Ingham County
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Birding Ingham County: Hotspots southeast of Lansing

 

(A) Moores Park ★

Situated next to the Grand River, Moores Park is a pleasant place to visit. A dam close to the historic park presents birders with an excellent spot to search for waterfowl.

Directions: Click here

 

(B) Mt. Hope Cemetery ★

The terrain at Mt. Hope Cemetery comprises planted bushes and trees, creating a good place to search for migrating songbirds. Every year, the Genesee Valley Audubon Society leads bird tours at the cemetery. A Townsend’s Solitaire was spotted in 2013.

Directions: Click here

Townsend's SolitaireTownsend's Solitaire

 

(C) Carl G. Fenner Nature Center ★★

Carl G. Fenner Nature Center offers 4 miles of trails, a butterfly and herb garden, and a nature center with natural history exhibits. The preserve covers 120 acres of mostly woodland habitat. Birders should keep their eyes and ears alert for House Wrens, thrushes, and many species of woodland warblers that migrate through the nature preserve. Northern Waterthrushes are common locally and can often be seen hopping in the underbrush. Birders might be excited to know that many kinds of owls live at Carl G. Fenner Nature Center. Evening walks provide a great opportunity to hear a Barred Owl or Great Horned Owl.

Website: mynaturecenter.org | MapClick here
Phone: (517) 483-4224
Hours: The Visitor Center is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. It is closed on Monday and on Holidays. The Explore Store is open Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.
Directions: Click here

Barred OwlBarred Owl

 

(D) Hawk Island & Scott Woods Park ★★

Adjacent to each other, Hawk Island County Park and Scott Woods Park feature a small lake, wooded area, and a splash park. Several trails wind through the forest, providing birders with an opportunity to search for vireos, thrushes, and accipiters.

MapClick here
Hours: Hawk Island County Park opens a half-hour before sunrise and closes a half-hour after sunset
Fees: $3 for residents and $5 for non-residents
Directions: Click here

 

(E) Valhalla Park ★★

Valhalla Park is a 45-acre nature preserve consisting of woodlands, fields, a pond, and a lake. The park offers many recreational activities in the summer and winter, and its beach is an especially attractive destination. Be sure to arrive early to search for gulls, shorebirds, and waterfowl. There are restrooms available at Valhalla Park.

Directions: Click here

(F) Michigan State University Ponds ★

Dubbed the “MSU ponds” by local birders, the lagoons harbor migrating swallows, ducks, and terns. Unfortunately, fences surround the ponds, so the birds have to be viewed through a scope from the road. Many rarities have been sighted at the ponds, including a Ruff and a Ross’ Goose. Common species easily seen during the warm months are Black Terns and Eastern Meadowlarks. If it is an irruption year for Snowy Owls, drive around the local countryside and examine barn roofs and telephone poles.

Directions: Click here

Ross' GooseRoss' Goose

 

(G) Baker Woodlot ★★

Protecting 78 acres of forest, Baker Woodlot is a part of Michigan State University’s campus. There are several walking trails available (bicycles prohibited), where birders can search for Willow Flycatchers and other forest birds. Be sure to park as far off the road as possible.

Directions: Click here

 

(H) Lake Lansing Park South ★

The largest body of water in the vicinity of the state capitol, Lake Lansing is the best local birding spot to see migrating gulls, terns, and waterfowl. Birders visiting during the summer should plan to arrive early in the morning since a steady stream of boats later in the day frightens the birds.

MapClick here
Hours: The park opens a half-hour before sunrise to pedestrians and at 8am to vehicles.
Fees: $3 for residents and $5 for non-residents
Directions: Click here

 

(I) Lake Lansing Park North ★★

Covering over 500 acres of natural recreation area, Lake Lansing Park North has plenty of woods and trails for visitors to enjoy. The habitat consists of fields, pine forest, marshlands, oak woods, and maple forest. There are over 5 miles of trails for birders to explore, including a 2.4 loop hike with interpretive signs and a boardwalk. Unfortunately, a boat launch is the only way visitors can access the water. Birders looking for ducks should visit the lake’s southern park instead.

A popular destination for recreational enthusiasts, Lake Lansing Park North has a number of amenities available, including a winter warming lodge for cross-country skiers, playgrounds, picnic areas, and shelters.

Hours: The park opens one half hour before sunrise for pedestrians and at 8AM for vehicles, and closes one half hour after sunset.
Fees: $3 for residents and $5 for non-residents
Directions: Click here

 

(J) Harris Nature Center & Legg Park ★★

Directly facing each other on Atta Road, these two nature areas are worth checking for woodland species. Legg Park is best birded in early May when hundreds of warblers pass through its foliage. Visitors may want to skip birding this hotspot if it has been rainy in recent days—many of the trails can become submerged after a heavy precipitation. Both the park and nature center offer good chances of seeing a Louisiana Waterthrush.

Website: hncfoundation.org | MapClick here
Phone: (517) 349-3866
Hours: The trails are open from open from dawn to dusk. The nature center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm, and on Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.
Directions: Click here

Louisiana WaterthrushLouisiana Waterthrush

 

(K) Williamstown Community Park ★★

Williamstown Community Park comprises a large grassland bordered by the Red River on its north side. Over 80 species of birds have been sighted at the park, including Snow Geese, Northern Bobwhites, and Golden Eagles.

Directions: Click here