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Storm boosts bird watching at shoreline park

Becky Vargo • May 11, 2018 at 10:00 AM

FERRYSBURG — Area residents participating in a regularly scheduled bird walk were treated to a colorful fly-by Wednesday morning when an incoming storm pushed the migrating birds across the big lake.

“The storm pushing across Lake Michigan presumably swept birds with it across the lake and they ended up on our shoreline,” said Ottawa County Parks naturalist Curtis Dykstra.

The bird walk was taking place at Ottawa County’s North Beach Park in Ferrysburg.

“We had over 400 Baltimore orioles fly by (none sat still), along with 150-plus indigo buntings mixed with rose-breasted grosbeaks and scarlet tanagers,” Dykstra said.

There were also large numbers of American goldfinches and red-winged blackbirds.

Fourteen people viewed 47 species that morning, including Canada goose, wood duck, mallard, red-breasted merganser, double-crested cormorant, great blue heron, ring-billed gull, herring gull, ruby-throated hummingbird, several different woodpeckers, an Eastern wood-pewee and a bald eagle.

The full list viewed Wednesday morning can be seen here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45494541.

Ottawa County Parks’ next birding event is the Greenway Birding Blitz on Saturday, May 12. It will take place from 7-9 a.m. at Historic Ottawa Beach (West) and Holland State Park; 10-11:30 a.m. at Paw Paw Park (West); 12-1:30 p.m. at Paw Paw Park (East); and 2-4 p.m. at the Upper Macatawa Natural Area.

The next bird walk is 8-10 a.m. Wednesday, May 16, at Grand Ravines South at 3991 Fillmore St., east of 42nd Avenue

There is also a Big Day Birding Field Trip on May 18. The fee is $20. Registration is required.

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