The Tawas Point Birding Festival is now on the books. The 10th annual festival too. We all had a wonderful time and it was another record year. The following is a brief message from our AuSable Valley Audubon President, Ruth Golm:
“Living in IOSCO County has certainly become very exciting. Who would have thought that our local wildlife habitats & environments would develop into becoming an recognized IBA! Many thanks goes to our AVA members who have worked so enthusiastically and diligently over the years to maintain and promote our area to become what it is today! We should all be proud of our accomplishments.”
Ruth Golm, President
The following document link will take you to a PDF of a Senate Resolution presented to Ruth Golm during the Birding Festival: Senate Resolution 51
The resolution is to recognize IOSCO County as a Premier Birding Destination in the state of Michigan.
Sunrise Coast Birding Trail Dedicated
photo by Roger Eriksson
One hundred and fifty supporters, partners and guests attended the official May 2 dedication ceremonies at three locations along the trail. These areas included Shoreline Park in Oscoda/ AuSable , Duck Park in Alpena, and the Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park in Mackinaw City. Continue reading
NOAA Gaylord and doppler radar tower
On Tuesday, April 21st, the AVA held a field trip to the Gaylord NOAA weather station. Here is the trip report from Larry VanWagoner:
Field trip to Gaylord National Weather Service Office http://www.weather.gov/apx/
“AVA’s April field trip took twelve of us 90 miles north to Gaylord. We carpooled with 3 vehicles and spent a very enjoyable hour with Science officer, Justin Arnott, as he explained how the data from weather balloons and Doppler radar are integrated to supply weather forecast products for many industries and the public, including aviation, freighters on the lakes, and you and me.
After our tour of the weather station we drove into Gaylord where we split up to visit the restaurant that interested us most. Many of us went to a restaurant new to us: The Bearded Dogg. All of their food was prepared from ‘scratch’ and was delicious. Others went to the historic Sugar Bowl to eat and be nostalgic. We arrived home by 3:30pm.”
Volunteers get their assignments from Sue D.
Spring Cleanup Volunteers (plus Larry VW, photographer)
AuSable Valley Audubon competed the first highway cleanup of the year Tuesday,
4/28. It took 10 members just over an hour to ’sweep’ 2 miles of M-55. 14 bags of trash
consisting mainly of fast food containers, drink cups, and plastic from vehicle front ends were collected.
This is the 5th year we’ve cleaned this section of highway. After the cleanup, Sue D. served two soups and cornbread for lunch, and J.L. brought great brownies.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this successful activity.
On Thursday, April 23rd, Sue Duncan lead a small group of AVA members on a field trip trial run. This was a practice run for a potential field trip for the Tawas Point Birding Festival next month. The following paragraphs are Sue’s report, Thank you:
Field trip attendees
Not too long ago, the US Forest Service cleared the underbrush out of a large area on Old State Road that has made the Red-headed Woodpecker very happy. This eighty to one hundred acre habitat had multiple (30+) birds over wintering. Other places in the Sand Lake region also held a number of birds this winter. A surprise to to all! Although the birds seem to have spread out more now as they are establishing territories, there are still many to see.
It was low 30’s with a cruel wind at 10 am on Thursday, April 23, but the birds were still sighted by all in the group multiple times. Some viewing was quick glimpses of white and black flying through the oaks, some were long spells sitting in the open. Unfortunately, none were really close up, or in full sunshine. No calls or drilling was heard that day, but there was plenty of both the next day which was sunnier and warmer….figures!
There are a few highly likely nest cavities being considered by the birds and observations can only improve as the weather warms up and egg laying time nears.
From AVA members, Larry and Sue, describing some morning visitors:
“Three Evening Grosbeaks arrived quietly to our feeder and waterer. They ate sunflower seeds, drank water, ate more seeds, drank, repeated, and then just as rapidly as they appeared, they disappeared, having been at the feeders 5 minutes.”
The photo was taken on 4/24/2015 at 11 a.m.
Snowy Owl by Phil Odum taken 4/14/2015
One of our members, Phil Odum, submitted these pictures taken recently at the Tawas Point State park. The Pine Warbler photo was taken on 4/12/2015, The Yellow rumped Warbler picture was taken on 4/13/2015, and the Snowy Owl photo was taken the next day, 4/14/2015.
Yellow rumped Warbler – photo by Phil Odum
Pine Warbler courtesy of Phil Odum
Thank you Phil.
Remember to take pictures of your sitings as the birds arrive and submit them with a short description!
New Birding Trail to be dedicated on Michigan’s East Coast
The Sunrise Coast Birding Trail (SCBT) is a grassroots effort by three Michigan Audubon chapters- AuSable Valley Audubon, Thunder Bay Audubon Society and Straits Area Audubon Society. The focus of the trail is to offer public access and information to some of the best birding hot spots in Northeast Michigan. The trail also offers an additional tourist attraction to the Sunrise Side.
The new trail begins at Shoreline Park in Oscoda, near the mouth of the AuSable River. The trail then follows nearly 150 miles of the Lake Huron coast to Mackinaw City. Twenty- eight birding sites in the region are highlighted. Maps with directions and descriptions will be available in mid-April. They will be available at various places along the route such as Chambers of Commerce, lodging facilities, restaurants, and travel centers. Metal signs identifying sites or travel directions to various locations will make it easy for the visitor to follow. See the example at the right.
More information is available through the Michigan Audubon’s “Go Birding” page, Heritage 23’s page at www.sunrisecoastbirding.org, and Michigan DNR’s page on Michigan Birding Trails (we now have five) at DNR > Wildlife & Habitat > Viewing Wildlife > Birding Trails.
Trail dedication will take place in three locations, Oscoda, Alpena, and Mackinaw City on May 2. See the Sunrise Coast link above for more information.
Cornell Lab and Audubon have published the results of this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count. Many new records were set. Check out the results in the GBBC Newsletter available here.
Great work and congratulations to all who participated.
Red-headed Woodpeckers? Here? Now?
Red-headed Woodpeckers – photo by Larry VanWagoner
According to the current batch of birding field guides, there should be no red-headed woodpeckers anywhere in Michigan, let alone northern Michigan, in February. Noteworthy, is the fact that the U.S. Forest Service has included habitat areas within their forest management plan specifically for these and similar birds. These birds are easy to find in the fire-break clear cut areas created by the USFS to protect against wildfires running amok should they occur on managed lands.
Two of our AVA members, Larry and Sue spotted around fifty red-headed woodpeckers in the Sand Lake area during the Great Backyard Bird Count. The birds have apparently established a colony in a habitat that the US Forest Service has managed for just that eventuality since 2010.