Cheboygan-Presque Isle County
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Birding Cheboygan-Presque Isle County: Hotspots near Cheboygan

 

(A) Mill Creek State Historic Park ★★

Mill Creek State Historic Park is a 625-acre nature preserve that provides a home for many kinds of animals within its boundaries, including beavers, deer, grouse, woodcock, owls, and songbirds. The park’s staff occasionally presents history programs.

Heavily forested Mill Creek Historic Park features 3.5 miles of hiking trails. The Sugar Shack Forest Trail is a good place to search the trees for Barred and Great-horned Owls. Birds known to nest in the park include Ovenbirds, Veery, American Redstarts, and Black-throated Green Warblers.

Website: goo.gl/3klvcZ
Fees: Adults are $7.50 each, children ages 6 to 17 are $4.50 each, and kids ages 5 and under can visit for free.
Directions: Click here

 

(B) Gordon Turner Park ★★

Created in memory of a famous journalist, Gordon Turner Park is a wonderful tribute to the memory of Cheboygan’s local legend. The nature preserve is a beautiful place to visit. Birders will enjoy watching the sparkling blue waters the Cheboygan River flow into Lake Huron.

There are many amenities available for visitors to enjoy, including volleyball nets, a large playground, a boardwalk leading to protected wetlands, and a jetty providing protection from the waves. Nearby, several lighthouses stand tall against the sea and provide excellent photo opportunities.

The highlight of Gordon Turner Park is a collection of endangered freshwater wetlands, where birders can watch Ospreys soar overhead as they search for fish. Common Mergansers can easily be found swimming through the cattail marshes. During migration, look for sandpipers on the beach. Also do not forget to search the brush alongside the shoreline for migrating songbirds.

Directions: Click here

 

(C) Cheboygan State Park ★★

Covering 4.5 miles of pristine, Lake Huron shoreline, Cheboygan State Park is a throwback to what Michigan’s beaches used to look like one hundred years ago. Even though the park is largely undeveloped, there are many amenities available, including modern campsites, rustic cabins, and tepees. One of the best birding hotspots in the park is the campground. Leave the vehicle behind and walk through the brush while searching for sparrows and songbirds. Some birders may even be lucky enough to see an owl. In the past, scientists banded several kinds of owls at Cheboygan State Park, including Northern Saw-whet and Boreal.

Website: michigan.gov/cheboygan | Map: Click here
Phone: (231) 627-2811
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

Cheboygan State ParkCheboygan State Park

 

(D) Black Mountain Forest Recreation Area ★★

Walking under the majestic white pines of Black Mountain Forest Recreation Area is an incredible experience. Unfortunately, avian activity can be hard to find because of the dense forest. Bird species commonly seen include White-breasted Nuthatches, Great-horned Owls, and Blue Jays. Be sure to check Black Lake for migrating waterfowl, and the woods near the shoreline for warblers and flycatchers.

Visitors will enjoy walking on one of the many trails leading through the woods. Recreational enthusiasts also use the pathways for cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

Website: goo.gl/fB8uWs | Map: Click here
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

Great-horned OwlGreat-horned Owl

(E) P.H. Hoeft State Park ★★

Featuring 300 acres of forest and a mile of lakeshore, Hoeft State Park has enough land to host many kinds of nesting birds. Bald Eagles, Wilson’s Snipes, and Sandhill Cranes all frequently breed within the park’s boundaries.

P.H. Hoeft State Park has a large campground, picnic shelter, and paved hiking trails. One activity that birders will enjoy is walking the trails while searching the brush for warblers. Visitors should be aware that the excessive snow sometimes closes the roads during the winter. Spring can be exceptionally muddy, so birders should bring waterproof footwear.

Website: michigan.gov/hoeft | Map: Click here
Phone: (989) 734-2543
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

Common TernCommon Tern

 

(F) Tomahawk Wildlife Flooding Area ★★

Visitors to Tomahawk Wildlife Flooding Area may feel as if they were teleported to the far north. The area’s nutrient-poor soil and cold temperatures help to keep the forest populated with Jack Pines and other northern trees. This coniferous combination gives the area a north woods feel while creating optimal habitat for Red-breasted Nuthatches, Ravens, and other birds. A large population of deer help to keep the meadows clear, where birders can search for bluebirds and swallows. One of the best ways to experience the flooding area is from a boat. By paddling a canoe through the marshes, birders can see nesting loons and eagles.

Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

Red-breasted NuthatchRed-breasted Nuthatch

 

(G) Hagensville Road Marsh ★

Hagensville Road Marsh is a large swamp located on the east side of Hagensville Road. Birders visiting the swamp should look for Great Blue Herons, American Bitterns, and American Coots. Many songbird species also live in the wetlands.

Directions: Click here

 

(H) Thompsons Harbor State Park ★★

Wild and undeveloped, Thompsons Harbor State Park lacks developed facilities, but makes up for it by providing 6 miles of trails for visitors to enjoy. Snow buildup usually makes the park's roads inaccessible during the wintertime.

Positioned a short distance to the south, Presque Isle Harbor is another birding hotspot that birders may wish to visit. The sheltered cove protects resting waterfowl from the crashing waves.

Website: michigan.gov/thompsonsharbor | Map: Click here
Phone: (231) 627-9011
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

 

(I) Presque Isle Harbor Marina ★

Presque Isle Harbor Marina is a good place for birders to set up their spotting scopes and scan the harbor for waterfowl. One of the area’s highlights is a walkway on top of a rocky pier which juts into Presque Isle Harbor, where an overlook deck provides birders with an excellent spot to scan for waterfowl and other birds.

Directions: Click here

 

(J) Emily Min Hunt Audubon Preserve ★★

Composed of a mature, hardwood forest, Emily Min Hunt Audubon Preserve is a good place to search for nesting warblers. The 438-acre sanctuary features a hiking trail and an old apple orchard. Managed by the Thunder Bay Audubon Society, the preserve contains a number of birdhouses, which support a large population of Eastern Bluebirds.

The entrance to the preserve is hidden and blocked with a gate. Birders will have to park alongside the road.

Directions: Click here

Eastern BluebirdEastern Bluebird

 

(K) Besser Natural Area ★★

Covered with a mixture of white pine, cedar, spruce, and birch forest, Besser Natural Area showcases over 4,000 feet of Lake Huron’s shoreline. The lake’s gravel beach is one of the 134-acre preserve’s interesting attractions. Another one of the park’s highlights is a one-mile footpath leading to Bell, an old, forgotten village that still has a few buildings standing.

Map: Click here
Directions: Click here