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 Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • Tuesday, October 31, 2023 8:07 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Haehnle Sanctuary & USFWS Crane Count 10/30/2023
    by Don Henise

    A brisk cold evening closed out the October counts at Phyllis Haehnle  Sanctuary. We even had a snow shower cross over the marsh at one point.  The number of Sandhill Cranes using the sanctuary for night roosting remains on the low side, but numbers were up just a bit from Last week.  A count of 97 cranes were tallied flying into Mud Lake Marsh for the night with another 147 counted as flybys.

    (Don Henise)

    Gary found the season's first Rough-legged Hawk working over the marsh. It was in view most of the evening either perched on a snag or flying around hunting, often hovering over the marsh and fen to the northwest of the overlook. Bald Eagles were prevalent throughout the evening as well, with at least 8 individuals being seen. There were three adults, at least two 1st year birds and three 2nd year birds. Three of the young birds circled directly overhead together.

    Bald Eagle(Haliaeetus leucocephalus)(Don Henise)

    Total Cranes Roosting:  97
    Counters: Robyn Henise, Gary Siegrist
    Compiled by: Don Henise
    Complete eBird checklist:

    Editor's note:

    In addition to the count at Haehnle, ( JAS members participated in area counts for the USFWS.
    Ron Hoffman & Steve Jerant counted 120 cranes roosting at the Schumacher Marsh near the Waterloo Farm Museum on Waterloo Munith Road.

    Ross Green and Lathe Claflin reported the night's high of 198 cranes at marshland just north of the Haehnle Sanctuary.

  • Monday, October 23, 2023 10:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Haehnle Sanctuary Crane Count 10/23/2023
    by Don Henise

    Sandhill Cranes came into Mud Lake Marsh at Haehnle Sanctuary tonight but in slightly smaller numbers than last week. A count of 77 cranes came in for the night.

    (Don Henise)

    The trees surrounding the marsh were showing nice color which was especially striking as the sun lowered behind us. A total of 44 bird species were recorded during our count. While scoping the marsh for waterfowl, Ross had a Northern Shrike fly through his view. It landed at the top of the tall maples to the right of the overlook giving us all a nice scope view before it flew off again.  A Red-shouldered Hawk, 2 Adult Bale Eagles, several Northern Harriers and a Merlin were the raptor highlights of the evening. A variety of waterfowl continue to be observed out in Mud Lake.

    White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) (Don Henise)

    Complete eBird checklist:

    Total Cranes Roosting: 77
    Counters: Robyn Henise, Gary Siegrist, Ross Green
    Compiled by: Don Henise

  • Tuesday, October 17, 2023 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We had a relaxing walk through Portage Lake State Park this morning.  It was cool, but it is October, and it transitioned form overcast to just short of partly cloudy.  The lake was not very busy, and only a lone Ruddy Duck stood out against the usual suspects of Canada Goose, Mallard, and Pie-billed Grebe.

    (Gary Mason)

    We got the scope out, though and got a good look at the Bald Eagle across the lake but could not nail down the buteo that was near him.  But the Cooper's Hawk was more cooperative and gave us two flyovers.

    (Steve Jerant)

    Near the swimming beach, a pair of cranes were getting some quiet time at the park, but we scared them off.  Gary mason was ready and got some great action shots.

    (Gary Mason)

    (Gary Mason)

    The woods and shrub were much more productive than the water and we were busy with kinglets and sparrows.  We got both Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-throated and -crowned Sparrow, and a single hard to find Brown Creeper.  

    See if you can find one on those little guys in this shot by Gary.  But don't eat those berries!

    (Gary Mason)

    Our complete trip list is available on this eBird Checklist

    And the color was beautiful!  Thanks, Gary for the great pics.

    (Gary Mason)

  • Tuesday, October 17, 2023 7:06 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Haehnle Sanctuary Crane Count 10/16/2023
    by Don Henise

    It appears that some Sandhill Cranes have finally moved in from the north. A count of 122 roosting Sandhill Cranes was recorded for Mud Lake Marsh in Haehnle Sanctuary Monday evening. Another 300+ Cranes were counted as flybys, most of those landing in the property to the northwest of the Sanctuary.

    (Don Henise)

    Other highlights of the evening were ducks including Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Gadwal, Blue-winged Teal, Wood Duck,  and Ring-necked Duck. Five species of woodpecker were recorded including a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

    eBird checklist:

    Total Cranes Roosting: 122

    Counters: Robyn Henise & Ross Green

    Compiled by: Don Henise

  • Tuesday, October 10, 2023 6:59 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Haehnle Sanctuary Crane Count 10/09/2023 by Don Henise

    There was quite a contrast in the weather from last week to this one. No one was in shorts or shirt sleeves tonight. A brisk wind blowing with temps in the low 50s at the start and dropping into the 40s by sunset.  Of course, there were no mosquitoes to contend with either.

    (Steve Jerant)

    Tonight's highlights were raptors. A pair of adult Bald Eagles were harassing the waterfowl out in Mud Lake. A stunning silver male Northern Harrier appeared late in the evening adding to the couple of immature harriers that had been working the marsh all afternoon. Several Sharp-shinned Hawks flew over the lookout throughout the count.

    Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) (Don Henise)

    Ducks flushed by the eagles included Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon and several American Black Ducks. Earlier in the afternoon an Eastern Meadowlark sat atop one of the apple trees near the lower benches for a while and a lone Purple Finch made a brief appearance. Sandhill Crane numbers continued to be lackluster with only 10 remaining in the marsh at sunset.

    Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) (Don Henise)

    Counters: Steve Jerant, Gary Siegrist, Robyn Henise, Ross Green

    Compiler: Don Henise

    eBird Checklist:

    Total Cranes Roosting - 10

  • Tuesday, October 03, 2023 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The Jackson Audubon Club travelled down south to Hillsdale County this morning to visit Leaf and Feather Farm.   Owners Sydney and John gave us a tour of their property. They shared their vision of a nature-centric B&B out in the country.

    John & Sydney (Steve Jerant)

    We started the walk with a flyover of a Great Blue Heron.  The property has some old woods, drains, and views to wetland and fields. 

    The trees and underbrush were nice with oaks, hickories, black cherry, spicebush, and muscle wood. 

    (Steve Jerant)

    The birding was good. Highlights included Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk, and a few warblers. 

    Red-headed Woodpecker-Melanerpes erythrocephalus (Mike Bowen)

    We’re looking forward to more visits in different seasons and watch the realization of Sydney & John’s dream.

    Our trip eBird list contains the species observed.  

  • Monday, October 02, 2023 11:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Haehnle Sanctuary Crane Count 10/02/2023
    by Don Henise

    It was a seasonally warm afternoon and evening for our Monday Crane Count at Haehnle Sanctuary. It was pleasantly warm enough for short sleeves and short pants until the mosquitoes forced us to cover up.

    Only Seven Sandhill Cranes remained in Mud Lake Marsh for the night.  Just before dusk, many ducks began flying into the marsh - mostly Mallards and Wood Ducks, but also a few Blue-winged Teal and our first of the season American Wigeons. A Merlin rocketed out of the marsh and up over the observation hill earlier in the evening. Robyn found a Lincoln's Sparrow behind us near the overlook. Large flocks of Red-winged blackbirds are beginning to roost in the marsh and several flocks wooshed right overhead on their way in.

    Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

    With the warm weather, there were lots of Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies around the prairie along with many Clouded and Orange Sulphur butterflies, a few Monarchs and a Viceroy or two.

    Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum)

    eBird checklist:

    Total Cranes Roosting - 7
    Crane Counters - Robyn Henise and Steve Jerant
    Compiler - Don Henise
    Photos-Don Henise

  • Monday, October 02, 2023 11:51 AM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Jackson Audubon and the Haehnle Sanctuary lost a longtime supporter on September 21 when Joan passed away.  She served on the Haehnle Committee for many years.  Here are some memories from our members:

    Helena Robinovitz:

    Joan will always be in my memory with her incredible voice of warmth and fun. She was always graciously hosting the Haehnle Committee members with chips & pop & pizza & delicious homemade desserts. Joan was a trained & remarkable botanist which she put to use in helping identify many native plants at the sanctuary. She left her gentle mark on the land & in our hearts.

    Allen King:

    Being a student of Ron's, I've known Joan since they got married.  As I recall, Art Carpenter (and others I don't recall), a professor at Eastern Michigan where Joan did some teaching, got Ron and Joan together (blind date).  Art and his sons came each year to our Christmas Bird Counts.  The matchmaking worked.  I recall Ron talking about taking Joan on a date on the back roads of the Waterloo area and listening to a whip-poor-will.  Shortly after their daughter was born, I came by their house and Ron was in the yard hanging up cloth baby diapers.  Joan was recovering from a rough delivery, so Ron was doing a lot of chores while she recovered.  Joan was a great wife and mother.  She was so supportive.  Joan encouraged Amy in many interests including violin and they saw their daughter become an electrical engineer for General Motors.  That kind of surprised me, with Joan and Ron so involved in biology and nature.  For almost 50 years now, every time I see a black cherry tree I would think of Joan because she taught me a good way to identify it was by calling it the burnt potato chip bark tree.  I also taught this memory aid to my students or groups I had on nature walks.  Yes, she was knowledgeable about local history and early on she explained to me how to do rubbings of old faded gravestones to reveal who was buried. The many Christmas bird counts we went on, Joan wasn't able to go with us as she and Amy had to go to St. Jacob's Lutheran Church to rehearse for the Christmas Eve service.  Of course, Amy played the violin on these holy nights.  The many sanctuary meetings we had at the Hoffman's house were sure to have Joan's fresh baked cookies.  When they had a wood burning stove in the basement, many years back, you might hear the sound of Joan tossing in more logs to keep the fire burning.  God bless Ron for the love and care he has shown Joan in these last years of her life.  She was a special lady. 

    Sandy Leffler:

    I remember Joan as a knowledgeable, warm, and gentle lady. I met her around 2007 when she contacted my organization to sponsor a replacement bronze plaque that had been stolen from “The Boulder” on Bunkerhill Road.  This marked the site where John Batteese Bernard built the first Indian trading post in Jackson County.  Doug and I went to the Hoffman home to collect Joan’s research papers on the trading post.  Joan invited us into a room where we looked out on the bird feeders and she told us the Juncos were just coming back for the winter.  Many were at the feeders.  She loved the history surrounding the area of their home.

    Joan Hoffman and Harold Wing

    Her memorial service will be at her beloved St. Jacob Lutheran Church on October 28.  More information is available at the Mitchell Funeral Home.

    Memorial contributions may be made to:

    * St. Jacob Lutheran Church

    * The Leslie Area Historical Society

    * Alzheimer's Association

  • Monday, September 25, 2023 11:30 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The highlight was the Sedge Wren seen in the transition area to the left of the apple trees. Only 4 cranes landed in the marsh to roost.

    Counters: Ross Green, Gary Siegrist, & Don Henise

    Compiler: Don Henise

    Total crane count was 4

    Species count:  32

    View eBird checklist at

    Photos by Don Henise

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2023 4:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We had a great walk along the blue and red trails at MacCready Preserve this morning.  Twelve members came along for the tour including Joann who has rejoined the group after being off for a while. It was wonderful to have her back  again-for the whole 2.64 miles of walking we did!

    (Steve Jerant)

    The Don & Robyn scouted some Swainson's Thrush yesterday and we were able to hear their calls very clearly and see them-- just not as clearly.  

    (Brenda Wineman)

    In addition to our target bird for the day, we had a very welcoming Turkey Vulture greeted us in the parking lot,  some Wood Ducks perching and a group of  Red-breasted Nuthatches, and three warblers.  While the last three of us were getting ready to leave, we heard the unmistakable call from the Red-shouldered hawk and saw it soaring high above the property. 

    Along with pretty good birding MacCready offered up some nice plants including the fruiting Jack-in-the-Pulpit

    (Brenda Wineman)

    Our trip post is available on eBird at

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