Alpena-Montmorency County
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Birding Alpena-Montmorency County: Hotspots near Alpena & Atlanta

 

(A) Clear Lake State Park ★★

Stretching along two-thirds of Clear Lake’s shoreline, Clear Lake State Park is a quiet retreat for nature lovers. The park is especially beautiful during the fall when the leaves begin to change color. There are many activities for visitors to enjoy at Clear Lake, including a sandy swimming beach, disc golf course, and miles of trails. The biggest reason visitors come to Clear Lake State Park is to hear elk bellowing during the mating season. Evening and early morning are the best times to listen for the loud calls.

For birders, Clear Lake State Park is an excellent place to stay while searching for Michigan woodland specialties. Black-and-white Warblers and Golden-crowned Kinglets are especially common during migration. Visitors arriving early in the year should check the headquarter feeders for nuthatches and Evening Grosbeaks.

Website: michigan.gov/clearlake | Map: Click here
Phone: (989) 785-4388
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

 

(B) Fletcher Pond ★

Famous for hosting the second largest Osprey colony in the Midwest, the best way to see the nests at Fletcher Pond is from a boat. Sergey Postupalsky, a scientist from Wisconsin, has been researching the ospreys for more than 45 years. Birders visiting the pond during the summer months may be fortunate enough to see Common Loons, Great-blue Herons, and Bald Eagles.

Directions: Click here

Great Blue HeronGreat Blue Heron

 

(C) Partridge Point ★

Located on the tip of a peninsula jutting out into Lake Huron, Partridge Point provides visitors with great views of Squaw Bay. The protected waters harbor scoters, mergansers, and other ducks during the spring and fall. Be careful when driving out to the point—the trail can be impassable at times. The brushy area near the tip is the best place to look for birds. During the winter, Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings, and other northern specialties can sometimes be found hunkering down in the bushes.

Directions: Click here

 

(D) Alpena County Fairgrounds ★

Located on the edge of a large tributary of the Thunder Bay River, Alpena County Fairgrounds is an excellent birding hotspot. Birds commonly found near the fairgrounds include Mute Swans, Great Egrets, and Green Herons.

Website: alpenacounty.org/fairgrounds.html | Map: Click here
Directions: Click here

(E) Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary ★★

Combining Island Park, Duck Park, and Cow Island, Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary’s triplex of nature preserves is a must-visit for any birders driving through the Alpena area. Duck Park is the sanctuary’s highlight, featuring 1,200 feet of frontage on the Thunder Bay River. The parks provide nesting habitat for many kinds of wetland birds, including Great Blue Herons, American Bitterns, and Belted Kingfishers.

Website: goo.gl/wJZ8Os
Directions: Click here

Hooded MerganserHooded Merganser

 

(F) LaMarre Park ★★

During the wintertime, the dam next to LaMarre Park is one of the few places with open water, forming an excellent hotspot to search for Common Goldeneyes, Hooded Mergansers, Bufflehead, and other species of waterfowl. The 16-mile long Alpena Bi-Path traverses the park, providing access to the dam and several other birding areas alongside the Thunder Bay River.

Directions: Click here

 

(G) LaFarge Quarry ★

The LaFarge Quarry is a good place to search for grassland bird species. Search the fence posts for Eastern Meadowlarks, Dicksissels, and Grasshopper Sparrows, which nest in the area. Merlins, Rough-legged Hawks, and Red-tailed Hawks are also sometimes present. Be sure to park as far off the road as possible, and watch out for the large trucks which frequently drive past.

Directions: Click here

 

(H) Isaacson Bay ★

Interspersed by wetlands, Isaacson Bay is a shallow body of water with an exposed sandy bottom. The mud flats create excellent feeding grounds for sandpipers and other shorebirds. The bay is also a good place to look for gull species. Watch for Bald Eagles, which can occasionally be seen soaring overhead. When driving to the sanctuary on Misery Bay Road, visitors will pass by several birding spots on the right.

Directions: Click here

Isaacson BayIsaacson Bay

 

(I) Alpena Township Nature Preserve ★★

Heavily wooded, Alpena Township Nature Preserve provides excellent nesting habitat for a variety of songbirds, including American Redstarts and Black-throated Green Warblers. The preserve features an organized network of hiking trails.

Located next to Misery Bay and El Cajon Bay, the 133-acre preserve is an excellent place to look for wading birds. The nearby waters are shallow enough to provide a large number of shorebirds with adequate food during migration. On the preserve’s land, there is a large sinkhole that visitors might be interested in viewing. The only place to park a vehicle is alongside the road; be sure to avoid blocking the driveways of adjacent homes.

Map: Click here
Directions: Click here

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