Seney Reflections

Reflections by Ayman Haykal

Reflections by Ayman Haykal

The Seney National Wildlife Refuge:

…was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The wild land that today is the refuge has not always appeared so wild. This is a land that was once heavily logged, burned, ditched, drained and cultivated. Despite repeated attempts, the soils and harsh conditions of this country would not provide a hospitable environment for sustained settlement and agriculture. So, nature claimed it once again. What was viewed as a loss by early 20th century entrepreneurs became a huge gain for the wildlife, natural resources and the people of Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge is located in the east-central portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, halfway between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The 95,238 acre refuge encompasses the 25,150 acre Seney Wilderness Area, which contains the Strangmoor Bog National Natural Landmark.

Lots more information at the Seney Refuge website. Ayman took this back in early August. See more on his Flickr!

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Dancing in the Air: Birding Trails & Bird Sanctuaries in Michigan

Egrets Dancing in the Air

Dancing in the Air, photo by Jiafan(John) Xu

I’m pretty sure that these are Great Egrets (Ardea alba) but would appreciate confirmation from any birders in the audience.

On the Pure Michigan blog, Mallory King of the Michigan Audubon Society writes that birding is currently the second fastest growing hobby in the United States after gardening with over 47 million people identifying as birdwatchers. She shares some great Michigan birding trails and sanctuaries to help you get going with birding:

The Superior Birding Trail: This trail covers 150 miles in the Upper Peninsula from the Seney National Wildlife Refuge to Whitefish Point; you can observe over 300 bird species here.

The Sleeping Bear Birding Trail: The SBBT West which the trial is commonly referred too, includes 123 miles from Manistee to Traverse City along the scenic M-22 highway and Lake Michigan shoreline; here over 250 bird species can be observed.

The Beaver Island Birding Trail: Located entirely on Lake Michigan’s largest island, encompasses over 100 miles of road and 12,000 acres of natural habitat; over 250 bird species can be spotted on this adventurous trail.

The Saginaw Bay Birding Trail: Also known as SBBT East, takes travelers 142 miles along the Lake Huron shoreline from Port Crescent State Park to Tawas Point State Park, the trail is home to over 200 bird species and an abundance of quaint Michigan towns.

Read on for a list of the sanctuaries and more at Pure Michigan.

John took this last month, presumably in the Keweenaw area. View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures!

Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)

Bonapartes Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull, photo by James Salinas

All About Birds has this to say about Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia):

A small, graceful gull with bright white patches in its wings, the Bonaparte’s Gull winters near people, but breeds in the isolated taiga and boreal forest.

  • The Bonaparte’s Gull is the only gull that regularly nests in trees.
  • The English name of the Bonaparte’s Gull honors Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who made important contributions to American ornithology while an active member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia during the 1820s. The scientific name philadelphia was given in 1815 by the describer of the species, George Ord of Philadelphia, presumably because he collected his specimen there.
  • During the breeding season, the Bonaparte’s Gull feeds mainly on insects, often catching them on the wing.
  • Breeds around lakes and marshes in boreal forest. Winters along lakes, rivers, marshes, bays, and beaches along coasts.
  • Eats small fish and large invertebrates, including insects. Does not eat garbage or carrion.

Read on for more and some photos and the gull’s distinctive call.

James took this photo in Port Huron. View it bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures!