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Birding Schoolcraft County: Hotspots near Manistique

 

(A) Kingston Plains ★

Kingston Plains is a large preserve located north of Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Because of heavy logging and wildfires a century ago, the area has no old-growth forest. While the trees are slowly growing back, the plains are still a good place to find both Spruce Grouse and Sharp-tailed Grouse. Several places that local birders have had luck with in the past are Fox River Road, Taylor Dam Road, and Danaher Plains Road.

Many of these roads lead through Bullock Ranch, a DNR operated management area with Jack Pines and Red Pines growing amidst thousands of acres of brush. In the vast wilderness, Merlin, Gray Jays, and Pine Grosbeaks can be found. During the winter months, flocks of Bohemian Waxwings fly across the plains in search for food.

Directions: Click here

Pine GrosbeakPine Grosbeak

(B) Seney National Wildlife Refuge ★★★

The vast, untouched swamps of Seney National Wildlife Refuge make the sanctuary one of the best birding hotspots in Michigan. The park’s highlight is the Marshland Wildlife Drive—a seven mile tour which provides visitors with close-up views of the refuge’s avian residents. Great Blue Herons, Sandhill Cranes, American Bitterns, and Common Loons can easily be seen from the vehicle. Bald Eagle and Osprey nests are interspersed throughout the swamp. Look for signs indicating that a nest is near.

A century ago, Seney National Wildlife Refuge was burned by loggers who wanted to turn the wilderness into farmland. Fortunately, the swamp proved impossible to drain and the effort was abandoned. In 1935, the government established the refuge as a bird sanctuary. Today, the preserve covers 95,238 acres, making it one of the largest protected swamps in the lower 48 states.

Website: fws.gov/refuge/seney | Map: Click here
Phone: (906) 586-9851
Directions: Click here

American BitternAmerican Bittern

 

(C) Seul Choix Point ★

Seul Choix Point has an interesting curiosity—a bird house created as a replica of the local lighthouse. Originally built in 1893, the lighthouse now serves as a museum. Seul Choix Point is an excellent place to find migrant warblers that are resting after flying across Lake Michigan.

Website: greatlakelighthouse.com
Hours: The lighthouse is open from Memorial Day to the middle of October
Directions: Click here

 

(D) Manistique Boardwalk ★★

Traversing some of the Upper Peninsula’s prettiest scenery, Manistique Boardwalk takes visitors for a 1.83-mile walk alongside Lake Michigan, eventually reaching a lighthouse. Avoid walking out to the lighthouse during rough weather, when the water sometimes sweeps over the edge of the pier. The types of birds present at the boardwalk are limited by the lack of tree cover present—look for gulls, terns, ducks, and sandpipers.

Directions: Click here