Birding Roselle Park in near Ada, Michigan
On Saturday, October 12, 2013, I headed over to Roselle Park which is near Ada, Michigan to do a little birding. I’ve been to Roselle Park once before, a couple of years ago when I kayaked the Grand River, which forms the eastern boundary of the park. I grew up not more than five miles from Roselle Park, it used to be the Ada Beef Company property, and my mother sometimes purchased our meat there. My how things have changed!
In the last post that I did in the My Week series, I said that for the most part, the entire state of Michigan is a birding hotspot, and I’ll stand by that. However, there are some hotspots even hotter than others, and Roselle Park is one of those. It has a little of about every type of habitat that a bird could want, prairie, marsh, swamp, mature trees, seedlings, and saplings. Most of all, it has edges between all the different types of habitat, and all wildlife loves edges, birds included.
Even before I arrived at the parking lot, I saw flocks of geese flying over the park, and from the moment that I pulled into the parking lot, I was seeing birds. However, getting good photos proved difficult at first. I had been in no hurry to get to the park, but the low sun angle this time of year, and so rather uncooperative birds were giving me fits.
But before we get to the birds, here’s a couple of wide shots of the park.
I had barely made it out of the parking lot before I saw red-winged blackbirds, chickadees, and this Nashville warbler.
The photos from today vary in quality considerably, but I’m going to post the best shot of each species that I could ID. I shot many photos of birds that I couldn’t identify, I’ll throw a couple of those in later.
I had started out on the south loop of the trail system there, planning on hiking the full length of the park. I was carrying all my camera gear with me, and it was a warm day by summer standards, a very hot day by mid-October standards. I had already drank well over half of the bottle of water that I had taken with me, although I had more in my vehicle, in the parking lot.
So, I decided to head back to the parking lot, drop off most of my camera gear, grab more water, then do the north end of the park.
That worked out very well, as the light was improving as the day wore on, and there were fewer people in the north end off the park. Most of the trails wind through the open fields and around the marshes, so there was little shade to use to escape the heat of the day. I was glad that I had shed the extra gear. I was carrying one body with the Beast attached, and the other body with the 70-200 mm lens on it, just in case I needed to shoot a close-up of something.
I came to a segment of the trail that follows a tiny stream, and passes through a wooded area. I’ve seen great quantities of yellow-rumped warblers in other places, but nothing like the number that I saw on this day!
They were everywhere I looked, it wasn’t unusual to see three of four airborne, and several more perched. Mixed in with the yellow-rumped was a large flock of bluebirds.
I know that I’ve never seen so many bluebirds in one place before, I would estimate that there were over 100 of them, and I won’t hazard a guess as to how many of the yellow-rumped there were in the woods.
I ran into another birder about that time, and we walked and talked for a short distance, amazed at the sheer numbers of warblers and bluebirds we were seeing.
Here’s a photo of what the wooded area of the park looked like. There’s probably 50 or 60 yellow-rumped in this shot, although you can’t pick them out.
I saw all five of the common species of woodpeckers in Michigan, Flickers and downy, hairy, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers, but got only a photo of one of the red-bellied woodpeckers perched.
I thought that these sandhill cranes were going to land in the field near me, but they didn’t.
Here’s a blooper for you, a pileated woodpecker in flight, sort of.
It was much more comfortable in the shaded area in the north end of the park, and I decided to sit down, take a break, and enjoy the great fall day. I found a great spot in the woods along the Grand River for my break.
I had just set both cameras down, when a Carolina wren materialized out of nowhere, not more than 5 feet from me, and out in the open. I made a grab for the Beast, but then realized that the wren was too close for it, so I grabbed for the other set up, too late, the wren realized its mistake and flew off to the thick stuff to scold me for trespassing in its territory.
Other birds were more receptive of having their photo taken.
I was hoping for an eagle to come soaring over the Grand River, but no such luck on this day. I did see one when I kayaked that section of river a couple of years ago, so I know that they’re around. Like I said, I grew up just a few miles from Roselle Park, but I never saw an eagle until I was in my late teens, and it was in a very remote part of Michigan’s upper peninsula. 40 years from when I saw my first eagle, and they are now nesting almost in sight of where I grew up.
I think that I’ll throw in a few more photos of the yellow-rumped warblers, just because I can, and also because I caught them feeding on berries.
Birds weren’t the only things that I found worth photographing, here’s a few of the other things I saw.
I know that this is getting quite long, as far as photos, but here’s a few fun ones.
I’m going to wrap this up with two more photos. First, another shot of a yellow-rumped, since they were so numerous…
…then, this eastern phoebe, just because I love this photo.
That’s about it for this one, other than a few final thoughts.
I was at Roselle Park for the greater part of the day, it is an excellent place for birding. I did my best to photograph as many species of birds that I could, but my efforts came up way short, as I only scratched the surface of the number of species I saw in my photos. I will definitely add Roselle Park to the list of places that I visit often, in the spring and fall. Since most of the trails are out in the open, I’m not sure that I would like it there as much in the middle of summer, although I’m sure that it would be a great place for birding then.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!