Friday, July 24, 2009

The Birding Life - Travels throughout the land - Part 4

Growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was awesome for a budding ornithologist. Because of our location at the crossroads of the northern hardwood and boreal forests, the U.P. is a true hotbed of breeding bird diversity. As most of our breeding species are neotropical migrants, that is birds that migrate every year between wintering areas in the Caribbean, Central and South America and breeding habitats in the United States and Canada, we get to watch the great cycles of arrival during spring migration, breeding, and then depature during fall migration. In fact, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is rivaled by only Northeastern Minnesota for breeding Neotropical migrant diversity in North America. Though I am a big fan of the Tanagers, Flycatchers, Vireos and all Neotropical migrants, one group to me stands alone. They are the Parulidae, the wood-warblers.

My favorite spot for viewing warblers when I was a kid was Fumee Lake. This beautiful northern lake, surrounding by hills of hardwood and coniferous forests is located just a few miles from my home town of Iron Mountain. It was once an area of iron mines and later a drinking water source for the local area. However in recent times it has been made into a natural area. A place for people to come and enjoy wildlife and all nature has to offer. There are breeding Loons and Eagles, but to me the main attraction was always the warblers. During spring migration I have seen over 20 species of warblers in a single morning at Fumee but even during the breeding season it can be quite good. As part of my trip home I just had to show Nikki Fumee Lake Natural Area. The place I truly caught the warbler bug. Here are some pictures of warblers I took on a late June morning at Fumee.

Northern Parula

American Redstart

Common Yellowthroat

Northern Waterthrush

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Nikki enjoying a fine morning at Fumee Lake

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