Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • Thursday, May 26, 2022 2:42 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Longtime JAS member Roy Dane has hit the trail!  The Pacific Cost Trail to be exact.  Follow updates of his progress and observations on his blog.

  • Tuesday, May 10, 2022 10:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    After a 2 year hiatus due to Covid-19, we had a trip back to Magee Marsh on Tuesday.  Six JAS members walked the boardwalk from east to west.  Some continued on to quick visits to the Crane Creek Estuary Trail at Magee and then to Metzger Marsh and Howard Marsh in search of the yellow-headed Blackbird.

    The marsh boardwalk had a pretty good showing of warblers.  We got 20 warblers and 5 vireos on our trip.  Brenda posted a shared list of the whole trip on eBird.   In addition the 74 birds on that list, others in the group counted trip birds for all day which added another 11 species, for an informal count of 85 species.

    There were a lot of Magnolia, Yellow and Chestnut-sided Warblers.
    Magnolia Warbler (Gary Mason)


    Chestnut-sided Warbler (Gary Mason)

    The Black-throated group were also well represented.

    Black-throated Blue Warbler (Gary Mason)

    Black-throated Green Warbler (Gary Mason)

    Cape May, Blackburnian, and a single Orange-crowned Warbler were observed as well


    Cape May Warbler (Gary Mason)

    But the big treat for the day was a sighting of a Mourning Warbler. It was a lifer for some in our group, and I expect for the few people that were watching it outside the west entrance to the boardwalk.


    MOWA watching crush (Steve Jerant)


    Mourning Warbler (Gary Mason)


    Eastern Screech Owl (Gary Mason)


    Baltimore Oriol (Gary Mason)

    Bald Eagle on nest near parking lot (Gary Mason)

  • Tuesday, May 03, 2022 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Six soggy souls toured the Kate Palmer Sanctuary on Tuesday.  The tour was led by the Sanctuary Steward, Alan King.  Alan lead us through both sides of the O'Brien Rd. bordered property, giving us the history of the Sanctuary as well as showing off the wildflowers in season.  Like our Nan Weston tour last week, the early spring weather is not making this a great year for our early wildflower.  The Trillium, which are usually in their glory about this time, were barely peeking out. The Trout Lilly were in bloom, but they were being very shy due to no sun and lots of rain.  

    The birds were hunkered down as well, with only a few warblers seen or heard.  Our one bit of sunshine was an unexpected Rusty Blackbird we tracked near the creek on the east side of the property.


    Species List:

    Wood Duck  2
    Red-tailed Hawk  1
    Belted Kingfisher  1
    Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
    Downy Woodpecker  1
    Northern Flicker  1
    American Crow  1
    Black-capped Chickadee  2
    Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
    White-breasted Nuthatch  1
    House Wren  2
    Carolina Wren  2
    Eastern Bluebird  1
    American Robin  3
    Red-winged Blackbird  3
    Rusty Blackbird  1    Audible
    Yellow Warbler  3
    Yellow-rumped Warbler  8

  • Tuesday, April 26, 2022 4:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Joann Ballbach did her usual wonderful job of leading six JAS members through Nan Weston Preserve this morning.  It was cooler than previous trips and the flowers were not in great abundance but it did not rain.

    Most of the usual spring ephemerals were seen although many of them were still a bit shy about showing off their full flowers.  

    In addition to the samples below, we also saw lots of very small Trilliums with small flowers just starting to show, two Squirrel's Corn,  and a few Blood Root. On our way back we also got a look at a single Violet.

    Nan Weston is a jewel of a property managed by the Nature Conservatory.  It now has a connection near the River Raisin to the Sharon Mills Park managed by the Washtenaw County Park system.


    May Apple

    Marsh Marigold

    Dwarf Ginseng

    Ragwort

    Skunk Cabbage

    Blue Cohosh

    Cut Leave Toothwort

    Bellwort

    Dutchman's Britches

    Spring Beauties

    Round Lobed Hepatica

    Rue Anemone

    All Photos Steve Jerant (hand model in Rue Anemone: Gary Siegrist).

  • Monday, April 25, 2022 6:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    There have been a lot of questions about what to do with your feeders now that the Avian Flu has been reported in several Michigan counties.  At this writing the MI DNR have not banned bird feeders but indicate that removing them would help manage the spread.  The recommendations are variable based on your location, types of birds being fed, and whether there are groups of vulnerable birds nearby.   Read the Michigan Audubon blog post for the details so you can make an informed decision. 

     

  • Saturday, April 02, 2022 8:11 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The nine JAS members had pretty good weather this morning for the annual Early Waterfowl tour.   With the exception of the elusive Canvasback, the group spotted most of the species that are normally seen at this time of year in Jacksopn County.  A total of 64 birds, including 24 waterfowl species, were observed in the six lakes and wetlands we visited.  Of note were a bevy of Horned Grebes at Gilletts Lake and a great number of Pintails at both Dunn/Cutler and Hahenle Sanctuary.

    While expectations were low for our fist stop at Watkins Lake SP, 39 species were seen, including 10 waterfowl.  We had great views of both the active Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk nests on the west side of the lake.  A group of 3 Bonaparte's Gulls did a flyby while we were heading back to the cars. 


    Steve Jerant

    The next stop at Norvell Lake (west) was fair, with a few waterfowl species.  Ross and Penny were able to squeeze a Northern Shoveler out of our visit.

    We expected Gillet's lake to be the best stop and were not disappointed.  Three  Common Loons and 28 Horned Grebe were observed.  And yes, that set off the eBird alarm.  

    Early scouting of Wolf and Grass lakes we not favorable so we headed up to the wetlands on Cutler & Dunn Rds.  There were lots of Northern Pintail and both Teal species.  The sun came out a bit so the colors showed well on these dusks as they promenaded for us.  

    From there we went east on Seymour Rd. to the Portage Lake Park on...Portage Lake Rd.  The Tree Swallows were abundant and Don did us the service of counting them: 109.


    Steve Jerant

    The last stop on the tour was at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary.  Three sets of Northern Pintails were seen over Mud Lake Marsh as well as Eagle Lake. The group checked out the marsh from the overlook then walked over to Eagle Lake.  There was a god deal of activity there viewed from the platform.

    Before finishing up for the day, a Field Sparrow was heard calling to remind us that even though it was in the 30s and it snowed yesterday, spring is here. 

    eBird Trip Checklist

    Species observed

    Canada Goose 162

    Mute Swan 11

    Trumpeter Swan 3

    Wood Duck 21

    Blue-winged Teal 14

    Northern Shoveler 6

    Gadwall 2

    American Wigeon 33

    Mallard 22

    American Black Duck 1

    Northern Pintail 33

    Green-winged Teal 11

    Redhead 1

    Ring-necked Duck 317

    Greater Scaup 2

    Lesser Scaup 4

    Bufflehead 37

    Hooded Merganser 10

    Common Merganser 26

    Red-breasted Merganser 2

    Wild Turkey 5

    Pied-billed Grebe 17

    Horned Grebe 28

    Mourning Dove 6

    American Coot 45

    Sandhill Crane 12

    Killdeer 4

    Wilson's Snipe 1

    Bonaparte's Gull 14

    Common Loon 5

    Great Blue Heron 3

    Turkey Vulture 7

    Osprey 1

    Northern Harrier 2

    Cooper's Hawk 2

    Bald Eagle 4

    Red-tailed Hawk 3

    Belted Kingfisher 1

    Red-bellied Woodpecker 4

    Downy Woodpecker 2

    Pileated Woodpecker 1

    Northern Flicker 5

    American Kestrel 2

    Blue Jay 1

    American Crow 7

    Black-capped Chickadee 4

    Tufted Titmouse 2

    Horned Lark 2

    Tree Swallow 172

    White-breasted Nuthatch 2

    Carolina Wren 1

    European Starling 1

    Eastern Bluebird 4

    American Robin 9

    Cedar Waxwing 7

    House Sparrow 2

    American Goldfinch 4

    Field Sparrow 1

    American Tree Sparrow 2

    Song Sparrow 14

    Eastern Meadowlark 1

    Red-winged Blackbird 101

    Common Grackle 17

    Northern Cardinal 7

  • Tuesday, March 08, 2022 6:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Jackson Audubon members crossed over into the wilds of Washtenaw county Tuesday to visit Park Lyndon.  This 2-parcel park is regionally know for the tremendous diversity of plant life.  Our winter walk did not exactly showcase this aspect of the park but we did get great views of the topography of the area.  The ice had melted off most of the trails so our ups & downs were easier than if we'd been out just a week earlier.

    The birding was average with the usual suspects along with a few Red-winged Blackbirds reminding us that the snow is melting.  The trail leading though the Tamarac swamp was great, but alas no winter favorites were seen.  We'll have to return next year earlier in the season.


    Steve Jerant

    I finally got to build a fire at the pavilion at the park and we had a nice picnic lunch including hot dogs roasted over the open fire.  It was still a bit chill  and the warmth of the fire was enjoyed by all.


    Steve Jerant

    After lunch, three of us continued the tour to Park Lyndon South, just across North Territorial Rd.  It is a wonderful pair of trails that overlook Lake Guinevere and lead into a old pine plantation.

    Species List:

    Park Lyndon County Park NORTH
    2 Canada Goose
    2 Wood Duck
    2 Mourning Dove
    3 Sandhill Crane
    1 gull sp. -- Soaring very high above park
    1 Red-shouldered Hawk -- Don saw soaring high
    3 Red-bellied Woodpecker
    2 Blue Jay
    2 American Crow
    3 Black-capped Chickadee
    3 Tufted Titmouse
    2 White-breasted Nuthatch
    2 Eastern Bluebird
    2 American Robin
    2 Red-winged Blackbird
    1 Northern Cardinal
    Number of Taxa: 16


    Park Lyndon County Park SOUTH
    2 Canada Goose
    1 Turkey Vulture
    2 American Crow
    3 Black-capped Chickadee
    2 Tufted Titmouse
    4 White-breasted Nuthatch
    1 Northern Cardinal
    Number of Taxa: 7

  • Thursday, February 24, 2022 4:10 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    From Linda Ar:

    The Jackson Whatsapp rare bird alert is moving to a new platform starting today! (See below for how to switch over) If you’re not familiar with the bird sharing groups app (Whatsapp) please read on for an explanation of the new platform, Discord, as the Whatsapp groups will no longer be used. 

    As part of the state and county bird alert groups, we are moving to the “Birding Michigan” channel on the Discord app. This is a new, comprehensive platform for all state and local birding groups (rare birds and chat groups alike). We have been working behind the scenes for over a month getting the platform ready and are very excited to finally be launching. Discord runs on both mobile and desktop/laptop systems.

    Jackson County will have two groups - a Jackson rare bird alert group and a Jackson chat group, which will be much looser and more conversational.

    To join, start by downloading the Discord app at the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). Then register with your email address, and create a username and password. Then, accept the invite to the Michigan Birds Discord server here: https://discord.gg/rVj3KxpH

    Once in, proceed to the “new members” channel, where you will find instructions for accepting the server rules by typing the following into the “New Members” channel.

    !agree John Smith

    (exclamation with no space + agree, space, first/last name with spaces) with your actual name (instead of John Smith)- & pay attention to spaces and case - it must be exact.  

    *To support the safety of our members and in the spirit of transparency, please be sure and use your actual first and last name

    You will then be able to view all of the channels in Michigan. Notifications for all statewide channels will default to “off”, so if you want to receive a ding on your phone for any of the channels such as Jackson rare bird alert or Jackson chat, you will need to manually turn them on. Instructions for doing this are in the “adjusting-notification-settings” channel. You can also make adjustments in (for iOS mobile): settings=> notifications=> discord, for Lock Screen, Banners, Sounds, etc. I assume Android is similar.

    Any questions please watch our tutorial video at: 

    https://youtu.be/BJmGNwtswgg

    Thanks everyone - I hope you all check out the app, we really love the new platform and hope you do too! It’s going to be a very powerful tool and should really increase the efficiency of reporting all birds to each other at the local and state level as well as promote discussion of birds and bird related topics in general.

    Please be in touch for any help or questions you may have. 

    Good birding,
    Linda Ar

    email address

  • Tuesday, February 22, 2022 1:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    It may have rained but it did not pour!

    Three JAS members took a walk along the trails and boardwalks at Dahlem today.  The weather was not ideal and we had some fog and later some light rain. The rain hit while we were in the conifer section of the property, so we lucked out as that was the only good cover at this time of year.  Trails were a bit icy in spots but we had plenty of traction in newly bare spots due to the recent partial thaw.

    With the low visibility, I think we heard more than we saw.  A lone Great Blue Heron was flying south over the boardwalk. Hopefully he found some open water to get some lunch.  I finally got a Red-breasted Nuthatch this season, as they have been avoiding me since last winter.  

    We ended up a little muddy and a bit wet, but we got out to enjoy the wonderful habitats that Dahlem has to offer.

    Species list:

    2 duck sp. -- Likely WODU
    1 Great Blue Heron -- Seen flying south from boardwalk.
    6 Red-bellied Woodpecker
    3 Downy Woodpecker
    1 Pileated Woodpecker
    1 Northern Flicker
    9 Blue Jay
    7 American Crow
    8 Black-capped Chickadee
    2 Tufted Titmouse
    1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
    3 White-breasted Nuthatch
    17 European Starling
    4 Eastern Bluebird
    2 American Robin
    1 House Finch
    13 American Goldfinch
    Number of Taxa: 17

    https://ebird.org/checklist/S103510949

  • Tuesday, February 15, 2022 8:51 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    ANTARCTICA EXPEDITION CRUISE - JANUARY 24-FEBRUARY 4, 2022

    Doug Leffler

    In January 2021, Sandy and I booked passage with Viking Cruise Lines for a January 24-February 4, 2022 expedition cruise to Antarctica.  The cruise embarked from Ushuaia, Argentina, sailing across the Drake Passage to reach the Antarctic Peninsula.  Upon arriving at the Peninsula we explored both the Antarctic mainland and several Islands in the Antarctic Archipelago and then returned to Ushuaia for our flight home.

    Our expedition ship was The Viking Octantis, which was built in late 2020.  The ship was equipped with several Zodiac rubber-hulled boats for expedition landings, as well as two special-purpose craft for area exploration.

    Several expert scientists were on board, including Lars Rasmussen, birder extraordinaire from Denmark, and Noah Stryker who was the 2015 World Birder of the Year.  A variety of seabirds and penguins were observed and photographed, including: gray-headed albatross, black-browed albatross, giant petrels, snowy sheathbill, polar and brown skua, Antarctic tern, Antarctic shag, light-mantled albatross, a variety of storm petrels, gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins and one emperor penguin.

    The scenery in Antarctica is spectacular.  The immensity of glaciers and rock outcroppings are incredible.  Icebergs are everywhere in the bays of the Peninsula, as the glaciers “calve” various sizes of ice into the sea.

    Expeditions to landing sites were with the Zodiacs.  Four landings were made during the expedition, with one landing on the mainland and three landings on islands in the Peninsula Archipelago.  The photographs below show some of the beautiful scenery and wildlife that we observed.

    The Viking Octantis is anchored in Dorian Bay for Zodiac landings at Damoy Point on Wiencke Island.


    Gentoo penguin colony at Damoy Point.


    Brown skua at Damoy Point.


    Iceberg in Dorian Bay.


    Exploring Hidden Bay


    Glacier close to calving near Paradise Bay.


    Emperor penguin spotted from the ship on an iceberg.


    Gentoo penguin colony on Cuverville Island.


    A Gentoo penguin makes his way down a colony path to the sea.


    A snowy sheathbill is spotted at Base Brown, located on Paradise Bay.


    A chinstrap penguin was spotted from a Zodiac on a rock outcropping in Paradise Bay.


    Antarctic shags are spotted on a rock outcropping on Enterprise Island.


    This crabeater seal was spotted taking a nap on Snow Island, which was our last expedition landing.


    Snow Island is incredibly beautiful and is a perfect location to artfully depict with monochrome photography.

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