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 Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • 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 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).


    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!

  • Tuesday, June 21, 2022 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    JAS members visited the Whitehouse Nature Center in Albion this morning. Although it was a bit warm, we had lots of shade, mild breeze, and no mosquitos.  Dale Kennedy and Doug White, longtime members of Albion faculty and naturalists at this site, provided the tour.  There was a good mix of habitats, birds and plants for us to observe.  

    Dale and Doug have done a huge amount of nest box management and banding at the facility and they demonstrated banding of juvenile House Wrens.  Recently a new trail was dedicated to them for their work.

    Robert Ayote was very excited to find an ash tree that was not only in a vertical position, but was bearing seeds!

    Species List:

    9 Mallard

    1 Wild Turkey

    1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo

    1 Turkey Vulture

    1 Broad-winged Hawk

    1 Red-tailed Hawk

    3 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    1 Acadian Flycatcher

    1 Eastern Wood-Pewee

    1 Yellow-throated Vireo

    1 Red-eyed Vireo

    5 Blue Jay

    4 American Crow

    3 Tufted Titmouse

    30 Tree Swallow

    2 White-breasted Nuthatch

    4 House Wren

    2 Gray Catbird

    1 Eastern Bluebird

    3 Chipping Sparrow

    6 Field Sparrow

    2 Song Sparrow

    1 Swamp Sparrow

    3 Red-winged Blackbird

    1 Brown-headed Cowbird

    2 Common Grackle

    3 Common Yellowthroat

    3 American Redstart

    4 Yellow Warbler

    3 Northern Cardinal

    Number of Taxa: 29

  • Thursday, May 26, 2022 2:42 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Longtime JAS member Roy Dane has hit the trail!  The Pacific Cost Trail to be exact.  Follow updates of his progress and observations on his blog.

  • Tuesday, May 10, 2022 10:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    After a 2 year hiatus due to Covid-19, we had a trip back to Magee Marsh on Tuesday.  Six JAS members walked the boardwalk from east to west.  Some continued on to quick visits to the Crane Creek Estuary Trail at Magee and then to Metzger Marsh and Howard Marsh in search of the yellow-headed Blackbird.

    The marsh boardwalk had a pretty good showing of warblers.  We got 20 warblers and 5 vireos on our trip.  Brenda posted a shared list of the whole trip on eBird.   In addition the 74 birds on that list, others in the group counted trip birds for all day which added another 11 species, for an informal count of 85 species.

    There were a lot of Magnolia, Yellow and Chestnut-sided Warblers.
    Magnolia Warbler (Gary Mason)

    Chestnut-sided Warbler (Gary Mason)

    The Black-throated group were also well represented.

    Black-throated Blue Warbler (Gary Mason)

    Black-throated Green Warbler (Gary Mason)

    Cape May, Blackburnian, and a single Orange-crowned Warbler were observed as well

    Cape May Warbler (Gary Mason)

    But the big treat for the day was a sighting of a Mourning Warbler. It was a lifer for some in our group, and I expect for the few people that were watching it outside the west entrance to the boardwalk.

    MOWA watching crush (Steve Jerant)

    Mourning Warbler (Gary Mason)

    Eastern Screech Owl (Gary Mason)

    Baltimore Oriol (Gary Mason)

    Bald Eagle on nest near parking lot (Gary Mason)

  • Tuesday, May 03, 2022 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Six soggy souls toured the Kate Palmer Sanctuary on Tuesday.  The tour was led by the Sanctuary Steward, Alan King.  Alan lead us through both sides of the O'Brien Rd. bordered property, giving us the history of the Sanctuary as well as showing off the wildflowers in season.  Like our Nan Weston tour last week, the early spring weather is not making this a great year for our early wildflower.  The Trillium, which are usually in their glory about this time, were barely peeking out. The Trout Lilly were in bloom, but they were being very shy due to no sun and lots of rain.  

    The birds were hunkered down as well, with only a few warblers seen or heard.  Our one bit of sunshine was an unexpected Rusty Blackbird we tracked near the creek on the east side of the property.

    Species List:

    Wood Duck  2
    Red-tailed Hawk  1
    Belted Kingfisher  1
    Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
    Downy Woodpecker  1
    Northern Flicker  1
    American Crow  1
    Black-capped Chickadee  2
    Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
    White-breasted Nuthatch  1
    House Wren  2
    Carolina Wren  2
    Eastern Bluebird  1
    American Robin  3
    Red-winged Blackbird  3
    Rusty Blackbird  1    Audible
    Yellow Warbler  3
    Yellow-rumped Warbler  8

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