Audubon for our program on September 12, 2017 at the E. Tawas Community
Center at 7:00 p.m. for a program on “Everything Bats!”
Follow the link to review the species count from this year’s Tawas Point Birding Festival. Numbers were down a bit from previous years, but still lots of species spotted: BirdList 2017-TPBF-tally
(This post is courtesy of Sue Duncan. Thanks Sue!)
The Tuttle at Twilight Au Sable Valley Audubon June field trip on Wednesday, June 7th started off with an exciting find of two Black Billed Cuckoos, almost within touching distance of the spillway where 14 members and one guest gathered. So Special!
The birds gave us a great show and it was an auspicious start to a lovely birding evening. See the list of 30 plus species -> ( Tuttle Marsh 060717 observations ), for proof of exactly how fantastic it was! The photos give proof to the promise of a beautiful sunset.
Join us next time for a look through a scope at the Tawas Lake Black Terns, tentatively scheduled for the last week of June. Contact Sue for more details. 989-362-2522, firstname.lastname@example.org
AVA members Terry and Mary Baker submitted these photos from their backyard.
These two nest photos were submitted on June 5:
There are 4 baby Robins squeezed into this nest which is not far from our front door.
Photo by Mary Baker
There are 4 tiny baby Chipping Sparrows in this small nest near our garage door.
Photo by Mary Baker
I had the rare opportunity to see these 2 Pileated Woodpeckers at my feeder today. I have never seen 2 of them on the feeder at the same time. They love my homemade peanut butter suet. (Submitted on June 7th.)
Photo by Mary Baker
From AVA member Mary Baker, taken May 15th in Tawas Township:
Indigo Bunting – photo by Mary Baker
This male Indigo Bunting was seen at my feeder this morning holding bird seed in his mouth.
Great Volunteers Keep Doing Good
I think we had a record number of volunteers for the M-55 Road Clean Up on May 3, 2017! This is so wonderful as at first it looked like only eight were going to be able to help. Four new to the AVA road cleaning experience and fourteen returnees; some are seven year veterans of AVA clean up efforts. The total? Eighteen volunteers!!!
After a few safety reminders and getting geared up with vests and bags the crew got to work for about an hour. The teams covered two miles of M-55, both sides of the road, and an additional really trashy two sides of south Sand Lake Road. South Sand Lake leads to the transfer station for Grant Township which means lots of trash blown out of tucks and trailers on the way to disposal. That was a bonus gift to mother nature since it was only possible because of our enthusiastic and numerous crew! Trash Total? Twenty-two bags. (Probably not a record as the first year we had lots and lots of trash, too.)
Great finds? A GMC logo, a mattress box spring, a one dollar bill (dirty but intact) amazing car part pieces, a couple really long boards and one pair of white lacy undies!! (Honest!)
Afterwards most folks enjoyed some tasty roll ups, soup and cheese for lunch, followed by delicious brownies. The first Indigo Bunting of the season appeared at our feeders, along with assorted other birds. They were a part of the entertainment as was much congenial conversation. Thanks to all who were able to help!!
This photo was taken in Tawas Township on 4/21 and submitted by Terry & Mary Baker.
“We rarely see shore birds at our pond, but this Green Heron came to steal some goldfish last Friday.
It was camouflaged in the wild grasses beyond our pond. It stayed briefly.”