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 Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • Tuesday, February 21, 2023 2:19 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We did not plan to repeat the venue of our last trip, but high winds in a mature forest is not a good combination for a safe birding trip.  So we returned to the Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park this morning.  In our last trip we walked from the Herb Amster trailhead southwest toward the prison property.  So today the ten of us walked northeast toward Munith.  

    (Steve Jerant)

    As we started the walk a huge group of about 300 Canada Goose came up from the wet area to the east and brough along about 40 Sandhill Crane with them.  Only three raptors were seen but we did see some Red-winged Blackbirds like our last trip.  It has been an odd winter for these normally migratory species.

    There was a good bit of mixed habitat with marsh, swamp, forest, and agricultural fields.  While we did not escape the windy conditions, there was good cover for most of the walk and we had a few snowflakes to remind us it's still February.  

    (Steve Jerant)

    The group walked about 1.3 miles to the intersection of Jordan Rd.  Half of the participants turned around but some of us checked out the sounds we were hearing across Jordan Rd.  A few more species were recorded and brought our trip list to 27.

    The trip list is available on eBird.

  • Tuesday, February 07, 2023 8:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    This was the first visit to the new section of the Lakelands Trail/Mike Levine State Park for the Jackson Audubon Society.  The extension goes from the trailhead at Hawkins Rd. and the Portage River southeast toward the correctional facility off Parnall Rd.  In the event that you were unsure that you were adjacent to restricted access land, bright red signs were posted conveniently on both sides of the trail, about 50 feet apart.

    This area has always been great for cranes, migrant songbirds and raptors.  So having a clear, level walking trail thought this area is fantastic.

    Twelve JAS members, include 4 new members, joined the tour this morning.  It was 30 degrees warmer than my scouting trip a few days before, but much more windy.

    (Steve Jerant)

    We had a good mix of habitat including hardwood forest, agricultural field, and small spots of marsh and swamp.  At the end of our walk, about 2 miles from the trailhead is a wide expanse of wet meadow area which gave us a wide view to search for raptors.  This is also a productive area for Short-eared Owl.

    (Brenda Wineman)

    And we did have a good day of raptors-seven total, including 4 Red-tailed Hawk, 3 Rough-legged Hawk, and 2 Bald Eagle.  A view to the south gave us a sight of some warmer weather birds with Turkey Vultures and gulls circling the warmth that is the McGill Landfill.  

    Our next tour will be the Hoffman Trail on 02/21.

    Trip eBird Checklist

  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023 8:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We enjoyed a sunny morning tour of MacCready Preserve on Skiff Lake Rd. this morning. So it was a bit cold, but the temperature continued to rise through our walk and soon broke into the double digits.

    While I'm usually not appreciative of Scotch (or Scotts) Pines, these specimens at the Preserve are good looking and the morning sun came in just perfect to highlight their orange bark.

    (Steve Jerant)

    (Steve Jerant)

    We got off to a slow start with the birds and the crisp fresh snow made for a very noisy walk, impairing our ability to hear.  A good size flock of American Robin (~50) were quite busy chowing down on several oriental bittersweet vines.  A lone Hermit Thrush was in their group and a few Cedar Waxwings were also enjoying the plentiful berries.

    One of my targets for the morning was a Yellow-bellied sapsucker.  Don was able to finally track him down in the north section of the property on the border trail.

    (Steve Jerant)

    We got three more woodpeckers and three hawks which were flying high above us.

    Our trip eBird list is available HERE

    Our next tour is on the Lakelands trail SP next next Tuesday. 

  • Tuesday, January 17, 2023 8:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Seven folks joined a tour of the Fay Lake Trail in Watkins Lake SP on Tuesday.  This  the old railroad grade is to the east of the park but is not connected.  It runs though wetland habitat including a very nice Tamarac swamp.

    Don Henise led the tour, and while we had a good turnout of birders,  the group did not get the winter birds they were hoping for.

    (Brenda Wineman)

    Don submitted the following eBird checklists. 

    Watkins Lake Park

    Fay Lake Trail

  • Monday, December 05, 2022 6:55 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We had a mild night for our last count of the season.  The open water in Mud Lake Marsh was partially frozen, but 59 cranes made it their home for the evening.  We observed 122 cranes from the overlook and Bill Wells counted 552 flyovers from the Wooster Rd. parking lot by the Portage River bridge parking lot.

    Eagle Lake also had some open water where nearly 20 Hooded Mergansers were seen.  Only 1 of the Belted Kingfishes we saw Tuesday remained. He was accompanied by 2 muskrats working the ice/water boundary.

    As we left the overlook for our final count a few coyotes barked some goodbyes to us from the north.  Nice ending to the season.

    Total crane count was 59.

    Crane counters:   Ross Green, Bill Wells, & Steve Jerant
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Species count:  11

    View eBird checklist at

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2022 9:39 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    I did my first official tour of the Sanctuary as the new manager for seven JAS members.  The weather was mild and the sun did come out in the 10 o'clock hour for about 10 minutes.  Although we had over 200 cranes come in last night, I only saw 2 and that was before the group arrived at 9.

    We toured the overlook area then walked the prairie path into the woods to Eagle Lake. We had some ducks and a surprising pair of Belted Kingfishers working the lake.

    The forest walk took us to the Unit #2 prairie where a bunch of Eastern Bluebirds were moving around noisily.   Gary Siegrist told the legend of Bogus Lake in the fen area that has recently been cleared of Glossy Buckthorn.

    John spotted a Ring Necked Pheasant below the apple trees, so that made for a nice finish.

    Some of the group went to lunch at Clear Lake Grill on Clear Lake Rd.

    eBird Checklist - 29 Nov 2022 - Haehnle Sanctuary - 18 species

    NOTE:  The next Tuesday tour is a new venue on the Lakelands Trail in the Hawkins/Dalton Rds. area.  I've rescheduled the 13 December tour at the Hoffman Trail to 21 February. 

  • Monday, November 28, 2022 8:15 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    It was a bit warmer than last week and the ice in the marsh has receded.  Six species of waterfowl were observed. A pair of Trumpeter Swans came over from Eagle Lake with their trumpets blaring and a nice orange sheen from the setting sun.   The cranes came in from the east and west and we had a few overflights above the observation hill.

    (Steve Jerant)

    Woodpeckers and raptors filled much of the remaining species list.

    I’m not sure if this will be our last count of the year. We’ll see how the weather and the flocks are this weekend.

    Total crane count was 241, with about 2,000 more to the west and north not counted.

    Crane counters:  Gary Siegrist & Steve Jerant
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Species count:  17

    View eBird checklist at

  • Monday, November 21, 2022 8:18 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    It wasn’t looking good tonight as we looked out on the snow covered marsh with the open water about 80% frozen.

    But then the cranes started to trickle in.  Three pioneers held out alone on the ice for what seemed like forever.  The first several groups looked a bit undecided, but they continued to circle and land on the ice with the others. 

    There were odd flight patterns that I’ve never seen before. Cranes came in from the west, then just as they approached Eagle lake they swung east, and then came in from the east.  Likely they were looking for another spot to land.  We also had lots of activity and landing near Eagle Lake and Ross reported a lot of ducks there as well.

    Total crane count was 1600, with many more to the west and north not counted.

    Crane counters:  Ross Green, Don Henise, Steve Jerant
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Species count:  18

    View Haehnle eBird checklist at

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2022 5:17 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Nine of us went on a morning tour of the Dahlem Center today.  There was light snow and just a bit of wind.  It was quiet and not a lot of bird activity but it's always a treat to walk the property, especially through the conifers in the winter.  

    Some of the group followed the outing with a lunch at Knights.

    (Steve Jerant)

    eBird Checklist

  • Monday, November 14, 2022 9:21 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Another great week of crane activity at the Sanctuary.  The count team, and we once again need a team to count them all, tallied 3,331 cranes staying in Mud Lake Marsh tonight.  And they estimated an additional 2,000-3,000 settling in locations north of the property.  Most of the traffic is still coming from the west.  I counted over 2K cranes from the Dalton/Hawkins Rds. area last night which were heading in the direction of Haehnle Sanctuary.

    (Steve Jerant)

    We had several nice overflights above the observation area and 3 small murmuration of blackbirds way out over the marsh.

    Two Mute Swan, likely displaced from the drained lake to our south, joined the 13 other species of varied waterbirds on our list this afternoon.  And Tundra Swans were heard above, but not seen.

    (Steve Jerant)

    The weather is starting to chill, but it was not too windy, so we stayed comfortable. 

    Greeters will continue to staff the overlook area on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of November. 

    (Steve Jerant)

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

    Species count:  39

    View Don’s eBird checklist at eBird Checklist - 14 Nov 2022 - Haehnle Sanctuary - 39 species

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