Sunday, June 16, 2013
Northern Lower Michigan
After leaving the Kirtland's Warbler area we drove straight west to Lake Michigan through Traverse City then north along the West End of Grand Traverse Bay all the way to the lighthouse at Leelanau State Park. This peninsula is directly across from Door County in Wisconsin and very similar with it's Cherry Orchards, vineyards, and quaint tourist oriented villages. This beautiful Yellow Lady's Slipper was one of the many woodland flowers here.
The Red-eyed Vireos are one of the most abundant birds in the area. We found this one at Wild Cherry Resort RV park in the center of the peninsula.
We drove south to Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore with it's 500+ foot sand dunes that plunge steeply into Lake Michigan. Taking the Pierce Stocking scenic drive, we stopped at the 12 marked overlooks and natural areas on this narrow, one-way tour.
We have been seeing many White-tailed deer and quite a few fawns, but this one was the most interesting. This doe wandered into a Red-winged Blackbird's territory and was being ridden "out of Dodge" (literally right on her head).
We found a newly opened RV campground east of Mancelona. We were the only ones there except for the many 13-lined Ground Squirrels (Gophers), one with a burrow on our site.
At Burt Lake State Park we found families of Red Squirrels. This baby is one of 5 in a small cavity in a white cedar.
Speaking of squirrels, all through Lower Michigan we have seen Black Squirrels but they were almost impossible to get a good photo of. Finally at Burt Lake State Park we found one that stayed still long enough to get a picture.
We took an evening drive through narrow, winding sand roads through the Pigeon River State Forest hoping for a glimpse of the elk in the area. No luck! But there were many birds including this Common Yellowthroat near the beaver dam area. However, we were not expecting foot deep flooded roads to ford, which we did.
Drawn back to the beach, we stayed at Petoskey State Park for a couple days enjoying the sun and waves. We also went to Thorne Swift Nature Center near Harbor Springs for a nice walk through the balsam and cedars. Came close to a Chickadee nest and dad carrying 3 caterpillars to feed his young.
We went to Cheboygan State Park and into the forest roads nearby. As we stopped to listen for warblers, right next to us, perched on a spotted alder was this beautiful Broad-winged Hawk.
On our way to Mackinaw City we had driven through the "Tunnel of Trees" along Lake Michigan, a 20 mile scenic road from Harbor Springs to Cross Village.
At Wilderness State Park we found many warblers singing and this Blue Flag (wild iris) growing in the wet ditches.
Sunrise over the Straits of Mackinaw, a real blessing to start our day and to say farewell to Lower Michigan.
Ready to become U-pers!
Best Regards to all.
Ty & Ida Baumann