BIRDING TOURS

June 2-16, 2020           by Paul Rossi

This date range is normally the best time to see the numerous warblers and other songbirds in their brightest colors, see them well and see the maximum number of species in the area.

We will Target warblers and other songbirds in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP), but usually see some waterbirds, hawks, marsh birds, etc.

Minimum # of participants: 6  (sometimes 4 is enough)
Maximum # of participants: 12
Cost per participant: $50 per day

Email Paul Rossi      at pwaynerossi@gmail.com

or  call   906 484-1086

Bring your best binoculars, close-focusing binoculars are best for the small warblers, as they will be very close at times.  If you would like to bring a small hand-held camera with a 500-600mm zoom lens range it is fine.

Be prepared for rain if rain is predicted on a tour day. A raincoat and wide-brimmed hat work well. Some years there will be some black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, and/or horse flies. But they usually are not bad and if they are bad in a certain area we will move on – there are almost always fewer buggy locations where we can find the same birds.

Bring boots (waterproof hiking boots are best or rain boots on wet days). Tucking pant legs into boots is best in case there are wood ticks. We will stay away from walking in long grasses – wood tick habitat.

Bring water, some snacks or lunch.

We travel the back roads hardly traveled. I will not drive roads that are too bad.  I will drive my van and can seat another person. Another vehicle or 2 will be required depending on the # of participants. The vehicle(s) follow behind and when I find suitable subjects and/or known appropriate habitat or a hotspot I will stop. We will take a short walk at most locations.

A typical day would start shortly after sunrise and the best viewing will be before 2 pm, but in the evening certain birds and habitats generally yield good results. We can target them. On hot sunny days, the songbirds can be much less visible during the middle of the day. We could take substantial break midday in such circumstances, and regroup in the late afternoon.

Note that there are weather factors that I must consider when making decisions as to where to go. For example, during very windy conditions birds in very open exposed situations will be hard to find and we would try to locate the area of their habitat where a forest blocks the wind at that time.  Don’t be afraid to make last-minute plans to book a tour day.  I will adjust as I can, and I understand that going on a good weather day is best.  The best days are ones with low winds, cloudy conditions, and not too cold, but sunny days with low winds and not too cold are very good.

List of birds we can target:

Warblers: Blackburnian, Cape May, Magnolia, Golden-winged, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Northern Parula, Tennessee, Yellow-rumped, Chestnut-sided, Canada, Mourning, Palm, Pine, Kirtland, Redstart, Black and White, Yellow, Nashville, Common Yellow-throat, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Wilson’s, Connecticut.

Other songbirds: Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, Great-crested Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Peewee, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Wood Thrush, Veery, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Red-eyed Vireo, Solitary Vireo, LeConte’s Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Lincoln’ Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Purple Finch, Evening Grosbeak, Winter Wren, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Black-billed Cuckoo.

Plus other birds…such as Pileated Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Spruce Grouse, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Red-Crossbill, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Belted Kingfisher, Broad-winged Hawk, Merlin, Sharp-shinned hawk, Northern Goshawk(rarely), Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Osprey, American Kestrel, Common Loon, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Red-Breasted Merganser, American Bittern, Black Tern, Caspian Tern, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Snipe, Woodcock.

In one day we could expect to see about 40% of those species.

It would take about 3 days to target all of them.

There are also others that are generally more easily found further south, such as Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Brown Thrasher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Virginia Rail, Sora Rail, Great-Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-heron, Common Tern, Wood Duck, Northern Cardinal, Grasshopper Sparrow.

At this date range (June 2-16) certain birds are very difficult to find because they are deep into nesting, but most of the songbirds are more easily found.  At this time a good variety of beautiful wildflowers are normally abundant in the area  (EUP).

If a group of 6 persons or more (up to 12) would like to spend 3 days and target all of these species it would require traveling north to areas close to Lake Superior (1.5+ hours from Cedarville). Or if they would like to target specific birds in 1-3 days I can target those birds.

Or I can find a lot of species without traveling too far from Cedarville (within 40 minutes).

I have photographed every bird mentioned above.  See some of them here: https://paulrossibirds.wordpress.com/

What past tour participants had to say:

On June 1, we spent 1/2 day birding with Paul near Cedarville. What a tremendous experience. In many cases, the birds were so close we didn’t even need binoculars! We look forward to returning next Spring.

Thanks again,
Ann

Paul is sort of a bird whisper- I had to change my camera battery twice- got great looks at many birds and a lot of keeper photos. I felt as if Paul was sharing some of his personal feathered friends with us.  It did not repeat the North Huron Birding Trail. Those spots are great, but we went to other places. Paul took us to quiet dirt roads, and next to private lands.

Jess and Karl loved our day with you.

Paul
Thank you for the exquisite close-up views of over 50 bird species. It was obvious that you love to share your knowledge and continue to delight in rare findings or unusual behaviors. As a beginning birder, this experience has cemented my commitment to this fascinating hobby.

Debi Wolterman

My personal bird watching trips with Paul Rossi are always exciting. It is almost impossible to not be surprised by what birds you may see in places you never thought to see them. He offers the best vantage points to see the bird you want. I highly recommend taking a trip with him to see the beauty of the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

Clifford Utech, 14