JAS’s annual, all-day trip to Lake Erie Metropark to watch migrating raptors, one of the least strenuous but potentially awe-inspiring bird watching adventures in the state. Near the park’s boat launch (42.078993, -83.193246), a professional ornithologist and volunteers record the number of raptors gliding south from thermal to thermal. Lake Erie funnels birds from Lake Erie’s north shore across the mouth of the Detroit River to the park. Flocks of hundreds or even thousands of broad-winged hawks and other raptors pass overhead. Some are specks in the sky while others fly within a few hundred feet. This trip is at the broadwings’ historical migration peak. Birders watch just 100 feet from the parking lot and 500 feet from squeaky-clean tile restrooms. For a little exercise, a nearby flat, 1.25-mile trail includes boardwalks across Great Lakes coastal marshes with native American lotus and migrating and local birds.
Please be ready to carpool from the northeast corner of Jackson’s eastside Meijer parking lot (East Michigan Avenue and US-127, 42.256410, -84.358188) at 9 a.m. The group will return at around 5 p.m. Bring a lunch, folding chair, water, snacks, birding gear, sunscreen, and dress for the weather.
Feel free to drive separately and meet the group at the park around 10:30 a.m. The park entrance is at 32481 West Jefferson Avenue, Brownstown (42.070619, -83.210879). The daily vehicle entry fee is $10.
Park info available on their website.
Information on migrations from HawkCount is available HERE.
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