June 17 - Kirtland's Warbler
Kathy, the inn keeper, did a great job with a 6AM breakfast so we could depart at 630AM. Made the meeting spot in Grayling just in time for the 7AM briefing for the USFW tour of the nesting grounds of the Kirtland's Warbler. The friendly guide had the three cars caravan along the "4 Mile road" to the junction with Stephen Bridge Road where we turned west to a sand road running through the Jack Pine habitat which is so specific to the warbler. We immediately could hear the warbler singing but it took some effort due to the overcast and cool conditions to get us all a look at this so sought after target of North American species. My recent purchase of a laser pointer helped incredibly in getting people to quickly see the target. The warbler was actively feeding.
(not my photo - too bad!)
From here we went to Hartwick Pines State Park which had a wonderful visitors center and fine hardwood and hemlock forest. Birds included great looks at Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, and nesting Pileated Woodpecker.
Not too far away was Wakly Lake, east of Grayling. Nice walking trails along the lake with a loon pair and young.
We enjoyed a great dinner at our hotel; nicely done!