Log in

 Jackson Audubon Society

 The Audubon Society of Jackson County, Michigan

  • Wednesday, May 03, 2023 12:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    The JAS trip down to Magee Marsh and surrounds was a bit earlier this year than normal-I won't do that again.  Seven JAS members took the trip across the border to Ohio for a visit to the Magee Marsh,  Metzger Marsh, and Howard Marsh locations.  It was cold, and windy, and we had a bit of rain. What we did not have unfortunately, was warblers.  

    (Sidney Fitzpatrick)

    While our count was very low, we did have lots of room on the Magee Marsh boardwalk, no trouble finding parking, and no waiting at the porta-Johns.  We stayed dry the whole day and had lots of wildfowl on our list.  Highlights included a Eastern Screech Owl and four Black-necked Stilts, a lifer for some of our group as well as a new spotting of this bird in the Midwest for most of the rest of us.

    (Sidney Fitzpatrick)

    A combined species list of the 65 species we observed is available as an eBird Trip Report .

  • Sunday, April 30, 2023 12:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Eight JAS members and guests joined Michigan Nature Association steward Stewart Goldman for a tour of the Trillium fields of southwest Michigan.  We've not been to these properties since before the Covid pandemic so we were excited to return.  The weather looked like it might not cooperate but we had just a bit a drizzle.  And who wants that nasty full sunshine thing when you're trying to take pictures of spring flowers?

    After a fortifying breakfast at Mr. Wahoo's in Dowagiac, we met Stewart at Dowagiac Woods.  This is MNA's largest and one of it's oldest properties.  It is near the Dowagiac River and is quite wet, especially in the spring.  The Woods have never been developed and the diversity and quantity of spring ephemerals shows it very clearly.

    Plant list:

    Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

    Common Violet (purple & yellow) (Viola sp.)

    Trout Lilly (Erythronium americanum)

    Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

    Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

    False Solomon’s Seal (Smilacina racemosa)

    Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullatia)

    Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis)

    Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

    Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

    May Apple (Podophyllum peltatum)

    Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum)

    Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictrodes)

    Bloodroot (Sanguinatia canadensis)

    Large -Flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)

    Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia)

    Broadleaf Toothwort (Dentaria diphylla)

    Baneberry (Actaea sp.)

    False Rue Anemone (Isopyrum biternatum)

    Purple Cress (Cardemine Douglassii)

    Swamp Buttercup (Ranunculus septentrionalis)

    Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna)

    Trillium Ravine

    After the Woods, we drive over to Berrien county to visit the Trillium Ravine.  This smaller property is also rich in spring ephemerals and, well, Trilliums.   In many parts of the short walk your entire view is Trilliums.  While predominately the  Large-flowered Trillium, there were also Toadshade and Prairie Trilliums.  I even got a picture of a trio of Trillium.

    Plant list:

    Prairie Trillium (Trillium recurvatum)

    Trillium Toadshade (Trillium sessile)

    Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

    Celedine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

    The spring ephemerals were the priority and it's really hard to see birds when you are looking at all that beauty on the ground. But we are Audubon, so the eBird trip list was dutifully posted.

  • Tuesday, April 18, 2023 2:37 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We've updated the JAS Events pages with the 2023-24 programs at Ella Sharp Museum for the season starting in September. 

  • Saturday, March 25, 2023 5:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    It only rained once during our tour today-only problem was it did it from 8 to 11.  Don, Ross and I went out and braved the elements today for a tour of Jackson County lakes.  We visited 7 locations and recorded 21 waterfowl species and a total of 42 taxa.  The traditional start was Watkins Lake, where we had the  most wind and rain. Visibility was not great but was productive including one Common Loon, and 150 Ring-necks.

    Our next two stops with two views of Norvell lake yielded some Belted Kingfisher and Goldeneye. 

    Little Wolf lake had a sizable raft of Less Scaup,  a group of very exited  Bufflehead, and some Redhead & Canvasback.

    We found our only American Coot at Grass Lake where the rain picked up a bit.

    Our view of Portage Lake from the county park yielded several large flocks of Lesser Scaup, Common Merganser, and Bufflehead.  Our portable blinds worked very well at this location.

    (Steve Jerant)

    The wetlands off Cutler & Dunn Rds. gave us a strong finish of 11 waterfowl.  We got our only Wood Duck of the morning on this very approachable wetland.  The water levels are back up to a good level and has been very productive the last two years.  This is a great spot to check out--after your visit to Haehnle Sanctuary, of course.

    An eBird trip log is available HERE.

  • Tuesday, February 21, 2023 2:19 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We did not plan to repeat the venue of our last trip, but high winds in a mature forest is not a good combination for a safe birding trip.  So we returned to the Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park this morning.  In our last trip we walked from the Herb Amster trailhead southwest toward the prison property.  So today the ten of us walked northeast toward Munith.  

    (Steve Jerant)

    As we started the walk a huge group of about 300 Canada Goose came up from the wet area to the east and brough along about 40 Sandhill Crane with them.  Only three raptors were seen but we did see some Red-winged Blackbirds like our last trip.  It has been an odd winter for these normally migratory species.

    There was a good bit of mixed habitat with marsh, swamp, forest, and agricultural fields.  While we did not escape the windy conditions, there was good cover for most of the walk and we had a few snowflakes to remind us it's still February.  

    (Steve Jerant)

    The group walked about 1.3 miles to the intersection of Jordan Rd.  Half of the participants turned around but some of us checked out the sounds we were hearing across Jordan Rd.  A few more species were recorded and brought our trip list to 27.

    The trip list is available on eBird.

  • Tuesday, February 07, 2023 8:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    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.

    (Steve Jerant)

    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.

    (Brenda Wineman)

    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

  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023 8:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We enjoyed a sunny morning tour of MacCready Preserve on Skiff Lake Rd. this morning. So it was a bit cold, but the temperature continued to rise through our walk and soon broke into the double digits.

    While I'm usually not appreciative of Scotch (or Scotts) Pines, these specimens at the Preserve are good looking and the morning sun came in just perfect to highlight their orange bark.

    (Steve Jerant)

    (Steve Jerant)

    We got off to a slow start with the birds and the crisp fresh snow made for a very noisy walk, impairing our ability to hear.  A good size flock of American Robin (~50) were quite busy chowing down on several oriental bittersweet vines.  A lone Hermit Thrush was in their group and a few Cedar Waxwings were also enjoying the plentiful berries.

    One of my targets for the morning was a Yellow-bellied sapsucker.  Don was able to finally track him down in the north section of the property on the border trail.

    (Steve Jerant)

    We got three more woodpeckers and three hawks which were flying high above us.

    Our trip eBird list is available HERE

    Our next tour is on the Lakelands trail SP next next Tuesday. 

  • Tuesday, January 17, 2023 8:00 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    Seven folks joined a tour of the Fay Lake Trail in Watkins Lake SP on Tuesday.  This  the old railroad grade is to the east of the park but is not connected.  It runs though wetland habitat including a very nice Tamarac swamp.

    Don Henise led the tour, and while we had a good turnout of birders,  the group did not get the winter birds they were hoping for.

    (Brenda Wineman)

    Don submitted the following eBird checklists. 

    Watkins Lake Park

    Fay Lake Trail

  • Monday, December 05, 2022 6:55 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    We had a mild night for our last count of the season.  The open water in Mud Lake Marsh was partially frozen, but 59 cranes made it their home for the evening.  We observed 122 cranes from the overlook and Bill Wells counted 552 flyovers from the Wooster Rd. parking lot by the Portage River bridge parking lot.

    Eagle Lake also had some open water where nearly 20 Hooded Mergansers were seen.  Only 1 of the Belted Kingfishes we saw Tuesday remained. He was accompanied by 2 muskrats working the ice/water boundary.

    As we left the overlook for our final count a few coyotes barked some goodbyes to us from the north.  Nice ending to the season.

    Total crane count was 59.

    Crane counters:   Ross Green, Bill Wells, & Steve Jerant
    Compiler:  Steve Jerant
    Submitted by Steve Jerant

    Species count:  11

    View eBird checklist at

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2022 9:39 PM | Steve Jerant (Administrator)

    I did my first official tour of the Sanctuary as the new manager for seven JAS members.  The weather was mild and the sun did come out in the 10 o'clock hour for about 10 minutes.  Although we had over 200 cranes come in last night, I only saw 2 and that was before the group arrived at 9.

    We toured the overlook area then walked the prairie path into the woods to Eagle Lake. We had some ducks and a surprising pair of Belted Kingfishers working the lake.

    The forest walk took us to the Unit #2 prairie where a bunch of Eastern Bluebirds were moving around noisily.   Gary Siegrist told the legend of Bogus Lake in the fen area that has recently been cleared of Glossy Buckthorn.

    John spotted a Ring Necked Pheasant below the apple trees, so that made for a nice finish.

    Some of the group went to lunch at Clear Lake Grill on Clear Lake Rd.

    eBird Checklist - 29 Nov 2022 - Haehnle Sanctuary - 18 species

    NOTE:  The next Tuesday tour is a new venue on the Lakelands Trail in the Hawkins/Dalton Rds. area.  I've rescheduled the 13 December tour at the Hoffman Trail to 21 February. 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software