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Birding Monroe County: Hotspots near Monroe

 

(A) Pointe Mouillee State Game Area ★★★

Occupying a spit of land that juts into Lake Erie near the mouth of the Huron River, Pointe Mouillee State Game Area is one of the largest freshwater marsh restoration projects in the world. The result of a gigantic earth-moving, dike-building project, the state game area now protects river bayous, marshes, and wetlands.

While the wetland dikes are useful for walking on during birding expeditions, be aware that traffic from maintenance and construction vehicles continues throughout the year. Pointe Mouillee State Game Area is closed for duck hunting from September 1 to December 1.

The best way to bird Pointe Mouillee is via mountain bike. This enables visitors to cover more ground and see more birds. Almost annually, birders spot Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Tri-colored Herons, Cattle Egrets, Lark Sparrows, and other rarities. The state game area one of Michigan's best summer birding spots.

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

Yellow-headed BlackbirdYellow-headed Blackbird

 

(B) Point Aux Peaux State Wildlife Area ★★

Located next to Brest Bay and Stony Point, Point Aux Peaux State Wildlife Area protects 187 acres of wetlands. The preserve is a popular destination for migrating waterfowl and cranes. No parking areas are available—birders will have to leave their cars on the side of the road.

Map: Click here
Directions: Click here

 

(C) Sterling State Park ★

Sterling State Park is famous for being the last place in Michigan where Barn Owls nested. Birders may not be able to see the owls anymore, but due to a mixture of marsh and woodland habitat, many songbird species can be sighted instead. Be sure to walk the excellent Marshview Nature Trail to see as many as 20 different warbler species during spring migration. Do not forget to check the nearby lagoons for shorebirds.

Website: michigan.gov/sterling | Map: Click here
Phone: (734) 289-2715
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

Black-and-White WarblerBlack-and-White Warbler

 

(D) Monroe Harbor and Power Plant ★

Because of the warm water it discharges, Monroe Power Plant is an excellent birding hotspot. Flocks of ducks and gulls can be found near the plant during the cold months, and every year, several dozen bald eagles winter in the area. The power plant strictly enforces security, so do not point a camera or spotting scope at the buildings. Access is only permitted from April 1 to October 31.

Directions: Click here

 

(E) Bolles Harbor of Refuge ★

A large parking lot next to a marina provides birders with access to Bolles Harbor of Refuge and La Plaisance Bay. The harbor is a good place to check for gulls, terns, and ducks.

Directions: Click here

Northern ShovelerNorthern Shoveler

 

(F) Luna Pier Jetty ★

Luna Pier Jetty juts out into Lake Erie, creating an excellent viewpoint for watching migrating swans, grebes, loons, and diving ducks. Occasionally scoters and Long-tailed Ducks can be seen.

Directions: Click here

 

(G) Whiting Power Plant ★★

Positioned next to Lake Erie, Whiting Power Plant has several large ponds and fields on its property which attract hundreds of migrating waterfowl every year. The best time to visit is during the winter and early spring, when other bodies of water remain frozen. The warm water flowing out of the power plant creates an ice-free haven where many species of ducks frequently congregate. The plant is also a good place to search for gulls and sandpipers. Over 165 species of birds have been sighted at Whiting Power Plant.

Directions: Click here

 

(H) Erie Marsh Nature Preserve ★★

A large coastal wetland, Erie Marsh Nature Preserve is a popular stopover for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl. Over 300 different kinds of birds have been sighted on these wetlands. The park is closed September 1 to December 15 for hunting season.

In late December, many birders brave the cold weather for the Christmas bird count. In January and February, numerous kinds of ducks can be seen at Erie Marsh Nature Preserve. If the weather is unusually cold, try checking Sulfur Pond (which usually does not freeze over) for waterfowl.

Directions: Click here

 

(I) Halfway Creek Boat Launch ★

Halfway Creek Boat Launch provides birders with a convenient place to scan North Maumee Bay for waterfowl. North of the boat launch, there is a large wetland where Black Terns and Purple Martins can sometimes be seen.

Directions: Click here

Black TernBlack Tern

 

(J) Petersburg State Game Area ★★

Petersburg State Game Area is a good spot to search for migrating warblers and other songbirds during the spring. Botany enthusiasts will enjoy looking at the many kinds of flowers and butterflies. One birding spot is at a pullout on Lulu Road—drive 0.7 of a mile west of Summerfield Road to reach the parking area. Walk down the nearby trail and look for Willow Flycatchers, Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, Great Crested Flycatchers, and Eastern Wood-Pewees.

Map: Click here
Directions: Click here