I've noticed that the Sandhill Cranes, Mute Swans and other summertime birds have returned from their winter break. I also noticed that the Common Mergansers who usually stop over on a local lake for a few weeks before continuing north have arrived. This gave me the cue that other birds like the Snowy Owl, the Tundra Swan and many others would be stopping over in the Bay City area.
The Bay of Michigan is the area between the east side of the "Mitten" and the web of the "Thumb". The bay forms a nice little nook in Lake Huron filled with marshes, inland lakes and the Saginaw River. A perfect place for birds, especially waterfowl to take a rest.
The coast is bordered with several state parks, wildlife preserves and sanctuaries that provide miles of beautiful hiking trails, boardwalks and lookout towers. The area has an active birding community and there is a lot of information about local sightings, and signs and directories for helping visitors to see the most birds.
The park we visited Tuesday night was the Tobico Marsh. It's about an hour 10 minutes away, and not something that we'd usually do on a Tuesday afternoon, but it was supposed to be the warmest day of the week before the temperatures go back down below freezing. We have Evelyn now, our 5 month old daughter, and I didn't want to take her out in the cold for long periods of time. So off we went.
Tobico Marsh is a beautiful place with interesting trails that include several footbridges that wander over the marshiest marsh spots.
|Red Winged Blackbird on Cattail|
|The marsh runs in miniature streams above and below the dead grasses and reeds|
|Pussy Willow just starting to bloom|
|It was a dreary day and the lime green moss seemed to glow on the forest floor.|
|Most likely a patch of Violet Toothed Mushrooms|
|One of the many footbridges|
|This might be Sheep of the Woods mushroom but much of it has broken off.|
|One of the lookout towers. We found a geocache near it!|
|These are the Bufflehead ducks. New species for me! They were really far away but the park provided high powered binocular viewers and you could clearly see that they were Buffleheads.|
|Here is a closer image from birdinginformation.org|