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Birding Marquette County: Hotspots near Ishpeming & Marquette


(A) Van Riper SP and Peshekee Grade ★★

Showcased by a beautiful sandy beach on a half-mile of Lake Michigamme’s shore, Van Riper State Park is a great place to camp and enjoy the peacefulness of the north woods. The park has plenty of habitat for birders to explore, including 1.5 miles alongside the Peshekee River. A short walk may even reward lucky visitors with an amazing sighting of a majestic moose! The park is a good place to see Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, and other northern birds. A network of trails starts just a short distance west of the park entrance.

After birding Van Riper State Park, drive northwest on US-41 and turn right to drive north on Co Road 607. This area, known as Peshekee Grade, features some of the best boreal birding habitat in the Upper Peninsula. Examine the top of tall spruce trees for Boreal Chickadees. Crossbills, Spruce Grouse, and other northern specialties are all possible sightings at Peshekee Grade.

Website: | Map: Click here
Phone: (906) 339-4461
Fees: Recreation Passport required ($11 resident, $31.10 non-resident)
Directions: Click here

Evening GrosbeakEvening Grosbeak


(B) Greenwood Reservoir ★★

Highlighted by a rugged north woods appeal, Greenwood Reservoir is a good place to see some of the Upper Peninsula’s bird specialties. The pine forest surrounding the reservoir provides finches, grosbeaks, and crossbills with plenty of food and nesting habitat. In the lake, diving ducks can sometimes be seen submerging.

Black-backed Woodpeckers are another specialty that can be found in the woods surrounding Greenwood Reservoir. The uncommon birds have a large range, and are not easy to find.

Directions: Click here

Red CrossbillRed Crossbill


(C) Gwinn Sewage Ponds ★

The Gwinn Sewage Ponds consist of three separate lagoons surrounded by pine forest. To the west of the ponds, there is a small river, accessible from Co Road Ey. The lagoons are visible from the road, providing birders with an opportunity to search for sandpipers and ducks.

Directions: Click here


(D) Wetmore Pond Trail ★★

The Wetmore Pond Trail provides birders with access to several ponds and bluffs, and a chance to see boreal bird species. Gray Jays, Boreal Chickadees, Spruce Grouse, and Black-backed Woodpeckers are all possible sightings. Wetmore Pond has several loop trails to walk on, leading visitors up to overlooks and through rugged rock outcroppings. The trails were updated with a newly constructed boardwalk in 2011. During migration, ducks and geese can be found congregating on the pond.

Directions: Click here


(E) Presque Isle Park ★★

Hailed a “recreational crown jewel” by the city of Marquette, Little Presque Isle has something to offer for everyone. There are playgrounds, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and restrooms available. The 323-acre peninsula juts out into Lake Superior, providing many photographic opportunities. The island serves as a refuge for a large herd of deer, some of which are albino.

The main birding attraction of Presque Isle Park is a short, two-mile nature trail which encircles Presque Isle Point and offers birders a chance to search for waterfowl and sandpipers. The park also hosts a large number of warblers during spring migration, due to its brushy habitat. Another place birders will want to visit before leaving is Moosewood Nature Center.

Just before reaching the park, look for signs to Presque Isle Park Bog Walk. Even though the trail is only 0.25 of a mile in length, it is well worth a visit—large numbers of songbirds can be found in the spring and fall.

Phone: (906) 228-0460
Directions: Click here

Golden-crowned KingletGolden-crowned Kinglet


(F) Dead River Mouth ★

A parking area next to the mouth of the Dead River provides birders with a convenient place to search for birds. Long-tailed Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Loons have been sighted on both the river and nearby Lake Superior.

Directions: Click here


(G) Shiras Park & Picnic Rocks ★

Infamous as the site of over a dozen drownings in the past 50 years, the waters near Shiras Park and Picnic Rocks are known for their strong current. The beach at Picnic Rocks is a good place to find rare species of gulls, including Glaucous, Iceland, and Slaty-backed. Bald Eagles, Red-necked Grebes, and many other species of waterfowl are possible sightings.

Shiras Park features many facilities and amenities, including restrooms, picnic tables, and drinking fountains. There is even a large playground with a serpent monster built from tires.

Directions: Click here


(H) Ellwood Mattson Lower Harbor Park ★

Ellwood Mattson Lower Harbor Park provides birders with a good place to search the bay for waterfowl. A rocky pier shelters the harbor, creating a convenient spot for Double-crested Cormorants and other birds to congregate.

Directions: Click here


(I) Founder's Landing ★

Founder's Landing provides birders with a scenic spot to access Lake Superior's pebbled shoreline. A long, rocky pier next to the landing shelters the bay from rough storms. Red-breasted Mergansers and Long-tailed Ducks are regularly sighted during spring and fall migration.

Directions: Click here


(J) South Beach Park ★

South Beach Park is a convenient place to set up a spotting scope and scan Lake Superior for ducks. The mouth of the Carp River, located directly south of the park, can be a great place to search for migrating shorebirds in May and August. During the fall of 2002, a Brant spent several weeks at the park.

Directions: Click here



(K) Lake LeVasseur & Wetlands ★

Surrounded by pine trees, Lake LeVasseur Access provides birders with a good place to scan the 190-acre lake for American Black Ducks and other waterfowl. A short distance away, LeVasseur Creek flows out of the lake. A half-mile southwest of the lake access entrance, there is wetland habitat on both sides of County Rd Bi (46.4775, -87.2212).

Directions: Click here