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Birding Roscommon County: Hotspots near Houghton Lake


(A) South Higgins Lake State Park ★★

Sandwiched between Higgins Lake and Marl Lake, South Higgins Lake State Park is heavily forested with maples, oaks, and pines. Birders visiting the 1,000-acre park during summertime may want to focus their attention on the habitat surrounding Marl Lake and the Cut River, as Higgins Lake can become quite crowded during the warmer months. The forest surrounding the lakes is an excellent place to look for Great-crested Flycatchers, Black-and-white Warblers, and other songbird species.

Website: | Map: Click here
Phone: (989) 821-6374
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

Black-and-White WarblerBlack-and-White Warbler


(B) Backus Creek Flooding ★

Backus Creek Flooding is a large wilderness area near Backus Lake that fills with water every spring. Both the flooding area and lake attract large numbers of migrating waterfowl during the spring. There are no facilities available.

Directions: Click here


(C) Denton Creek Flooding ★★

The Denton Creek Flooding area is located next to Crooked Road. To reach the wetlands, birders will have to hike west from the road through several hundred feet of forest. American Bitterns, Green Herons, and other wading birds can regularly be sighted. There are no facilities available.

Directions: Click here


(D) Prudenville Sewage Lagoons ★

Surrounded by forest, the Prudenville Sewage Lagoons consist of 5 large ponds. Many kinds of sandpipers have been spotted at the lagoons, including Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Solitary Sandpipers.

Directions: Click here


(E) Lost Twin Lakes Pathway ★★

Lost Twin Lakes Pathway features a three mile hiking trail that leads visitors through a mature pine forest, where Red-breasted Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees can easily be sighted. Several of the trail’s highlights include a covered bridge and scenic points overlooking the wetland areas.

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

Black-capped ChickadeeBlack-capped Chickadee


(F) Houghton Lake Sewage Lagoons ★

Known for hosting huge flocks of ducks every April, Houghton Lake Sewage Lagoons attracts even more birds when stormy weather strikes nearby Houghton Lake. Visitors are advised to use their car as a blind when watching the birds—exiting vehicles in an abrupt way may startle the ducks. Other birds regularly sighted include cranes and sandpipers, which rest and feed in the grassy fields directly south of the pond.

Directions: Click here


(G) Nellsville Road Boardwalk ★★

The Nellsville Road Boardwalk is a long, T-shaped walkway leading through a large wetland area. Many species of warblers and several kinds of rails have been sighted from the walkway, making the hotspot a must-visit for Michigan big-year listers. To access the boardwalk from Nellsville Road, make a sharp right turn onto a dirt two-track. Drive as far west as possible, then walk the rest of the way to the boardwalk.

Directions: Click here


(H) Houghton Lake Flats ★

Houghton Lake Flats is a large swamp that literally buzzes with bird activity every spring. Many ducks stop to rest during migration, and Ospreys can often be seen soaring overhead while searching for fish. There is a large Great Blue Heron rookery one mile north of the marsh. The best time to see the herons is in early April, when the birds keep busy by repairing their nests before breeding.

Directions: Click here

Great Blue HeronGreat Blue Heron


(I) Michelson's Landing ★

Michelson's Landing is a boat launch which provides birders with access to the Dead Stream Flooding Area. There is a lot of open water present, making the flooding area a great place to search for American Coots and other kinds of waterfowl. Birders have sighted over 110 species at the landing.