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Birding Huron County: Hotspots near the Tip of Michigan's Thumb

 

(A) Sebewaing Sewage (Restricted Access) ★

Composed of five large ponds, Sebewaing Sewage Lagoons often host many species of ducks as well as both kinds of yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers. While permission is required for direct access, birders will be able to drive close enough to view the ponds.

Directions: Click here

 

(B) Sumac Island Boat Launch ★

Sumac Island Boat Launch provides birders with access to a small bay. The shallow water and wetland areas next to the boat launch create a good place to look for Least Sandpipers and other wading birds. There are rustic restrooms available.

Directions: Click here

Least SandpiperLeast Sandpiper

 

(C) Pigeon Road Wetlands ★

Located next to Lake Huron, the Pigeon Road Wetlands are a short distance away from Wild Fowl Bay State Park. Look for Black Terns and Swamp Sparrows.

Directions: Click here

 

(D) Wallace Stone Quarry & Lake ★

Wallace Stone Quarry is a large digging operation that has kept busy since the late 1800s. Many antique tools are on display in a building registered with the Michigan Historical Society. Visitors to the quarry should search the lake for waterfowl and sandpipers from the road. No parking lots are available.

Directions: Click here

 

(E) Bay Port Fishing Access ★

Bay Port Fishing Access provides birders with a good spot to scan Wild Fowl Bay for ducks, loons, and scoters.

Directions: Click here

 

(F) Filion Road Fishing Access ★

Filion Road Access point provides birders with a place to scan Wild Fowl Bay with their spotting scopes. The trees near the bay are a good place to scan for migrating songbirds, including sparrows, warblers, and vireos.

Directions: Click here

 

(G) Sand Point Nature Preserve ★★

Protecting one of the Great Lakes’ critically important coastal habitats, Sand Point Nature Preserve features 216 acres of forest, ponds, wetlands, and fields. Six different trails, which traverse through five miles of the preserve's terrain, are available for birders to hike on.

Hosting a large variety of bird species, Sand Point’s most spectacular residents are Bald Eagles, which can easily be seen during the spring and summer. Other species that call the preserve home are Sandhill Cranes, Wood Ducks, and Great Blue Herons.

Website: sblc-mi.org/sand-point-nature-preserve
Hours: The preserve is open from 9am to 4:30pm, all year around
Fees: $5 per car, except on Thursdays, which are free
Directions: Click here

Bald EagleBald Eagle

 

(H) Sand Point Tip (Restricted Access) ★

The tip of Sand Point provides birders with a good place to check Lake Huron for gulls, terns, and waterfowl. The point lies next to the northern side of Wild Fowl Bay, and is the site of a private residential neighborhood.

Directions: Click here

 

(I) Caseville Beach County Park ★

Caseville Beach County Park is known for its beautiful sandy beaches bordering Lake Huron. The 40-acre park features a large campground with over 130 campsites, half of which have full hook-ups. On the south side of the park, there is a long fishing pier, giving birders a place to walk onto and setup their scope. Common Terns, Caspian Terns, and Greater Black-backed Gulls are all common sightings at Caseville Beach County Park.

Website: goo.gl/o4C4Jd | MapClick here
Phone: (989) 856-2080
Directions: Click here

Caspian TernCaspian Tern

 

(J) Albert Sleeper State Park ★★

Covering 723 acres of shoreline, Albert Sleeper State Park provides access to Saginaw Bay. There are many trails leading throughout the dune forest at Albert Sleeper State Park. After a day of hiking, birders may wish to stay at one of the park’s campgrounds and enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that can be seen from the park’s position on the tip of the thumb.

A large variety of birds can be sighted at Albert Sleeper State Park. Caspian Terns, which are the largest of Michigan’s terns, regularly make an appearance. Other common birds include Herring Gulls and Ospreys.

Website: goo.gl/UvOt9R | MapClick here
Directions: Click here

 

(K) Rush Lake Access ★

Bordered by wetlands, Rush Lake Access provides birders with an opportunity to scan 100-acre Rush Lake for Redheads and other kinds of ducks.
Directions: Click here

RedheadRedhead

 

(L) Oak Beach County Park ★

Oak Beach County Park is a 46-acre nature preserve on the edge of Lake Huron. The park is a good place for birders to stop and search for diving ducks and other waterfowl.

MapClick here
Directions: Click here

 

(M) Huron County Nature Center ★★

Huron County Nature Center is a heavily wooded, 280-acre preserve that contains a wilderness arboretum. The nature center offers guests modern facilities, including handicap-accessible trails, restrooms, and a pavilion. The wooded habitat surrounding the nature center ranges from pine to oak, with sandy ridges interspersed periodically.

Some of the bird species that can be found in season include Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Wood Pewees, Eastern Phoebes, and Downy Woodpeckers.

Website: huronnaturecenter.org
Directions: Click here

(N) Port Crescent State Park ★★

An attractive birding spot, Port Crescent State Park’s combination of sand dunes, grasslands, and lake shore ensure that migrating birds stay for a while. The best time for birders to visit the park is during the last couple weeks of April, when 5,000 hawks can be seen soaring overhead at the hawkwatch platform. Commonly sighted species include Cooper’s Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, and Red-tailed Hawks.

If a visit during hawk migration is not convenient, there are many other species of birds to see at Port Crescent State Park. Glaucous Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls periodically visit the park until early May. Summertime warmth brings Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Yellow-throated Vireos, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, which come to nest in the park’s deciduous forests.

Website: michigan.gov/portcrescent | MapClick here
Phone: (989) 738-8663
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

 Great Black-backed GullGreat Black-backed Gull

 

(O) Port Austin Harbor ★

A walkway on Port Austin's breakwater pier provides birders with a closeup view of waterfowl in the harbor. Nearly every duck species native to Michigan can be sighted in the harbor during the spring months. All three scoters are a possibility, as well as Greater White-fronted Geese, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Red-necked Grebes.

Directions: Click here

 

(P) Eagle Bay Public Access ★

Eagle Bay Public Access provides birders with a spot to search the large marsh on the edge of Eagle Bay for American Bitterns and other birds. Dense forest lies behind the access point.

Directions: Click here

 

(Q) Lighthouse County Park ★★

Showcasing the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse, Lighthouse County Park is a place both history buffs and birders can appreciate. Much of the 120-acre park is wooded, creating diversity of habitat and providing shelter for 110 campsites. The lakeshore park's beaches are rocky, proving more hospitable to sandpipers than swimmers.

Birders report seeing over 170 birds at Lighthouse County Park. During the wintertime, many northern species visit the park, including Red Crossbills, Snow Buntings, Bohemian Waxwings, and Northern Shrikes.

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

Bohemian WaxwingBohemian Waxwing

 

(R) Whiskey Harbor Access ★

Whiskey Harbor Access provides birders with a good spot to search Lake Huron for waterfowl. Birders have reported sighting over 70 species of birds near the access point, which has wetlands and wooded areas next to it.

Directions: Click here

 

(S) Stafford County Park ★★

Located in the “Little Town with the Big Welcome”—Port Hope, Stafford County Park invites visitors to stay overnight with 73 campsites and 6 cabins. The 38-acre park features rocky beaches and a small forest, providing a good amount of habitat diversity for birders to search. Visitors may find anything from migrating warblers to diving ducks offshore.

Website: goo.gl/Ze5dnU | MapClick here
Directions: Click here

 

(T) Waterworks Park ★

Waterworks Park provides birders with access to a man-made harbor created by breakwalls in Lake Huron. In the winter, fall, and spring, there are often dozens of ducks, geese, and swans sheltering in the harbor. In the winter, sometimes a Snowy Owl can be seen sitting on the break wall.

Directions: Click here

Snowy OwlSnowy Owl

 

(U) Trescott Street Pier ★

Trescott Street Pier gives birders access to a protected harbor that shelters ducks during storms. There is a long pier available for visitors to walk onto during calm weather.

Directions: Click here

 

(V) Wagener County Park ★★

Wagener County Park is one of the few parks on the edge of Lake Huron with a mature forest. Many species of breeding warblers nest near the lake, including Black-and-white Warblers, Mourning Warblers, and Canada Warblers. The 132-acre park is also a prime location for spotting waterbirds on Lake Huron—Red-breasted Mergansers and Common Loons can often be seen from the rocky shoreline.

Website: huroncountyparks.com/wagener-county-park | MapClick here
Hours: The park is open from dawn to dusk. Birders may encounter more people during camping season, which lasts from the middle of May through October 15.
Directions: Click here

Canada WarblerCanada Warbler

 

(W) White Rock Roadside Park ★

Positioned a short distance offshore, White Rock is one of Lake Huron’s most famous water landmarks. For a short time, the rock signified territory given to the United States by Indian tribes in 1807.

The open waters surrounding White Rock are a good place to search for Long-tailed Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers, and other diving anatidae. Many kinds of sandpipers can be found on the shoreline during migration. Forest covers the remainder of the park’s terrain.

Directions: Click here

 

(X) Huron County Airport ★

Huron County Airport features a large grassland area visible from Nugent Road. During the summertime, the fields are a good place to find meadowlarks and other grassland birds. Once the weather turns cooler, Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs, and occasionally even a Snowy Owl can be seen on the airport’s grounds.

Directions: Click here

Lapland LongspurLapland Longspur

 

(Y) Richfield Landfill ★

Richfield Landfill is a large waste area bordering McTaggart Road and McMillan Road. Glaucous gulls are occasionally sighted among the large flocks of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls.

Directions: Click here