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Wildlife Encounters

Ranger Steve

By Ranger Steve Mueller


Knowing when and where to explore outdoors increases the opportunity for seeing wildlife. There are many opportunities where you can see birds, butterflies, wildflowers or different types of wild creatures in natural habitats. Exploration encounters might be two-hour ventures, several hours, or even weekend events. 

Mark dates on your calendar and plan ahead to participate with guides that will help you find, see, and hear wildlife. Bird, flower, and butterfly field outings are suggested.

Butterfly Counts

3 July 2020 (Fri) 9:00 a.m. Allegan Butterfly Count – Allegan Co. Leader: Ronda Spink. Meet at the Allegan State Game Area, Fennville Farm Unit, 6013 118th Ave, Fennville (butterflynetwork@naturecenter.org)

11 July 2020 (Sat) 9:00 a.m. Rogue River Butterfly Count – Kent Co. Leader: Ranger Steve (Mueller) Meet at Long Lake County Park south of 17 Mile on the east side at the beach parking area. odybrook@chartermi.net 

15 July 2020 (Wed) 9:00 a.m. Greater Muskegon Butterfly Ct – Muskegon Co. Leader: Dennis Dunlap. Meet on Mill Iron Road from M-46 (Apple Ave.) east of Muskegon at second set of power lines that cross the road north of MacArthur Road. dunlapmd@charter.net. 

17 July 2020 (Fri) 9:00 a.m. Newaygo County – Manistee National Forest Butterfly Count. Leaders: Ronda Spink and Ranger Steve (Mueller). Meet at Leppink’s Grocery parking lot at the corner of M 82 & M 37 in Newaygo. butterflynetwork@naturecenter.org or odybrook@chartermi.net)

Contact leaders to sign up or for additional details. Rain day alternates will likely be the next day. Sign up with Ranger Steve at Odybrook@chartermi.net so unexpected changes can be shared. There is a $3 charge to participate.

Wildflower Discovery

22 – 25 May 2020 Michigan Botanical Club Spring Foray in Onaway, Michigan. For Memorial Day Weekend, join for three days with a wide variety of field trips led by Michigan’s premier botanists that focus of various groups of plants. Lodging, meals, and field trips are scheduled. Camping is usually an option to keep expense low. Details and registration will soon be posted online at Michigan Botanical Club Website. 

Aman Park is owned by the City of Grand Rapids. 0-1859 Lake Michigan Dr NW, Grand Rapids 49534. It is located west of Grand Rapids before Grand Valley State University. A wonderfully rich array of flowers will be found along trails at the end of April and in May. Google the park to see trail maps. 

Bird Watching

One of the best birding opportunities for close views of about 100 species is at Tawas Point State Park on Lake Huron during the Tawas Birding Festival from May 15-17, 2020. Guided field trips help with viewing and identification of about 20 species of wood warblers on a walk along the park’s peninsula while encountering many other species. Field trips include car-pool/bus destinations in Iosco County. Participants can expect to see Eastern Whippoorwills, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Trumpeter Swans, migrating warblers, Bobolinks, and Scarlet Tanagers.  Some field trips focus on the unique Kirtland’s Warbler’s nature niche and habitat. Mid May is peak migration.

A variety of birding field trips are available in the Grand Rapids area. One is held weekly at Millennium Park. Others are led at Reed’s Lake, area marshes, and in State Game Areas. Visit the Grand Rapids Audubon website (www.graud.org) for details listed in the Caller Newsletter.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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