Four Intrepid Adventurers

The field trip to Shiawasee National Wildlife Refuge followed by a tasty lunch at the Savoy in Saginaw on Thursday, July 23, 2015 was greatly enjoyed by the four AVA members Larry, Sue, Eugenia and Kathy.

A total of 27 bird species were identified, along with a few mammals.  A few unknowns were also spotted:  duck and sparrow species.  Of particular enjoyment were the abundant Great Egret and Great Blue Heron. A surprise sighting was also in store near the auto drive tour end. This bird was about 30 feet up!  Amazingly fun ending to an interesting drive.Blue Heron-SDuncan

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Intrepid Adventurers

Pulling Together project 2015 Spotted Knapweed

Our Pulling Together project is in full swing. Come join us each Tuesday morning 9:00 a.m. for a productive morning of pulling the noxious invasive plant, Spotted Knapweed. In two short weeks we have pulled 269 lbs. We have grown accustomed to heavy overcast, cloudy days with even a drizzle thrown in for good measure, because that seems to be the weather pattern for Tuesday mornings. It keeps us cool!

IMG_1675-webHere we have the ‘pullers’ from the Tuesday, July 14th pull with our 17 bags (175 lbs) to be
discarded.

We meet a little before 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, at the Tawas Point State Park parking lot nearest the bird feeding station. Our workbee wraps up at 11:00. We’re in a race to finish this year’s pull before the plants flower and produce seed. Come join us and be satisfied that you made a difference.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pulling Together project 2015 Spotted Knapweed

Red-headed Woodpeckers at Sand Lake

This wonderful video and narrative was provided by AVA member Larry VanWagoner. His wife, Sue lead the field trip to the Red-headed Woodpecker area during the Tawas Point Birding Festival this past May.

“Please find attached a video I took on 6/25 at the Red-headed Woodpecker habitat on the SW end of Sand Lake.

I used a point-and-shoot camera attached to my spotting scope. The scope/camera was mounted on a tripod head that was clamped to my vehicle window. I used the vehicle as a ‘blind’ . This allowed me to approach to within about 50 m to photograph the birds.

Earlier in the week Sue and I found the nest by sitting in the forest and watching for adult RHWO to visit the same tree repeatedly. These birds with their black and white coloring that ‘flashes’ when they fly are very easy to spot against a green forest background.

There were only two chicks in this nest.

When I visited the nest two days after taking this video, this nest was empty, and the adults were bringing food to places out of sight, high in the surrounding trees.

In my experience, Red-headed Woodpeckers feed their chicks only insects. The adults frequently are found setting on the sides of trees observing their surroundings. Then, they will swoop to the ground to grab an insect, which they may immediately take to their chicks. Other times, they’ll wait until they have captured more than one insect before taking them to the brood.

While adult RHWO have a totally red head down to their shoulders, with white chest, black back, and black and white wings. Both sexes look identical. Fledglings have a greyish- brown head, and a whitish-grey back and front. The young fledglings have a call distinctly different from the adults.

Many RHWO around Sand Lake seem to spend the winter here. In the winter, they appear to eat acorns they have stashed in ‘larder trees’. On the coldest of winter days, Sue and I find these birds clinging to the sunlit sides of trees with multiple woodpecker holes.

Sue and I counted 54 adults Red-headed Woodpeckers in the area around Sand Lake one very cold but sunny day in late February 2015.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Red-headed Woodpeckers at Sand Lake

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Survey of Black Tern Population at Tawas Lake

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Help Remove Invasive Spotted Knapweed from Tawas Point State Park

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

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Few Tawas Point Birding Festival Photographs

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on IBA Senate Resolution Received by AVA During TPBF

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sunrise Coast Birding Trail Dedicated

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.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on April Field Trip – NOAA Gaylord

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on AVA Volunteers Complete Spring M-55 Cleanup