Road trip 2024: Michigan

The primary objective of this road trip was two visits to nesting grounds of Kirtland’s Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii), on tours led by Brant Georgia for the Michigan state bird alliance, to see this lifer bird. Success!

young jacksmaturing jacksBrant explained that, as ground nesters, KIWAs are not dependent on youngish Jack Pines (Pinus banksiana) for food, but rather for the thicket of branches at the base of the stem, providing cover from predators. Blueberries also like to join the thicket party, and these fruits do provide warbler food. At left, you can see planted jacks (along with Red Pines for the loggers) that are about the right size for the birds (heard briefly here); at right, an older stand that reforested itself after an unintentional fire. We spotted our quarry at this location.

With some cropping, I also concocted a nice observation of Nashville Warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla)

The bracken fern in this part of Michigan reminds me of Maine; the sandy soil (we’re on a glacial outwash) suggests the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

quick stopI had an unscheduled afternoon, so I scooted over to Traverse City to visit The Dennos Museum Center, with its wonderful collection of Inuit art (three cheers for motel literature racks!), a delightful piece of cherry-raspberry pie at Grand Traverse Pie Company, and a quick stop at Grand Traverse Light.