My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

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.

Roselle Park, Ada, Michigan

Roselle Park, Ada, Michigan

Roselle Park, Ada, Michigan

Roselle Park, Ada, Michigan

I had barely made it out of the parking lot before I saw red-winged blackbirds, chickadees, and this Nashville warbler.

Nashville warbler

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.

Golden-crowned kinglet

Golden-crowned kinglet

Ruby crowned kinglet

Ruby crowned kinglet

Swamp sparrow

Swamp sparrow

White-throated sparrow

White-throated sparrow

Black capped chickadee

Black capped chickadee

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.

American goldfinch

American goldfinch

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.

White-crowned sparrow

White-crowned sparrow

Canada geese in flight

Canada geese in flight

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.

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

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!

Yellow-rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

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.

Eastern bluebird

Eastern bluebird

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.

Wooded trail at Roselle Park

Wooded trail at Roselle Park

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.

Red-bellied woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker

I thought that these sandhill cranes were going to land in the field near me, but they didn’t.

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

Song sparrow

Song sparrow

Here’s a blooper for you, a pileated woodpecker in flight, sort of.

Pileated woodpecker in flight

Pileated woodpecker in flight

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.

Roselle Park, Ada, Michigan

Roselle Park, Ada, Michigan

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.

Eastern pheobe

Eastern pheobe

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

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.

Yellow-rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

Birds weren’t the only things that I found worth photographing, here’s a few of the other things I saw.

Bindweed and bumblebee

Bindweed and bumblebee

Maple leaf

Maple leaf

Unidentified fungal objects

Unidentified fungal objects

Kayakers on the Grand River

Kayakers on the Grand River

Milkweed seeds and a little color

Milkweed seeds and a little color

Preying mantis

Preying mantis

Preying mantis

Preying mantis

grass

grass

Asters

Asters

I know that this is getting quite long, as far as photos, but here’s a few fun ones.

You looking at me?

You looking at me?

Here's what I think of that

Here’s what I think of that

Just a bird

Just a bird

Anybody home?

Anybody home?

I’m going to wrap this up with two more photos. First, another shot of a yellow-rumped, since they were so numerous…

Yellow-rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

…then, this eastern phoebe, just because I love this photo.

Eastern phoebe

Eastern phoebe

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!

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23 responses

  1. really nice photography and impressing diversity of birds for one day!

    October 13, 2013 at 8:16 am

    • Thank you very much!

      October 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm

  2. Wow! Going to have to check that out when we get home. Can’t believe there are so many different species there. To see 100 bluebirds would be amazing.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

    • Thanks, and you should check it out. It’s a nice little park. The migration is on right now, I lucked out and hit the jackpot on warblers and bluebirds, but that isn’t typical.

      October 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm

  3. Nice shots of all the flying birds. The berries that the warbler is eating look like poison ivy berries.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:41 am

    • Thanks, and they could have been, I didn’t check to see what they were.

      October 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

  4. Nice spot of the White-crowned Sparrow!

    October 13, 2013 at 8:57 am

    • Thanks, there’s millions of them around here now, more than I’ve ever seen before.

      October 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm

  5. Looks a great ‘patch’ to watch – I’m very envious!

    October 13, 2013 at 10:26 am

    • Thanks, you may want to check birding hotspot in your area on eBird, you may find a similar one near you.

      October 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      • Thanks for the tip!

        October 14, 2013 at 2:13 am

  6. That number of different birds is amazing to me. You did well to capture as many as you did.

    October 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    • Thanks, I needed that. I was kicking myself for getting as few species as I did compared to the number I saw.

      October 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm

  7. I have a special place in my heart for the phoebe. Not only because they’re good bug catchers, but we had one nest right by our dining room window where we could watch the chicks hatch and fledge. What a wonderful experience.

    October 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    • I’m glad that it brought back good memories for you.

      October 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm

  8. Nicely done; looks like you hit the proverbial jackpot in terms of species seen and photographed.

    October 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    • Thanks, but I wasn’t at all happy with most of the photos, I did much better today at Muskegon, a few real eye poppers!

      October 13, 2013 at 6:47 pm

  9. Each one of your pictures deserved a comment. They’re all inspiring. Congratulations on your blog!

    October 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    • Thanks, but I wasn’t happy with many of those photos, my next post promises some excellent shots.

      October 13, 2013 at 7:54 pm

  10. What a wonderful day you have had. How jealous I am with your beautiful autumn weather. Great finds you had on this adventure, and love the country lane image.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    • Thanks, it was a great day, but I’m not happy with the photos. In a few minutes, I’ll be posting some good ones from today.

      October 13, 2013 at 8:41 pm

  11. Wow! What a gem of a place. That first photo of the Nashville warbler is a real stunner! I loved all the photos in this series. It looks like you had a fabulous day!

    October 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    • Thanks, it was a great day!

      October 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm