Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

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  • Monday, October 03, 2022 10:41 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Ross did an abbreviated count last week (09/26) in the rain, all by himself. He had only 3 cranes for his effort.

    This week, better weather brought out a full crew to count cranes at Haehnle Sanctuary.  The team counted 45 species.  The 41 Ross tabulated plus American Bittern & Blue-winged Teal seen by Don and 2 Bald Eagles & Turkey Vulture seen by Robyn.


    Crane counters:   Don & Robyn Henise, Mike Bowen & Ross Green
    Compiler:  Ross Green
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count: 19
    Species count:  45

    View Ross’s eBird checklist at https://ebird.org/checklist/S119930208


  • Tuesday, September 20, 2022 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Four members of JAS made the drive downriver today to take in the raptor migrations happening over the Detroit River from Canada.  The hot raptor today was the Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Our group saw probably 50 of these during our visit at the Erie Park boar launch area.  Volunteers there have their annual counting station setup and are available to identify raptors as they migrate through.  While the Broad-winged Hawks are generally plentiful this time of the year, our group only saw a few.

    As we usually do, some of us took a loop walk through the woods and wetland to see if we could observe some other species farther down the food chain.  There were large groups of Wood Ducks and Egrets in the park.  We got a few warblers, as well as other passerines and some more ducks.

    In addition to the raptors moving south there were lot and lots and lots and lots of Blue Jays running south.  I put in 500 into my eBird list but the counting team there posted over 10 time as many (http://hawkcount.org/285-2022-09-20).

    Our raptor species count was 10 for this trip.

    Species List:
    65 Canada Goose

    127 Wood Duck -- Large group (75) off trail coming out of boat launch area.

    4 Blue-winged Teal

    40 Mallard

    11 Pied-billed Grebe

    2 Mourning Dove

    1 Common Gallinule

    2 Sandhill Crane

    8 Killdeer

    2 Lesser Yellowlegs

    30 Ring-billed Gull

    1 Herring Gull

    1 Caspian Tern

    30 Double-crested Cormorant

    9 Great Blue Heron

    112 Great Egret -- Majority in wet area nearest entrance.

    6 Turkey Vulture

    1 Osprey

    8 Northern Harrier

    22 Sharp-shinned Hawk

    1 Cooper's Hawk

    2 Broad-winged Hawk

    1 Bald Eagle

    1 Belted Kingfisher

    2 Downy Woodpecker

    1 Northern Flicker

    7 American Kestrel

    5 Peregrine Falcon

    1 Merlin

    500 Blue Jay -- Many more, did not count

    1 Black-capped Chickadee

    1 White-breasted Nuthatch

    1 Carolina Wren

    9 American Robin

    3 American Goldfinch

    18 Red-winged Blackbird

    9 Common Grackle

    1 Common Yellowthroat

    1 Palm Warbler

    9 Yellow-rumped Warbler

    2 Nashville Warbler

    3 Northern Cardinal

    Number of Taxa: 42

    My eBird Checklist

  • Friday, September 09, 2022 10:48 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    From Marsi Darwin 09/09/2022

    See the Haehnle page for details, photos and any updates.

    Four beautiful artworks have been generously donated “to benefit the birds” and will be sold in a silent auction this fall.

    They are an acrylic painting of a vernal pond with Sandhill cranes by Toni Stevenson, a trio of leaf prints by R W Domm, a framed photograph of an oak in mist with black eyed susans, and a framed collage of four seasonal photographs by R W Domm.

    If you wish to bid on an item in our auction, please email your name and phone number to marsi@ChelseaDepot.com and a bidding number will be assigned to you.

    Each item will be lettered A, B, C and D and each will have a minimum starting bid.

    If you’d like to bid, simply email the letter of the item you want, your bidding number, and the amount you’d like to bid. A running tally will be kept until the auction goes live at the Chelsea Depot Artisans Show on Saturday, November 12, 2022, from 10-4, where the items will be on display and where visitors to the show may also sign up to bid.

    You may bid in person on November 12 on a bidding sheet at the show at the train depot, 125 Jackson St., Chelsea, or by emailing marsi@ChelseaDepot.com that day. Emails will be checked hourly. Any last minute bids must be received by 4 p.m. on November 12. Winning bidders will be notified by Sunday afternoon, November 13 and arrangements for payment and picking up artwork must be made at that time.


  • Thursday, September 01, 2022 12:21 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Lathe Claflin and I did an inventory of the grassland under development at Hahenle Sanctuary.  This section of the property is part of the Peter and Gwyneth Schroder Tract which was acquired in 2018.

    A USDA EQIP grant was started in 2018 and the section was planted in May, 2021.  The seed mix contained prairie grasses and forbes selected for their value as hosts for pollinator species.  Of the 24 plants that were seeded in 2021, we were able to find 14 specimens.

    Most of the prairie grasses were found as well as Aster, coneflowers and sunflowers.  I was pleased to find an Indian Hemp plant, which was not in the seed mix.

    List of plants found on survey

    Common Name

    Species Name

    Aster, New England

    Aster novae-angliae

    Big bluestem grass

    Andropogon gerardii

    Black-eyed Susan

    Rudbeckia hirta

    Coneflower, Purple

    Echinacea purpurea

    Coreopsis, Sand

    Coreopsis lanceolata, L. Var. lanceolata

    Evening Primrose (Common)

    Oenothera biennis

    False sunflower/
    Oxe-eyed Sunflower

    Heliopsis helianthoides

    Indian grass

    Sorghastrum nutans

    Little bluestem grass

    Schizachyrium scoparius

    Milkweed, Common

    Asclepias syriaca

    Partridge Pea

    Chamaecrista fasciculata

    Sunflower, Maximilian

    Helianthus maximiliani

    Switch grass

    Panicum virgatum

    Wild bergamot, Beebalm

    Monarda fistulosa

    Fleabane Daisy

    Erigeron strigosus

    Indian Hemp; Hemp Dogbane

    Apocynum cannabinum

    Ironweed, Common

    Veronia fasciculata

    Yarrow, White

    Achillea millefolium



    Maximilian Sunflower
    (Steve Jerant)

    Indian Grass(Steve Jerant)

    Oxe-eyed Sunflower(Steve Jerant)

    Indian Hemp
    (Steve Jerant)

  • Monday, August 22, 2022 2:03 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    From from Crystal Allis, President of Borderless Friends Forever:

    Hi everyone! We are excited to share with you a wonderful opportunity to share your passion regarding birds with an exchange student, or two! Omar and Carlos both need a host family to host them for the 2022/23 academic year program. Omar wants to be an exotic animal veterinarian and enjoys teaching his birds new tricks. Carlos has a pet falcon and enjoys teaching people about falconry. As a host family you will provide three meals a day, a place to sleep and study, some transportation, and loving parenting and guidance. The students have their own spending money and their own health insurance. If you are interested in learning more, please get in touch with the Executive Director to discuss. You can visit www.borderlessfriends.org to learn more about the organization. 

  • Saturday, August 20, 2022 9:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    A small group of JAS members braved the threatening rain predicted for the Monroe area for a trip to Pt. Mouillee.  This year's trip was a bit better than last year with lower water levels and lots of mud.

    The ponds were full of Killdeer, Great Blue Heron, and Great Egrets everywhere we drove.    We saw a single Snowy Egret in Unit 8 and lots of Black-crowned Hight Herons further on.  The ducks were not too varied, but we did find a good-sized raft of them in the Humphries Unit. 

    (Steve Jerant)

    As for shorebirds, we spotted only 9 species but did see a single immature Piping Plover, so it was worth the drive down.   The rain held for most of the day, but then we got hit a few times. Luckily, no lightning was spotted and the showers were fairly light and brief.


    (Steve Jerant) 

    Species List:

    4 Canada Goose

    13 Mute Swan

    50 Wood Duck

    9 Blue-winged Teal

    1050 Mallard -- About 1000 in Humphries unit

    40 Pied-billed Grebe

    6 Mourning Dove

    7 Common Gallinule

    10 Sandhill Crane

    2 Semipalmated Plover

    1 Piping Plover -- @Long pond, yellow leg, short black bill, distinctive walk.

    90 Killdeer

    12 Least Sandpiper

    2 Semipalmated Sandpiper

    4 Short-billed Dowitcher

    4 Spotted Sandpiper

    5 Greater Yellowlegs

    45 Lesser Yellowlegs

    30 Ring-billed Gull

    1 Herring Gull

    204 Caspian Tern -- 195 in humphries unit

    1 Common Tern

    50 Double-crested Cormorant

    14 American White Pelican

    95 Great Blue Heron

    140 Great Egret

    1 Snowy Egret -- Unit 8

    2 Green Heron

    7 Black-crowned Night-Heron

    2 Turkey Vulture

    5 Osprey

    7 Bald Eagle

    2 Red-tailed Hawk

    1 Belted Kingfisher

    1 Northern Flicker

    5 Eastern Kingbird

    1 Blue Jay

    1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow

    100 Tree Swallow

    30 Barn Swallow

    1 House Wren

    200 European Starling

    1 Gray Catbird

    2 American Robin

    3 American Goldfinch

    1 Chipping Sparrow

    2 Song Sparrow

    2000 Red-winged Blackbird

    6 Common Grackle

    Number of Taxa: 49

    eBird post

  • Monday, August 15, 2022 2:06 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    While the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) has not yet been spotted in Michigan, the DNR and EGLE are asking us to keep an eye out for it.  The sooner it is spotted the quicker mitigation efforts can be executed.

    See this DNR bulletin for more information.



  • Tuesday, August 09, 2022 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We had a beautiful day to walk the grassland, wetland, and forest habitats at the Riethmiller Rd. DNR property Tuesday morning.  The sky was blue and sparsely cloudy and the temperature was a mild low seventies.  Eight members of JAS walked the grasslands from the Riethmiller Rd. DNR parking lot.  The only good grassland species spotted and heard were some Sedge Wrens which we had along most of the east/west trail.  The wetland to the north had a good deal of Great Egrets moving about. 


    (Steve Jerant)

    The wetland habitat portion of the trip was a bit more productive.  There were about 3 pair of Green Herons seen and very much heard in the wet crossing on the trail.  The birds were moving about in the trees to the west.  We also heard the call of a Virginia Rail, but, not we did not see it.

    (Steve Jerant)

    From the wet land area we moved up into the forested Hoffman Trail.  There we got Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, among others. 

    (Steve Jerant)

    Species list:
    10 Canada Goose
    2 Trumpeter Swan
    4 Wood Duck
    3 Blue-winged Teal
    8 Mallard
    4 Mourning Dove
    1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
    1 Virginia Rail
    8 Sandhill Crane
    3 Killdeer
    1 Greater Yellowlegs
    4 Great Blue Heron
    9 Great Egret
    6 Green Heron
    6 Turkey Vulture
    1 Bald Eagle
    1 Red-shouldered Hawk -- Audible. Confirmed with Merlin
    1 Red-tailed Hawk
    1 Belted Kingfisher
    1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
    2 Downy Woodpecker
    2 Northern Flicker
    3 Eastern Wood-Pewee
    1 Eastern Phoebe
    1 Eastern Kingbird
    3 Blue Jay
    1 American Crow
    10 Tree Swallow
    6 Barn Swallow
    1 White-breasted Nuthatch
    1 House Wren
    4 Sedge Wren -- Audible
    35 European Starling
    3 Eastern Bluebird
    9 American Robin
    2 Cedar Waxwing
    9 American Goldfinch
    6 Field Sparrow
    1 Song Sparrow
    2 Swamp Sparrow
    2 Baltimore Oriole
    2 Red-winged Blackbird
    1 Common Grackle
    12 Common Yellowthroat
    1 Yellow Warbler
    3 Northern Cardinal
    1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

    Number of Taxa: 47

    eBird Checklist

  • Tuesday, July 26, 2022 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We had a beautiful sunny day for the Tuesday walk at Watkins Lake State Park/Washtenaw County Preserve. 

    Watkins Lake Washtenaw County Preserve

    Eight members of JAS started on the Washtenaw County side (east) for some good views of swallows working the field and perching on the high tension lines and towers.  We were able to observe 5 species of swallows.  It's so much easier when they're perched, especially one species next to another. There were lots of immatures as well, so the lines made an excellent study platform.

    The trail above the dam was productive as well,  yielding 2 Willow Flycatchers, a Brown Thrasher, a faint call from a Eastern Towhee from the woods above us, and a new clutch of Song Sparrows getting fed.

    Lynne took some pictures for us during the walk.


    (lynn Eckerle)

    (lynn Eckerle)

    (lynn Eckerle)

    (lynn Eckerle)

    (lynn Eckerle)

    Bird list for Watkins Lake County Preserve11 Canada Goose
    2 Mourning Dove
    3 Sandhill Crane
    6 Turkey Vulture
    1 Belted Kingfisher
    2 Northern Flicker
    2 Willow Flycatcher
    1 Eastern Phoebe
    1 Eastern Kingbird
    1 American Crow
    1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
    12 Purple Martin
    5 Tree Swallow
    10 Bank Swallow
    3 Barn Swallow
    3 House Wren
    1 Gray Catbird
    1 Brown Thrasher
    2 Eastern Bluebird
    4 American Goldfinch
    1 Eastern Towhee
    1 Red-winged Blackbird
    2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
    Number of Taxa: 23

    We did not go into the woods on this tour, but it is a wonderful loop walk that provides an excellent view of the area.  


    (Steve Jerant)

    Watkins Lake State Park

    After a quick break in the parking lot between the two parks we walked over to the high fields in search of some grassland species.   It took a while but we finally got a look at one of the several Henslow's Sparrows that we heard calling.  The Bobolinks we not that shy.  We hade one adult male in non-breeding plumage and lots of adult females and juveniles.

    We were happy to welcome Joann back for a tour with us today!

    Bird list for Watkins Lake SP
    2 Wood Duck
    5 Mourning Dove
    1 Great Blue Heron
    3 Turkey Vulture
    3 Red-tailed Hawk|
    3 Eastern Kingbird
    2 Barn Swallow
    2 Eastern Bluebird
    4 Cedar Waxwing
    7 American Goldfinch
    2 Field Sparrow
    3 Henslow's Sparrow
    12 Bobolink
    3 Common Yellowthroat
    Number of Taxa: 14

  • Friday, July 15, 2022 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Lime Lake Fen

    Trip Leader Gary Mason

    On this warm and partly cloudy day, fifteen nature enthusiasts from The Jackson Audubon and Michigan Botanical Societies joined Gary Mason (JAS) for an exploration of Lime Lake Fen – near Spring Arbor.  This area is located just off the Falling Waters Trail, between what are known to locals as South Lake and Third Lake (in the Lime Lake area). 


    (Steve Jerant)
    Gary reviewed the geology of the area and noted that Lime Lake is fed by two springs located on private property near the southeast shore.  The influx of water, derived from ice-contact formations, contributes abundant calcium carbonate to the basin which leads to marly conditions.  Apparently, due to the often-slick marly bottom, the lake is sometimes dubbed “Slime Lake”.  The marl in this basin was mined in the early 20th century to produce cement and for the fertilization of agricultural fields.  Visible in the shallows, was the algae Chara spp. (muskgrass), a native aquatic plant which thrives in alkaline (high pH) conditions. 

    The calcareous soil conditions offer an opportunity to view some unusual species of plants which is why the area is afforded some protection as part of the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department.  However, the habitat has suffered considerable degradation from the introduction of glossy buckthorn, and alterations to natural drainage patterns.  Recently, some invasive species removal has been performed, and there has been some restoration of pre-European settlement drainage patterns.

    With the confluence of birders, entomologists, and botanists, this outing was veritable bio-blitz!  Experts were pointing out and describing interesting features at every step along the way (including dragon flies!).  A list of plant species found is included in Table 1.  Among those are the unique and uncommon Blephilia ciliata (Ohio horse-mint) (Fig. 1), Carex crawei (sedge), and Rudbeckia fulgida (showy coneflower).  The paucity of peat (fibric substrate) and the dominance of the grasses Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem), Schizachyriuim scoparium (little bluestem), Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass), Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed), and Spartina pectinata (prairie cordgrass) led us to conclude that this zone, under the Michigan Natural Features Inventory classification, is an early successional prairie.  No matter, it is abundantly diverse, with the promise of many colorful asters and gentians this fall. 


    Figure 1.  Blephilia ciliata (Ohio horse-mint or downy pagoda-plant).  The blooming period occurs during early summer and lasts about a month.  Unlike a lot of mints, neither the flowers nor the leaves have a noticeable scent.  (T. Reznicek).

    PlantList.pdf

    Along the Falling Waters Trail, and in route to Lime Fen, we enjoyed seeing many species of birds, and we gave particular attention to Warbling Vireos feeding their young in the canopy of an Ulmus americana (American elm).  We saw Baltimore Orioles, and barn swallows working the lake for insects.  In all, we recorded 25 taxa of birds including:

    8 Mute Swan
    8 Mourning Dove
    4 Sandhill Crane
    1 Great Blue Heron
    1 Turkey Vulture
    1 Red-tailed Hawk
    2 Northern Flicker
    8 Eastern Kingbird
    5 Warbling Vireo
    6 Blue Jay
    10 Tree Swallow
    1 Barn Swallow
    1 House Wren
    3 Gray Catbird
    10 American Robin
    6 Cedar Waxwing
    4 House Sparrow
    5 American Goldfinch
    7 Song Sparrow
    2 Baltimore Oriole
    3 Red-winged Blackbird
    1 Common Grackle
    1 Yellow Warbler
    2 Northern Cardinal
    2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

    Many thanks to Gary Mason (JAS) for leading this trip, and to Steve Jerant (JAS) for organizing this trip.  Let’s return in the fall!

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