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 Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Michigan Nature association's Rachel Maranto led a tour of the excellent fen prairie at Goose Creek Nature Sanctuary.  

    Ten  JAS members and 5 MNA members and staff walked the "deer trail" on this cloudy but mild morning.  Rachel had promised some fringed gentians would be in bloom and she was right.

    In addition to those, we also saw a variety of goldenrods, Ladies' Tresses, Green Milkweed, and Turtlehead.


    Photos: Steve Jerant

  • Monday, September 16, 2019 9:17 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Well, we may not have had a lot of cranes tonight but we saw lots of monarch butterflies.  They continually flew into our field of vision while we were scanning the marsh with our scopes.  

    The habitat restoration that has been done behind the kiosk is providing a nice spot for songbirds.  Most of the songbirds in the species list below were observed there.

    Our blackbird count is obviously an estimate but is indicator of the massive numbers we saw tonight. We had fly bys from both sides of the overlook as well as the normal traffic from the west.  Egrets continue to come in along with herons.

    eBird checklist is available at:

    Crane counters:   Gary Siegrist, Ross Green, & Steve Jerant

    Compiler:  Steve Jerant

    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count:  10 (63 observed in the area)

    Species count:  34

    15 Canada Goose

    40 Wood Duck

    40 Mallard

    5 Mourning Dove

    2 Common Nighthawk

    73 Sandhill Crane -- 10 stayed in marsh

    1 Killdeer

    1 Wilson's Snipe

    4 Great Blue Heron

    7 Great Egret

    12 Turkey Vulture

    2 Northern Harrier

    1 eagle sp. -- About one mile away. Unable to verify which type but flight profile was eagle. 

    1 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    1 Hairy Woodpecker

    1 Northern Flicker

    1 Eastern Wood-Pewee

    1 Eastern Phoebe

    3 Blue Jay

    2 American Crow

    1 Barn Swallow

    1 White-breasted Nuthatch

    1 House Wren

    1 Gray Catbird

    200 American Robin

    25 Cedar Waxwing

    3 American Goldfinch

    2 Field Sparrow

    2 Song Sparrow

    4000 Red-winged Blackbird

    1 Brown-headed Cowbird

    300 Common Grackle

    1 Common Yellowthroat

    1 Northern Cardinal

    1 Indigo Bunting

    Number of Taxa: 35

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at 

    Haehnle site at 

  • Monday, September 09, 2019 9:22 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We had a beautiful night to kick off the 2019 crane counts.  A total of 47 cranes were counted, with 5 staying in the marsh.  The nighthawks were active both above the marsh and near the overlook.    

    eBird checklist is available at:

    Crane counters:   Gary Siegrist, Ross Green, & Steve Jerant 
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Crane Count:  5 (47 observed in the area)
    Species count:  23

    35 Canada Goose

    30 Wood Duck

    50 Mallard

    3 Mourning Dove

    6 Common Nighthawk

    47 Sandhill Crane -- 5 stayed in marsh

    5 Great Egret

    1 Turkey Vulture

    2 Northern Harrier

    1 Cooper's Hawk

    1 Red-bellied Woodpecker

    1 Hairy Woodpecker

    1 Eastern Wood-Pewee

    1 Eastern Phoebe

    4 Tree Swallow

    3 Barn Swallow

    3 Eastern Bluebird

    80 American Robin

    15 Cedar Waxwing

    9 American Goldfinch

    500 Red-winged Blackbird

    1 Common Grackle

    2 Common Yellowthroat

    You can view past postings and historical crane counting data at 

  • Tuesday, August 06, 2019 7:46 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Nine members of JAS visited Pt. Moo SGA on Tuesday to search for shorebirds.  Ross Green scouted the week before and expectations were low.  We did get a few notables including 3 American White Pelicans, a bunch of Black Crowned Night Herons, and a King Rail.  We found better mud outside the Game Area. And then lots of mud driving out to the antennae farm. 

    Thanks again to Ross for leading the trip.
    Photos courtesy of Gary Siegrist.


    eBird checklist for Pt. Moo:

    Trip List:
    Number of Taxa: 57

    20 Canada Goose -- (1)

    2 Blue-winged Teal -- (1)

    23 Mallard -- (1)

    6 Lesser Scaup -- (1)

    70 Pied-billed Grebe -- (1)

    1 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) -- (2)

    4 Mourning Dove -- (1)

    1 Chimney Swift -- (2)

    1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird -- (1)

    1 King Rail -- (1)

    1 Virginia Rail -- (1)

    15 Common Gallinule -- (1)

    25 American Coot -- (1)

    9 Semipalmated Plover -- (1)

    12 Killdeer -- (1)

    1 Dunlin -- (2)

    1 Least Sandpiper -- (1)

    1 Short-billed Dowitcher -- (2)

    1 Wilson's Snipe -- (1)

    8 Spotted Sandpiper -- (1)

    1 Solitary Sandpiper -- (2)

    3 Lesser Yellowlegs -- (1)

    30 Ring-billed Gull -- (1)

    1 Herring Gull -- (1)

    8 Caspian Tern -- (1)

    40 Double-crested Cormorant -- (1)

    3 American White Pelican -- (1)

    1 American Bittern -- (1)

    1 Least Bittern -- (1)

    10 Great Blue Heron -- (1)

    25 Great Egret -- (1)

    1 Green Heron -- (1)

    4 Black-crowned Night-Heron -- (1)

    2 Turkey Vulture -- (2)

    7 Osprey -- (1)

    1 Northern Harrier -- (1)

    1 Red-tailed Hawk -- (1)

    1 Downy Woodpecker -- (1)

    1 Northern Flicker -- (1)

    1 Eastern Phoebe -- (1)

    1 Eastern Kingbird -- (1)

    1 Horned Lark -- (1)

    150 Tree Swallow -- (1)

    3 Bank Swallow -- (1)

    15 Barn Swallow -- (1)

    1 Cliff Swallow -- (1)

    12 Marsh Wren -- (1)

    1 American Robin -- (2)

    7 European Starling -- (1)

    12 American Goldfinch -- (1)

    2 Savannah Sparrow -- (1)

    5 Song Sparrow -- (1)

    200 Red-winged Blackbird -- (1)

    2 Common Grackle -- (1)

    6 Common Yellowthroat -- (1)

    2 Northern Cardinal -- (1)

    1 Indigo Bunting -- (1)

  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 9:53 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    This morning Gary lead Brenda and myself through the Riethmiller Grassland from the DNR parking lot to the wet land by the islands and back. During the walk we saw Common Yellowthroat, Henslow Sparrows, Sedge Wren, and possibly Grasshopper Sparrows.

    Photos:  Chuck Mekbel

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 8:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Tuesday Group’s Kate Palmer walk May 21

    A record 21 Tuesday Group tourers came to the Kate Palmer Wildlife Sanctuary May 21 for a walk led by Allen King, the sanctuary’s volunteer steward and a retired science teacher.  The Group was rewarded by Allen’s descriptions good variety of birds and plants, and the topography at the sanctuary.

    He started by explaining that the first coal discovered in Michigan was on this very site.  Because its quality was low, coal was never a money-maker and pits were less than 10 feet deep.  The only evidence today are overgrown holes in the ground and piles of spoil. Instead of coal, springtime now visitors see colorful, native wildflowers and songbirds.

    Allen and other experts identified flowers and birds as the group walked for roughly two hours.  Drifts of trillium, with just a few fading blossoms, lit up the understory.  Birding highlights were two male scarlet tanagers perched in the same shrub, a ruby-throated hummingbird building a nest, and a pileated woodpecker.  See Steve Jerant’s species list at eBird.

    The next-best part?  No bugs.

    Get a feel for “The Kate’s” serenity from Lynn Eckerle’s accompanying images.

    Trillium (Lynn Eckerle)

    Mayapple (Lynn Eckerle)

    Jack-in-the Pulpit (Lynn Eckerle)

    No one on the tour had enough lens to capture bird images.  By coincidence, Chuck Mekbel found a pileated woodpecker on the same day at Oak Openings Metropark in Swanton, Ohio.  See Chuck’s stellar image below.

    Pileated woodpecker   Chuck Mekbel

    Free on Tuesday mornings?  Check Jackson Audubon’s events list.  If you like enjoy learning about the natural world, try a Tuesday tour on for size.


  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The Jackson Audubon made a trip this morning to the Oak Openings Metropark near Swanton, Ohio and we had a nice day of bird watching.  The highlight of my morning was photographing a camera happy Summer tanager who repeatedly posed at different angles in front of four or five of us on shrub branches that were quite close to the trail.

    Attached is a photo of this brilliant beauty.  He was not shy at all for us Michigan bird watchers!

    Doug Leffler

    eBird Trip checklist is available HERE

  • Tuesday, May 07, 2019 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    the JAS Tuesday Group drive down to Magee Marsh on May 7th to visit Warbler Central in Ohio.  The weather was a bit cool, starting at about 45 but got a bit warmer.  It stayed cloudy all day.  We've had better years but the boardwalk was alive with warblers, but not too many thrushes.  We did get two Eastern Screech Owls and a Woodcock that did not seem to be bothered by the attention.

    Some of us drove over the the Ross Unit after the boardwalk. 
    Total trip count was 72

    ebird lists below:
    Magee Marsh
    Ottawa NWR, Boss Unit

    Images compliments of Chuck Mekbel

  • Monday, April 22, 2019 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Thanks to all who came out to our double-header nature walk on Tuesday. It was nice seeing some familiar faces and meeting some of you for the first time. Despite it feeling wintry in the morning, we were treated to lush carpets of spring blooms! 

    Purple Trillium (Steve Jerant)

    I encourage you to join us again on September 17 for our next wildflower walk with the Jackson Audubon Society at MNA's Goose Creek Grasslands sanctuary in Lenawee County south of Cement City. The walk is timed to hit peak bloom time of the fringed gentians, and there should be many other fen-loving wildflowers to enjoy, including ladies tresses, sneezeweed, grass of parnassus, and several species of aster and goldenrod.

    Rachel Maranto
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019 7:18 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    At our last JAS meeting of the season, Don & Robyn Henise received the Fargo Award for outstanding service to the organization.  Gary Siegrist and Steve Jerant presented the award.  Gary gave a brief history of the life of Mr. Fargo and the award.  Then he listed the many accomplishments and support the Henise's have provided JAS over the years.

    They served on the Haehnle Sanctuary Committee, with Robyn as our secretary for most of that time, and hosted the January meeting at their home.  They have been fixtures on the Harold Wing Overlook, through mosquitoes, rain, and sometimes snow, faithfully counting the cranes each fall.  Don has performed many bird, butterfly, and damselfly surveys on the property.  And they were always there on Saturday mornings for the biannual work bee-Robyn with her paintbrush at the ready.

    The Henise’s lead many tours for Jackson Audubon to Magee Marsh, Point Mouillee, and the Soo-braving the cold a few days early to scout for the rest of the participants.  They provided outstanding programs to JAS on travel and birds.

    Don & Robyn helped JAS members find and identify rare bird species that came into Jackson County like the Mississippi Kite. They found Short-eared owl and grassland bird territory, and promoted the importance of Watkins Lake.   And they always shared sighting of winter finches and snowy owls.

    Don changed the way the CBC was recorded including updating all data and rolling into electronic files. He transitioned us into the online age by use of eBird & list servers and his monitoring service of JAXBirds for the last few years.

    Steve then reflected, I remember the first time I met the Henises.  Yes, it was at Haehnle Sanctuary.  We chatted for a few minutes and then without much hesitation, they asked me if I wanted to come along with them as they were going up to Cutler Rd.  I tagged along with them to look for waterfowl.  After a bit, they said they were heading home but when Robyn found out I had never seen a Shoveler, she told me there was one down in Norvell. The directions were very precise and they ended with, “…and when you see the white pony, look in the water just after that farm.” It was the first of many lifers they gave me.  To me, they epitomize the best of birding:  a great store of knowledge and a passion to share it with others.

    photo courtesy Doug Leffler

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