Birding from the Oakapiney Spring/Summer

We open in early April to accommodate birders and wildflower lovers that would like to stay with us before our busy summer season begins. The map below illustrates the diverse choices available to see rare and endangered species such as the Kirtland Warbler and Piping Plovers. Seasonal rates are listed under the Special Offers link on the right.

Negwegon State Park

Negwegon State Park can be flooded with warblers and other migrants in May and August/September. A path to the north is a wildflower extravaganza, leading to the south point of Thunder Bay where shorebirds and waterfowl proliferate at all times of the year. A flotilla of swans, Tundra and Mute have been common year around. Follow the trail north to Lakeshore drive along side of the railroad tracks for some open views of all types and forms of woodland birds. More…

Lakeshore Dr. Negwegon south entry

From the Birdsandsuch website: Lakeshore Drive ends to the north at the south end of Negwegon State Park. Some maps call this Alpena State Park but it is officially Negwegon State Park. You can park where the road ends. There is a path that leads all the way north to the main entrance of the park. This is most productive from April through September. Thrushes, Flycatchers, Woodpeckers and a variety of warblers nest in the area including Mourning Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, American Redstart, Northern Water thrush, and probably a few others. Walking south along Lakeshore Drive back to the intersection of Black River Rd. can be very productive. Yellow-billed Cuckoos are frequently seen in the area. Barred Owls can usually be heard before daybreak.

Alcona County Bird Checklist

The Oakapiney

Excellent bird habitat on four acres of pines and oaks along with 200 feet of Huron lakeshore. A list of the birds on my personal life list is an indication of the possibilities here. My favorite summer sightings here are Common Nighthawks strafing the shoreline at dusk and common terns diving for show as they work their way down the shoreline. We spotted our first pileated woodpecker here in 2007. Oakapiney Life list.

Tawas Pointe State Park

One of the premier birding spots in the Midwest, with more than 290 species recorded..Stop here on your way up to the Oakapiney or make a day trip to one of Michigan’s finest natural areas and bird watchers heaven. About a 50 minute drive from the Oakapiney. The trails from the lighthouse to the point will occupy a full half day or more. More…

Kirtland Warbler Habitat

Male Kirtland’s warblers arrive back in Michigan from the Bahamas between May 3 and May 20, a few days ahead of the females. The males establish and defend territories and then court the females when they arrive.

Kirtland Warbler Auto Tour

Kirtland Warbler Festival

From the Birdsandsuch website: In extreme western Alcona County is excellent upland habitat with corresponding birds. Much of this area is Kirtland Warbler area and access is limited to the dirt roads. Under all circumstances respect the signs and remain on the roads. The warblers are easy to hear but difficult, in some circumstances, to see. Besides the Kirtland Warbler other nesting birds include Upland Sandpiper, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Nashville Warbler, Clay-colored Sparrow and others.

Isaacson Bay

North of Alpena, past the cement plant is an area that rarely fails to yield remarkable natural sights while slowly driving on Northpointe Drive. Bald Eagles are frequently seen and it is reported that Piping Plovers have been nesting here from time to time. The waters from the north point of Thunder Bay to Isaacson Bay are excellent for birding while kayaking, though the north point is entirely on private land and therefore inaccessible. From Keith Saylor, Northern Michigan Birding site: Here’s a report I made in 2002 concerning the first recorded nesting pair of Piping Plovers (though certainly not the last) in Alpena County. I pretty much closed business that year to observe this pair spending 8 to 12 hours a day among them from the beginning of June to almost the end of July. Piping Plovers nesting in the Alpena area are of particular interest to me as they have nested here every year since 2002.

Scarecrow Island

Two miles by kayak from the Oakapiney. The diminished lake levels of recent years have created a series of emerging environments at various stages of recovery and since access is by boat only, bird activity and variety is excellent. Approaching the island from the south side in late spring will reveal a wide variety of water fowl. Birding activity on the island is equally superb. Please tread lightly on this island and follow the principals of Leave no Trace. More…

Sturgeon Pt.

From the Birdsandsuch website: Sturgeon Pt. is an excellent location for a variety of birds. Besides a nice woodlot there is a spit of land that is the eastern-most location in the county as it juts into Lake Huron. In spring this is probably the best location in Alcona County for shorebirds. Whimbrels are annual but Ruddy Turnstones, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Black-bellied Plovers and others are likely. The woodlot is a nice migrant trap for passerines. A pair of Broad-winged Hawks nests in the area.

Island Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

A great place for photographers to get closer to birds than some of the more remote areas and a nice morning’s hike over many different terrains. Map.pdf

Travel west on Long Rapids road to observe birds along th thunder bay river. I have seen Caspian and black terns along the river a few miles west of Alpena.Thunder Bay River