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Birding Gratiot County: Hotspots near Alma

 

(A) Forest Hill Nature Area ★★

Forest Hill Nature Area offers guests 90 acres of forest, ponds, wetlands, open fields, and willow thickets to explore. There are many walking trails located throughout the nature preserve’s rolling hills, and an old cemetery on the nature area’s south side.

Throughout the warm months, many types of songbirds can be found happily singing on the grassy slopes. Eastern Bluebirds, Yellow Warblers, and Song Sparrows are especially common.

Map: Click here
Directions: Click here

 

(B) St. Louis River Park ★

St. Louis River Park is a small residential park located next to the Pine River. The Pine River is one of the first places to thaw in the spring, making it a good place to find migrating ducks. Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, and Common Goldeneyes are usually the first waterfowl species to make an appearance.

Directions: Click here

(C) Pine River Park ★★

Pine River Park is a nature preserve with several trails following the Pine River west from the parking area. From the park, the river appears more like a lake because of the nearby dam. There are several boardwalk overlooks present for birders to set up their scopes and search for ducks. Hooded Mergansers and Buffleheads are especially common during the springtime.

After walking alongside the river, birders can explore a small forest with a number of large trees, many of which have toppled over because of a violent storm a decade ago. The park is a favorite place for local residents, who enjoy feeding Mallards during lunch break.

Directions: Click here

 

(D) Ithaca Sewage (Restricted Access) ★

The Ithaca Sewage Ponds lie between a mobile home park, US-127, and a train track. Many kinds of ducks, geese, swans and shorebirds can be seen at the sewage ponds. At the sewage pond entrance on the northwest corner, there is a gate and a sign warning against trespassing. Be sure to request permission from city officials before attempting to bird the area.

Phone: (989) 875-3200
Directions: Click here

 

(E) Maple River State Game Area ★★★

Maple River State Game Area is a popular waterfowl hunting spot covering three counties. There is a parking lot on the east side of US-127 with a trail leading to an observation deck and a great view of the swamp.

Another good birding area is Unit A, which contains a walking path on a raised dike. This creates an excellent spot for birders to use their scopes for observing ducks and sandpipers feeding in the Maple River floodplain.

Website: goo.gl/y571AM | Map: Click here
Directions: Click here