Common Loons and More Birds 2022 & 2023

Photograph Common Loons and their chicks in beautiful settings in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula. And photograph a variety of other birds.

June 20 – July 5

sign up for 2 day sessions

$1,200 per 2 day session

$400 deposit per 2 day session

I live close to many small lakes with nesting Common Loon pairs and I monitor their nesting closely. I also scout other bird photography opportunities intensively and productively because I live at the workshop location, the same location as the Northern Warblers and More Workshop.

Sign up for a 2 day workshop during the date range when the loon chicks normally hatch: June 20 – July 5.

The timing of hatching of any one of the 4-6 nests is variable, depending on when warm weather arrives to the region. So you will be on call for hatching. When a nest hatches I will notify you. Priority for each 2 day workshop will be according to sign-up. The first person signing up gets the first 2 day session, the next person gets the next 2-day session, etc. If you desire to take advantage of more loons and/or the other possibilities you can sign up for 2 or more sessions.

If no loons hatch because of flooding of nests region wide (a rare but possible occurrence) you can receive your deposit back or choose to photograph adult loon pairs and other birds.

I guide you (one-on-one) in a stable inflatable hard-bottomed raft and constantly position you on your shadow line, so you are aligned with low morning light and/or the late evening light directly behind you. This is an advantage over a group outing. 4 people cannot all be aligned on their shadow line. You sit comfortably and photograph from your lowered tripod.

Some of the other birds will provide excellent opportunities, depending on what I have already found to be photographable at the time of your visit. Many of these opportunities require that you sit in one of my spacious blinds, and I can be in there with you so I make sure you make appropriate settings for the situation, and are aware of certain behaviors and/or actions before they happen. Some situations require a partial blind only.

Likely subjects are Belted Kingfishers with prey items and natural cavity Eastern Bluebird nests. 2 or more of the following are also likely: Pileated Woodpecker nest and/or Northern Flicker nest with young poking out, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker nest, American Kestrel nest (young may be poking out), Tree Swallow natural cavity nest. If I find a photographable nest of Northern Parula, Black-throated Green Warbler, or Spotted Sandpiper, you will be given the choice to photograph it.

Other possibilities include families (females with multiple chicks) of Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser and Hooded Merganser, and Pied-billed Grebe, Black Terns in flight, and Northern Harrier adults (in flight) bringing food to chicks or dropping food mid-air to them. Black-billed Cuckoos and Swainson’s thrushes can often be photographed during this date range and are also a possibility.

During the first half of the date range I can usually provide photo opportunities with a few of the songbirds targeted in my Northern Warblers and More Workshop.

On calm sunny mornings we have the best conditions for loons and start early – usually at 5:45 am you must leave from your lodging in Cedarville. We can photograph until 8:45 pm during the same ideal conditions during a session starting in the late afternoon. Daily and hourly I will judge the weather conditions and give you options. Some of the other-than-loon nest situations may require cloudy conditions. Almost all nests can be photographed during the day when there are cloudy conditions. So a cloudy day will be utilized maximally.

Normally, during this date range, there is little or no wind in the mornings and/or evenings, and it is often sunny.

EQUIPMENT:

A mirrorless DSLR is best for this workshop because certain species, such as Belted Kingfishers and Eastern Bluebirds, when photographed from a complete concealment blind near the nest, can become disturbed by shutter sound.

You should have an effective focal length of 600mm or greater when combining the digital crop factor of your camera with your tele-extenders (1.4x or 2x). Autofocus must be maintained when the tele-extender is used.

Tripod sufficient for your equipment.

A gimbal-type head – for smooth mobility, stability, and balance.

Extra memory cards

Laptop computer to download and view images

Memory card reader for laptop (plus an extra back-up one)

Hard drive(s) to back up images daily

Extra camera batteries and charger

Rain gear in case it rains.

Also bring…
– clothing that is not white or brilliant in color: dull green, brown, black, beige, dark blue – all work well. Long pants, long shirts, and sweatshirts that mosquitoes cannot penetrate. Make sure that any jacket you use while doing bird photography does not make noise as you move your arms – the noise scares some birds. There can be some mosquitoes and/or black flies at times.  The Coleman Mosquito Head net (available at Walmart) works well to keep them away- your vision is clear and you can look through the camera viewfinder well – make sure you have this item, although it most likely will not be necessary.
– hat with small brim – it helps to keep the sky out of your vision – to limit eye strain.  Too wide a brim can bump your camera when you put your eye behind it.
– waterproof boots (rubber 12″ boots recommended)
– gloves to protect you from mosquitoes and/or black flies while you shoot, in case they are needed. Test them to make sure you can manipulate camera controls while using them. Long pants should be tucked into your boots.
– good-sized water bottle for hydration during outings. Appropriate snacks to eat quickly.

Ticks are possible, so you should bring a hand mirror to help see yourself at the end of the day before going to bed.

Cell service: Most locations have some cell service, but service is poor to non-existent at some locations.

Best airport: The city of Pellston has a small airport but it will be expensive to land there – you must drive another 1.5 hours. Your best option is to fly to Detroit, Michigan and then drive the remaining 5 hours to Cedarville. From Detroit its straight freeway on I-75 to M-134 after the Mackinac Bridge, and east on M-134 for 38 miles to Cedarville.

You are responsible for your lodging and meals, and transportation. Cedarville is close by, and I can recommend lodging. A high clearance vehicle is not necessary, but a low clearance vehicle should not be used, as it will limit our options to certain roads.

June 20 – July 5

sign up for 2 day sessions

$1,200 per 2 day session

$400 deposit per 2 day session

Please make checks out to: Paul Rossi / 1181 South Palmerlee Road / Cedarville, Michigan 49719

Registration and Medical Release forms will be sent after I receive your deposit.

If you have any questions before or after registering, send me an e-mail with any inquiries to: pwaynerossi@gmail.com

or call Paul Rossi 906 484-1086 evenings best

The images below illustrate some of the possibilities on this workshop. All images were taken during the date range specified: June 20 – July 5.

The final image demonstrates one of over 20 natural cavity nest boxes of different hole sizes and cavity sizes that I have made and positioned in appropriate habitat on private property. I positioned most of them with the morning light as a priority because adults shuttle back and forth to feed young in the morning more often than other periods of the day. My cavities have been used by Eastern Bluebirds, Kestrels, Tree Swallows, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser. I put up other cavities targeting Great Crested flycatcher.