This was the first visit to the new section of the Lakelands Trail/Mike Levine State Park for the Jackson Audubon Society. The extension goes from the trailhead at Hawkins Rd. and the Portage River southeast toward the correctional facility off Parnall Rd. In the event that you were unsure that you were adjacent to restricted access land, bright red signs were posted conveniently on both sides of the trail, about 50 feet apart.
This area has always been great for cranes, migrant songbirds and raptors. So having a clear, level walking trail thought this area is fantastic.
Twelve JAS members, include 4 new members, joined the tour this morning. It was 30 degrees warmer than my scouting trip a few days before, but much more windy.
We had a good mix of habitat including hardwood forest, agricultural field, and small spots of marsh and swamp. At the end of our walk, about 2 miles from the trailhead is a wide expanse of wet meadow area which gave us a wide view to search for raptors. This is also a productive area for Short-eared Owl.
And we did have a good day of raptors-seven total, including 4 Red-tailed Hawk, 3 Rough-legged Hawk, and 2 Bald Eagle. A view to the south gave us a sight of some warmer weather birds with Turkey Vultures and gulls circling the warmth that is the McGill Landfill.
Our next tour will be the Hoffman Trail on 02/21.
Trip eBird Checklist