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Birding Ionia County: Hotspots near Ionia & Portland


(A) Belding Sewage (Restricted Access) ★

The Belding Sewage Lagoons consist of 4 large ponds and one tiny pond positioned on the north side of the Flat River. Over 90 kinds of birds have been seen at the ponds, including many kinds of ducks and sandpipers. Be sure to request permission before birding the area.

Directions: Click here



(B) Hartwell Wetlands ★★

The Hartwell Wetlands are a large marsh located on the western side of Ionia State Recreation Area. Nearly 100 kinds of birds have been recorded at the wetlands, including Sandhill Cranes and American Bitterns. From the parking area, visitors will need to walk south for nearly a half-mile through grassy fields and trees to reach the wetlands.

Directions: Click here


(C) Ionia State Recreation Area ★★

The terrain at Ionia State Recreation Area consists of babbling creeks, rolling hills, and forested ridges, which encircle a large, man-made lake. The 4,500-acre preserve is a popular camping destination during the summer months, when large crowds of people descend upon the recreation area. There are 100 modern campsites, 49 rustic campsites, and several cabins available to accommodate guests, who come to walk and bike on 12.5 miles of trails. Over 200 species of birds have been seen at Ionia State Recreation Area, including many kinds of ducks and warblers.

Website: | Map: Click here
Directions: Click here

(D) Ionia Sandstone Quarry ★★

Home to an old digging operation that closed many years ago, Ionia Sandstone Quarry now showcases beautiful spring-fed ponds where unsightly holes used to lay. Situated among the riparian woodlands near the Grand River, there are five ponds. Look for Wood Ducks and Mallards. Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats nest in the brush surrounding the ponds.

Directions: Click here

Yellow WarblerYellow Warbler


(E) David Highway Bridge ★

The bridge on Davis Highway provides birders with a convenient place to search the Grand River for ducks. Trees restrict viewing the river on the south side of the highway. On the north side, the Grand River is wider than some lakes, sometimes hosting large flocks of waterfowl.

Park on the north side of Davis Highway west of the bridge, near a dirt two-track. The drive leads to an old gravel pit. Be careful not to block the gate when parking.

Directions: Click here


(F) Portland Dam ★

Halting the flow of the Grand River, the Portland Dam provides a good spot to search for waterfowl and other bird species.

Directions: Click here

Green-winged TealGreen-winged Teal


(G) Lake Odessa Sewage (Rest. Access) ★

Lake Odessa Sewage Ponds is a collection of 5 large lagoons—one of which can be viewed from Harwood Road. During migration, many types of sandpipers and ducks can be sighted on the sewage ponds. Please request permission before attempting to search for birds.

Directions: Click here