Survey of Black Tern Population at Tawas Lake

Black Tern over Tawas Lake - Roger Erikkson

Black Tern over Tawas Lake

On June 11, 2015, National Audubon Society conducted a survey of the Black Tern population at Tawas Lake.

census takers Caleb Putnam and Randy Kling

census takers Caleb Putnam and Randy Kling

census takers Phil Odum and Caleb Putnam

census takers Phil Odum and Caleb Putnam

The following text is from the eBird checklist submitted by Caleb Putnam, Audubon. All photos are by courtesy of Roger Erikkson. Follow the jump for Caleb’s report and more photos. Continue reading

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Help Remove Invasive Spotted Knapweed from Tawas Point State Park

Invasive Plant Species Update:

The GARLIC MUSTARD PULL behind the office of the Tawas Point State Park was an interesting event this year.  It was scheduled for both Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16.  A few hardy souls pulled in the drizzle rain on Friday morning, and two of us pulled on Saturday.  In spite of our low volunteer numbers we worked 18 hours and pulled 191 lbs of Garlic Mustard.  Our target weeds were the second year Garlic Mustard plants that were ready to bloom and produce seed.  With great satisfaction, we cleared that area.  By keeping seeds out of the ‘seed bank’ we have confidence with our efforts to eradicate the GM in that area.

Again this year we’ll be removing SPOTTED KNAPWEED in the Tawas Point State Park.  By pulling and discarding 157 bags of Spotted Knapweed during the summer 2014, we changed the face of the state park and removed a gazillion seeds from the seed bank.  We look forward to doing it again this year.  Please come join us.  We’ll be pulling Spotted Knapweed on Tuesday mornings, starting July 7 and ending August 25th.  That’s just 8 weeks to get it done. You do not need to commit to each week; please join us when you can.  We’ll meet in the parking lot next to the bird feeding station (near the Lighthouse) at 9:00 a.m. and pull until 11:00 a.m.  Stormy weather or heavy rain will be a cause to cancel, but a drizzle will not.

We realize that invasive plants are here to stay but we can ‘push them back’ and we can plant native plants, shrubs, and trees…and the more we do, all things will benefit.

Plan ahead…plan to join us on Tuesday mornings at 9:00 a.m starting July 7.  Don’t know what a Spotted Knapweed looks like?…we’ll be happy to show you.  It’s easy to identify and satisfying to pull.

Spotted Knapweed in Tawas Point State Park

Spotted Knapweed in Tawas Point State Park

If you have any questions, please contact Donette Spiekerman at 362-3031.

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A Few Tawas Point Birding Festival Photographs

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat

The following pictures are all courtesy of Phil Odum and were taken during the festival. Click on these photos for a larger view:

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Northern Parula

Northern Parula

 

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IBA Senate Resolution Received by AVA During TPBF

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.

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Sunrise Coast Birding Trail Dedicated

Sunrise Coast Birding Trail Dedicated

photo by Roger Eriksson

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

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April Field Trip – NOAA Gaylord

NOAA Gaylord and doppler radar tower

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.”

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AVA Volunteers Complete Spring M-55 Cleanup

Volunteers get their assignments from Sue D.

Volunteers get their assignments from Sue D.

Spring Cleanup Volunteers (plus Larry VW, photographer)

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.

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Field Trip Trial Run – Spotting Red-headed Woodpeckers

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

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.

 

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Evening Grosbeaks at Sand Lake

From AVA members, Larry and Sue, describing some morning visitors: EveningGrosbeak-LVW-web

“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.

 

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Recent early spring birds spotted at Tawas Point

Snowy Owl by Phil Odum taken 4/14/2015

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

Yellow rumped Warbler – photo by Phil Odum

Pine Warbler courtesy of 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!

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