Antrim-Charlevoix County
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Birding Antrim-Charlevoix County: Hotspots near Boyne City & Torch Lake


(A) Fisherman’s Island State Park ★★

Formerly an island, Fisherman’s Island State Park transformed into a peninsula over the years because of Lake Michigan’s low water levels. The park is famous for its natural beauty. The colorful array of wildflowers which spring up every year are especially stunning. More relevant to birders, every year high numbers of migrating sandpipers and warblers visit the park.

Immediately after entering the park, turn right onto a small two-track road. The brushy habitat surrounding the road is an excellent spot to look for warblers and other songbirds. There is a campground with 80 rustic campsites available.

Website: | Map: Click here
Phone: (231) 547-6641
Directions: Click here

Fisherman's Island State ParkFisherman's Island State Park


(B) Barnes County Park ★★

Barnes County Park is a heavily wooded park located on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay. Elevated above the bay, conveniently placed stairs provide visitors with access to the water's edge. In the past, birders have recorded many forest species of birds at Barnes County Park, such as Brown Creepers, Red-eyed Vireos, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. There are many amenities available, including modern campsites, coin-operated showers, and two restrooms.

Website: | Map: Click here
Directions: Click here


(C) Elk Rapids Dam & Pier ★

The ice-free waters below the Elk Rapids Dam create an excellent place to watch diving ducks during the cold months. Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, and Common Mergansers are usually present, and recently a fortunate birder spotted a Barrow’s Goldeneye. Check the rocks around the pier for sandpipers.

Directions: Click here

Common MerganserCommon Merganser


(D) Elk Rapids Sewage (Restricted Access) ★

The Elk Rapids Sewage consist of 5 separate lagoons. Many kinds of sandpipers can be found at the edge of the ponds. Be sure to request permission before birding the area.

Directions: Click here

(E) Milton Township Park ★★

Located next to the 7,700-acre Elk Lake, Milton Township Park is a quiet place of refuge. The nature preserve provides visitors with picnic areas, pavilions, and a short trail, which leads through forest, open meadows, and a couple of small ponds. Look for Great Blue Herons and Wood Ducks resting amidst the peaceful setting.

Directions: Click here

Wood DuckWood Duck


(F) Grass River Natural Area ★★

Situated near scenic Torch Lake, Grass River Natural Area is a 1,140-acre preserve famous for its natural beauty. The preserve offers over 3 miles of boardwalks and trails leading through sedge meadows, cedar swamps, and wetland habitat. There are several observation decks providing birders with views of the river. Common Loons and Sandhill Cranes nest at Grass River Natural Area every year and are relatively easy to find.

Website: | Map: Click here
Phone: (231) 533-8314
Directions: Click here



(G) Golden Days Loon Preserve ★

Located on the northern arm of Lake Bellaire, Golden Days Loon Preserve is a thickly forested nature sanctuary. As a loon nursery, the park plays an important role in waterfowl conservation. Every year, two to three pairs of Common Loons nest within its boundaries.

When driving to the preserve from Bellair Highway, look for an old two-track on the left side of the road, and leave the vehicle at the roadside or drive in if possible. Another parking area is available at a boat launch on the southern end of Lewin Road.

Map: Click here
Directions: Click here

Common LoonCommon Loon


(H) Jordan River Pathway ★★

Featuring one of Michigan’s best trout streams as well as excellent habitat for nesting warblers, Jordan River Pathway is a prime wildlife watching destination. Located in the midst of the Jordan River Valley, the walkway contains two loop trails, both starting at the parking lot on Dead Man’s Hill. Red-shouldered Hawks can sometimes be seen flying overhead, and many species of flycatchers breed in the valley.

The valley covers 18,000 acres of forest, all owned by the state of Michigan. Highlighted by the presence of the Jordan River, the famous waterway was the first in Michigan to be designated a Wild and Scenic River. There are two state forest campgrounds in the area—Pinney Bridge and Graves Crossing.

Website: | Map: Click here
Directions: Click here


(I) Veterans Memorial Park ★

Birders visiting the popular Veteran's Memorial Park should plan to arrive early in the day before crowds of people arrive, causing the birds to leave. Throughout the year, many events take place at the park, the Morel Mushroom Festival being the most popular. With its prime location at the end of Lake Charlevoix, Veterans Memorial Park is a good place to search for ducks, terns, and gulls.

Directions: Click here