Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • Tuesday, February 08, 2022 2:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    At exactly 1201 today the partial clouds broke and the sun came through clear and bright.  Unfortunately, at 1200 today, we ended our tour of Haehnle and Dalton Rd. area.  But the six JAS members had a good outing this morning. Not too cold and just a little bit of wind to make sure we weren't too comfortable.

    We started at Hahenle Sanctuary and walked through the overlook prairie and back into the wooded trail.  Continuing into the prairie in Unit #2 I showed the group where our contractor is working on removing the buckthorn in our fen area.  He arrived right on queue and we got the see the grinding in action.  

    View to the north into the fen                                                             (Steve Jerant)

    We returned back to the overlook through to back loop trail.  Our species list was a bit skinny.  The Northern Shrike I spotted yesterday was nowhere to be seen today and there was not too many songbirds about.  Not even the bluebirds came out for us.

    Species list:

    Buteo sp.  1
    Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
    Downy Woodpecker  1
    Northern Flicker  2
    Blue Jay  1
    American Crow  2
    Black-capped Chickadee  1

    View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S102297728

    From Hahenle, we caravanned (I'll be glad when this COVID thing is done) over to the Hawkins & Dalton Rds. area in search of raptors.  With the snow on the road, I did not want to stop the 5 card train without any shoulders on the road.

    We only got two Red-tailed hawks and flushed a group of Mourning Doves.  At the turn in Dalton we had an eagle far out to the east but could not get a good read on it. 

    Our Next tour is at Dahlem on 02/22 at 9AM.

    View to the east from turn @ Dalton Rd.                                             (Steve Jerant)

    Species list:

    Mourning Dove  24
    Red-tailed Hawk  2
    eagle sp.  1
    Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
    Blue Jay  1
    American Crow  11
    Dark-eyed Junco  1
    Northern Cardinal  2

    View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S102297779

  • Tuesday, February 01, 2022 4:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    It was agreed that our winter walk rescheduled from last Tuesday (12F) to today (27F to 41F) was a good idea.  It was sunny and clear with a mild breeze.  The Leonard Preserve is one of the Washtenaw County Natural Area Preservation Program properties. This was our first visit to this venue but we have visited other NAPP properties including Spike Avis and West Lake Preserve in the past.


    (Steve Jerant)

    Joann Ballbach led this winter tour with her usual delightful mix of science, story telling, and folklore.  She went over the basics from why its winter to the molecular structure of a snowflake.   As usual with Joann, we concentrated on plant life but also checked out varieties of tracks in the snow on the trail and on the frozen river.


    (Steve Jerant)

    One of the very visible natural features in winter are galls. These are deformities on plants where insects or other parasites create a structure on the host that can look like a bloated section of stem, a bud, or in the case of our mystery gall today, a dried flower.  There were many goldenrod galls and willow galls.  Then we found a poplar tree full of galls but they were unfamiliar to all of us.

       (Steve Jerant)

    Robert did the research after the walk and found information written by Dahlem's own past Education Director, Ellen Rathbone.  

    from the Adirondack Almanac
    by Ellen Rathbone

    ...it is indeed a cottonwood gall of a type made by cottonwood gall mites (Eriophyes parapopuli), aka: poplar bud gall mites. These mites, which are so tiny that it would take five, lined up end to end, to stretch across a 12-pt. period, can be found on other members of the poplar family, too, not just cottonwoods. One of the things that I discovered in my research that I thought was rather interesting is that these mites, unlike the overwhelming majority of mites and spiders, have only four legs. Not four pairs of legs (spiders and mites), but four legs…period. That’s just wrong. Despite their small size, and obvious lack of appendages, these miniscule pests travel very well, thank you. How do they get around? By wind, water, insects, birds and yes, even people. They are extremely fertile, producing up to eight generations in a single year (thank goodness they only live about a month as adults).


    (Robert Ayote)

    Oh, we also were birding when not looking at plants.  Below is the species list 

    eBird checklist

    21 Mourning Dove
    2 Red-tailed Hawk

    3 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    2 Downy Woodpecker

    1 Northern Flicker

    5 Blue Jay

    6 American Crow

    3 Black-capped Chickadee

    1 Tufted Titmouse

    1 White-breasted Nuthatch

    4 European Starling

    1 American Tree Sparrow

    2 Northern Cardinal

    Number of Taxa: 13

  • Monday, January 24, 2022 12:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    A Message from
    Monica Day, Big Tree coordinator
    Pegg Clevenger,  JAS Member

    Jackson Audubon Society is steward of the Jackson County Big Trees database and measures and keeps a list of our giant trees. Recently we found out that 10 mature oak trees were to be cut down to build a parking lot for Frost School. The ISD bought Frost from the school district for $1 and will be moving service and some students to the building after remodeling. The area north of the current bus drive adjacent to Cascades School has ten White and Bur Oak marked for removal.

    Audubon’s Big Tree coordinator, Monica Day, along with JAS member, Pegg Clevenger measured the trees of this pleasant grove. The oaks appear to be in very good condition. Pegg said, “When we climbed back in the car and calculated the diameters from the circumferences and multiplied by the scientific growth factor, I was stunned into disbelief. We re-measured. The smallest tree was 191 years old! The largest is estimated to be 290 years old.”

    These trees germinated pre-settlement. Bur Oak can live to be 500-years and have thick fire-resistant bark. Birders of Audubon know that oaks are the ideal wildlife plants and no other plant genus supports more species of butterflies and moths. Our birds need caterpillar-protein to support their young and the mighty oaks provide shelter as well.

    Even if ISD plants many trees elsewhere, the ecosystem service these mature oaks currently provide can never be matched in a human lifetime. Their deep roots are absorbing water from the high water-table in that area, protecting property.

    These ten oaks are worthy of saving. Beautiful trees build a school yard into a campus. We hope you will consider sending your opinion to the ISD:

    Dave Salsbury dave.salsbury@jcisd.org
    East Jackson School District

    Doug Schedeler doug.schedeler@jcisd.org
    Columbia
    Erin Slater erin.slater@jcisd.org

    Jackson Public
    Georgia Fojtasek georgia.fojtasek@jcisd.org
    Jackson Public

    Blaine Goodrich blaine.goodrich@jcisd.org
    Western
    Kevin Oxley kevin.oxley@jcisd.org
    517-768-5141
    Superintendent, ISD

    Thank you,
    Monica Day, Big Tree coordinator
    Pegg Clevenger, JAS Member

  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022 12:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Three of us brave JAS members took a brisk walk at MaCready.  It wasn't that cold this morning, it was in the double digits, after all, 10 F.    The property is back open to the public after the deer season closure.  Trails were a bit icy in a few spots but not too bad.  With low bird activity we were able to check out lots of plants with little interruption.

    We walked the red trail though the conifer sections with the hope of seeing some crossbills, but alas, it was only a hope.  

    The eBird checklist is available HERE

    Traveling

    1.76 miles

    1 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    3 Downy Woodpecker

    1 Blue Jay

    2 American Crow

    8 Black-capped Chickadee

    2 Red-breasted Nuthatch

    3 White-breasted Nuthatch

    Number of Taxa: 7

  • Tuesday, December 21, 2021 12:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Jackson Audubon members took a walk on the Hoffman Trail.  We had a beautiful clear sunny morning, almost too sunny as we were walking east.  Not to disappoint, Michigan weather came and it clouded over about halfway through the walk.  It was a bit wet but we were able to make it from Moeckel Rd. in the west through the woods over to the water crossing in the Riethmiller wetland.  Some of the six members ate some wintergreen berries found on the trail.

    Only four woodpeckers were observed.  We did get three Red-headed woodpeckers along with some of the usual suspects:  Red-bellied, Northern Flicker, and Downey.  


    At the Riethmiller wetland we tried to bring out a Virginia rail, but no luck.  However, some skunk cabbage was seen (see below) but unlike the Wintergreen berries, none of us had a taste.  


    You can see our eBird trip list online or summary below.

    Traveling 2.25 miles

    2 Red-tailed Hawk

    3 Red-headed Woodpecker -- Individually identified

    3 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    1 Downy Woodpecker

    1 Northern Flicker

    4 Blue Jay

    8 American Crow

    7 Black-capped Chickadee

    5 Tufted Titmouse

    1 Golden-crowned Kinglet

    2 White-breasted Nuthatch

    2 Eastern Bluebird

    25 American Robin

    30 Cedar Waxwing

    2 American Goldfinch

    1 American Tree Sparrow

    2 Northern Cardinal

    Number of Taxa: 17

    12/21/2021

  • Tuesday, December 07, 2021 12:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Gary Siegrist lead a tour of Hahenle on Tuesday.  Weather was overcast but not too cold (like last year).  There is no open water in Mud Lake Marsh but Eagle Lake is still partially open and we got to see some late Trumpeter Swans on the water and flying over us later in our walk.  There is high water in the back prairie.

    We had a good collection of woodpeckers but the sparrow count was low.  

    The next tour on December 21 is on the Hoffman Trail.

    Bird count:
    3 Canada Goose

    3 Trumpeter Swan -- On Eagle lake. All adults

    6 Mallard

    1 American Black Duck

    2 Hooded Merganser

    1 Bald Eagle

    1 Red-tailed Hawk

    1 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    2 Downy Woodpecker

    1 Pileated Woodpecker

    3 Northern Flicker

    4 Blue Jay

    5 American Crow

    5 Black-capped Chickadee

    3 Eastern Bluebird

    1 House Finch

    1 American Goldfinch

    1 American Tree Sparrow

    1 sparrow sp.

    2 Northern Cardinal


    Number of Taxa: 20

    Checklist available HERE


  • Monday, November 29, 2021 7:30 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The weather this weekend brought a few inches of snow and froze over most of Mud Lake Marsh.  No cranes were seen or heard today.  We had a bit of open water that hosted a small flock of American Black Duck and Mallard. 


    Ross spotted a group of Canada Goose far out in the horizon and we found a pair of Mute Swan on Eagle Lake. We also spotted this little fellow on the trail.  I am loving the use of native plants on him.


    Unless it gets a lot warner, this will be the last post of the year.  Remember Haehnle Sanctuary is open all year and the parking lot is plowed after heavy snow.  It’s a great spot for a short cross county ski or a quiet winter walk.  And we do have a fairly regular Northern Shrike…

    Crane counters:   Steve Jerant & Ross Green
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count:  0 (0 total observed)
    Species count:  11

    14 Canada Goose

    2 Mute Swan

    3 Mallard

    11 American Black Duck

    1 Pileated Woodpecker

    2 Northern Flicker

    2 Blue Jay

    1 Tufted Titmouse

    1 White-breasted Nuthatch

    2 Carolina Wren

    4 American Tree Sparrow

    Number of Taxa: 11

    View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S98261835


    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data on the Haehnle web site at
    http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count


  • Monday, November 22, 2021 8:03 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We did not do an official count tonight at the Sanctuary.   I’m submitting a count I did last night while working as a weekend greeter. 

    The weather cleared in time for some visitors to come out and enjoy the view and get to see some cranes come into the marsh. We had three flyovers totaling about 14 birds from a grand total of only 27.  A bit more than half, 18 roosted in the marsh overnight.

    Crane counters:   Steve Jerant
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count:  18 (27 total observed)
    Species count:  16

    18 Canada Goose

    2 Trumpeter Swan

    35 Mallard

    12 American Black Duck

    27 Sandhill Crane -- 18 in marsh

    6 Ring-billed Gull

    1 Northern Harrier

    1 Sharp-shinned/Cooper's Hawk

    1 Bald Eagle -- Immature

    1 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    3 Northern Flicker

    1 Blue Jay

    2 White-breasted Nuthatch

    2 American Tree Sparrow

    5 White-throated Sparrow

    75 Red-winged Blackbird -- 2 groups

    Number of Taxa: 16

    View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S97902304

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data on the Haehnle web site at http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count.


  • Tuesday, November 16, 2021 12:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Seven JAS members visited the Dahlem Center Tuesday for some late fall/early winter birdwatching.  It started a bit cold but the sun broke through after an hour or so and helped with lighting up the forest.  Dahlem provided us with a good mix of habitats, including grassland, conifer & hardwood forests and wetland. 

    In the northern section there is a good population of Eastern Wahoo, a species of native burningbush (Euonymus atropurpureus).  

    American Tree Sparrow were there along with lots of nuthatches.  The prairie opened up for us to see a pair of Red Tail Hawks soaring.  Moving the reflection pool boardwalk, what is that, an early snowy owl?....

    ...nevermind, one of the kids must have made this snowman.

    Our next tour will be Haehnle Sanctuary on December 07. 

    Species list:

    2 Sandhill Crane

    3 Red-tailed Hawk

    3 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    6 Downy Woodpecker

    1 Hairy Woodpecker

    1 Pileated Woodpecker

    2 Blue Jay

    8 American Crow

    7 Black-capped Chickadee

    3 Tufted Titmouse

    3 Golden-crowned Kinglet 

    10 White-breasted Nuthatch

    1 Carolina Wren

    8 Eastern Bluebird

    5 Cedar Waxwing

    1 House Sparrow

    7 American Goldfinch

    3 American Tree Sparrow

    1 Northern Cardinal

    Number of Taxa: 19

    Checklist available at https://ebird.org/checklist/S97666421

  • Monday, November 15, 2021 7:06 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Tonight was overcast and we saw little activity. Only 8 cranes spotted in two groups, none will be roosting.  Two Northern Harriers are still working the marsh and many ducks remain in the open water.  We had two small groups of starlings and blackbirds.  It snowed yesterday and a little remains on the ground.  But it will burn off in the next few days and we expect temperatures to be in the high 30’s so we’ll likely count next week.

    Crane counters:   Ross Green, Gary Siegrist, and Steve Jerant
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count:  0 (8 total observed)
    Species count:  21

    22 Canada Goose

    4 American Wigeon

    200 Mallard

    4 American Black Duck

    30 Ring-necked Duck

    4 Hooded Merganser

    8 Sandhill Crane

    2 Northern Harrier

    1 Bald Eagle

    1 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    1 Downy Woodpecker

    3 Northern Flicker

    3 Blue Jay

    1 White-breasted Nuthatch

    1 Carolina Wren

    20 European Starling

    2 Eastern Bluebird

    16 American Robin

    2 Dark-eyed Junco

    1 White-throated Sparrow

    25 Red-winged Blackbird

    Number of Taxa: 21

    View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S97642896


    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data on the Haehnle web site at
    http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/crane-count.

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