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The entire Great Lakes region offers fantastic birding each spring, but Tawas Point, on the eastern shores of Lake Huron, is a unique birding destination you won’t want to miss!

Tawas Point, Michigan, is known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” featuring the Victorian-era Tawas Point Lighthouse, beautiful sandy beaches, and most importantly, an outstanding array of birds!

Trumpeter swans by Sam Burckhardt

Trumpeter swans by Sam Burckhardt

Less well-known than Magee Marsh, Tawas Bay attracts all of the wood warblers that pass the shores of Lake Erie, but with fewer crowds of people and more diverse habitat—which invites a wide range of species in mid-to-late May.

Birds we expect to see include:

• Warblers (30 species are possible!)
• Loons
• Whip-poor-wills
• Bobolinks
• Shorebirds including sandpipers, plovers, and whimbrels
• Terns and gulls
• Waders
• Raptors
• Waterfowl
• Sparrows
• Tanagers
• Orioles

Kirtlands Warbler by Sam Burckhardt

Kirtlands Warbler by Sam Burckhardt

The crown jewel of the region, the stunning Kirtland’s warbler, is a near certainty, since we will visit its breeding grounds! It’s not uncommon to see 10 to 20 Kirtland’s warblers here, which will no doubt be a highlight of our trip. Canada and mourning warblers are likely, and the timing is right for Connecticut, too!

Bill Thompson, III, and Wendy Clark visited Tawas in May 2016, and after seeing 30 bird species in a single tree; more than 70 scarlet tanagers in Tawas Point State Park in one day; and more than 130 species within a three-hour period, they both said it was the single best “fallout” they had ever experienced! We’re hoping to repeat that experience on this Rendezvous, and the timing is perfect.

Our home-base for this Rendezvous will be at the Tawas Bay Beach Resort in East Tawas, Michigan, a picturesque resort situated beautifully on Lake Huron’s eastern shore. The large dining room windows offer a stunning view of the lake, and birders are wise to keep their bins on the table as they dine!

BWD staffers for this event will be Raymond VanBuskirk (head guide and Redstart manager), Dawn Hewitt (guide and BWD’s editor), Jessica Melfi (BWD’s assistant editor and birder), and Emily Jones (BWD events manager). We are also fortunate to have three expert local guides for this event: Sam Burckhardt, Matt Hegwood, and Peggy Ridgway!

Attendees will arrive on the afternoon of May 15th just in time for Happy Birders Hour, dinner, and a presentation by Sam and Peggy featuring the natural history of the Kirtland’s warbler, conservation efforts in the region, and a preview of birds we are likely to see during the Rendezvous.

Tawas Point State Park Lighthouse

Tawas Point State Park Lighthouse

May 16 through 18 we will tour the area’s hotspots including:

• Sam’s 175-acre private property with sandhill cranes and ruffed grouse
• Private Kirtland’s warbler breeding grounds tour
• Tawas Point State Park for migrants galore
• Tuttle Marsh at night for marsh birds, raptors, and waterfowl
• Au Sable River and Loon Lake for trumpeter swans and loons
• Clark’s Marsh and Oscoda airport grasslands for upland sandpiper and bobolinks
• Evening whip-poor-will tour
• Charity Island, where will enjoy birding-by-boat and a delicious lunch on the lake!

May 19 will mostly be departure day but we may sneak in another early morning birding trip if everyone is up for it!

So, what are you waiting for? This trip is limited to 28 attendees. Come join us in Iosco County Michigan next May and enjoy magnificent birds, good times, and as always, an unforgettable Reader Rendezvous experience.

 

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