Spring Backyard Visitor

This photo was taken in Tawas Township on 4/21 and submitted by Terry & Mary Baker.IMG_0058

“We rarely see shore birds at our pond, but this Green Heron came to steal some goldfish last Friday.

It was camouflaged in the wild grasses beyond our pond.  It stayed briefly.”

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M-55 Spring Road Cleanup


Greetings from sunny Sand Lake Road,

Gggrrrrr! I have found that the sun will only shine reliably thru Tuesday… after that it is cloudy and possibly rain as far as our weather predictor website goes, and on Tuesday there’d only be 5 to do the road clean up; which is not enough folks to do it right….so….

Rather than dodging rain drops and keeping the volunteers in suspense, I am going to cancel our M-55 Road Clean Up until the following  week, May 1-5, Monday thru Friday.  If you are interested in helping, please let me know which day or days work for you and we’ll try again!

Where:  M-55 and Sand Lake Road parking area. That is 12 miles west of US-23 intersection.  Only 5 miles east of M-65 intersection.

What: After a short safety review head out in teams in a high visibility vest to walk well off the highway for 1/2 mile, cross  M-55 and walk back.  Pick up trash as you walk. TaDa! Done. (Almost)

To be Totally DONE – Have a light lunch of some sort at Sue and Larry’s…. could be soups if it’s cool, may be sloppy joes if it’s warm.

Reminders – Bring gloves, wear a hat with a visor or sunglasses,  sturdy shoes or hiking boots are good as are ‘picker uppers’ if you have one!   A day or two prior, please be sure to view the safety video, even experienced helpers, at www.michigan.gov/adotablehighway

Reserve your spot by contacting smdunc@charter.net or call 989-701-5471 (c) or 362-2522 (h)  I will confirm your contact with me.  We’ll also keep our eyes on the weather map!

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April AVA Activities

Our April activities have been updated with dates and times. See our Upcoming Field Trips page for the details about the what, where, when of our Oscoda Salmon Projects outing and our spring kickoff of the M-55 road cleanup.

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2017 Kirtland’s Warbler Tour Information Is Now Available

Kirtland’s Warbler by Phil Odum of Oscoda

Kirtland’s Warbler by Phil Odum of Oscoda

In partnership with Huron Pines, Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance, U.S.
Forest Service, and Michigan Audubon, the AuSable Valley Audubon (AVA) Chapter conducts our second year of Kirtland’s Warbler tours in our most eastern section of the Huron National Forest called the Pine River Management Area (PRMA).

Please see our tour information page which is available under the Kirtland Warbler menu or this link.

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Mackinaw Raptor Fest Highlights

Grp-photo1 Nine of our AuSable Valley Audubon members attended the Mackinaw Raptor Fest in Mackinaw City on April 8.  The programs were varied and interesting, the dinner excellent. Even though the airline had cancelled the flight of the keynote speaker, he  was able to “attend” and deliver the presentation on Golden Eagles through modern technology!  Visits were made to Headlands Dark Sky Park to see Owl Banding and visit the beautiful new observatory which won the Pure Michigan award for this year. (The observatory telescope is expected to arrive soon.) On the return to Oscoda, some of us stopped at several of “Hotspots” on the Sunrise Coast Birding Trail. The weather smiled on the events as it was warm and sunny!Grp-photo2

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Don’t Forget – Tawas Point Birding Festival Is Coming Up In May!

The Tawas Point Birding Festival is coming soon, May 18 – May 20.

Join Michigan Audubon and AuSable Valley Audubon at Tawas Point for some of the best birding in Michigan. Loads of migrating birds, especially, but not only many varieties of warblers. Head over to Tawas Point Birding Festival at Michigan Audubon to get more information and to sign up. The speaker this year will be Joanna Eckles, the conservation program manager at Audubon Minnesota.

We are looking forward to another fantastic program and outstanding birding!

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Come and Join Us At Our April Meeting

The meeting will be at 7:00 p.m., April 11th at the Camp Inn Lodge, 3111 US-23, about two miles south of Oscoda.

Guests are welcome!  High School biology teacher Matt McDougall, in partnership with the Lake Huron Sports Fishing group, and sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, has directed the students in the raising, caring for and maintaining the salmon. Mr. McDougall’s power-point program will show the life cycle of salmon from eggs to hatching to smolt.

At the end of the school year, the students will release the salmon into a local watershed. We hope to see you there!

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Next AVA Meeting is April 11 at 7 P.M.

Schools were closed, snow plows were delayed in getting to side roads and  the wind was blowing, so we regretfully cancelled our Audubon meeting for Tuesday, March 14.

Our next meeting will be as scheduled, April 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Camp Inn Lodge on U.S. 23 just south of Oscoda. 

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Iosco County In Top Ten: Great Backyard Bird Count!

(The article was posted in the local Iosco County News-Herald and is presented here by permission of Peggy Ridgway)

Bird counters in Iosco County chalked up an impressive number of species during the 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) held Feb. 17-20. A total of 63 species were tallied.  That number ranked Iosco among the top ten counties with the highest number of species recorded  during the four day event . First in the state was Washtenaw county totaling 83 species, followed by Macomb & Ottawa with 77, Jackson 73, Berrien 71,  Kalamazoo and Monroe with 67, Oakland with 66, Branch with 65, Muskegon with 64, and Iosco, Bay, and Calhoun all with 63.

According to Peggy Ridgway, local ambassador for the event, “ half of the top ten species observed in our area were waterfowl.  The vast amount of open water along the river corridor and the lakeshore made for these unusually high  numbers. “  Northern cardinals and several species of woodpeckers were lower in count numbers than in past years.

Ranked among the Iosco top ten species observed were redhead ducks (222), European starling (212), long- tailed duck (160), snow bunting (100), Canada goose (85), cedar waxwing (83), horned lark (62), American goldfinch (55), mallard (54) , and herring gull (40).

“It’s quite rare that we would see that many geese and gulls, as they usually depart this region during the winter,” added Ridgway.

Downstate many of the spring migrants were already making their way north which accounted for the unusually high  totals in some southern counties.

“The state as a whole ended up with 140 species, which is quite impressive at this time of year,” commented Ridgway.

Throughout the United Sates, Michigan ranked among the top ten states  recording the most species.

Worldwide there were 5,937 species observed and a total  of 2, 836, 488 individuals recorded.

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Rescheduled AVA Meeting

JamesRenn-USFS-135119Our featured speaker was James Renn, an archeologist with the U. S. Forest Service.  Mr. Renn has extensive experience in excavating local artifacts, including those from snorkeling adventures in the AuSable River. He has conducted workshops as part of the Michigan Heritage Program. He presented a great program about the challenges and benefits of exploring and identifying archeological heritage sites within the areas of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. He spoke to some of his current projects and the work he is doing to identify potential sites of the pre-1800 time period and the challenges of targeting locations because of the geologic and hydrologic changes in Michigan since the glaciers receded approximately 13,000 years ago.  The program was very well received by the attending members.

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