To reach Whitefish Point, at the
junction of Route 123 and Whitefish Point Road in Paradise, drive
11 miles directly north along the
lakeshore to the visitor center.
Each year, thousands of
songbirds, raptors, and water
birds funnel through the point
on their migratory routes
between breeding and wintering
grounds. Roughly 330 species
have been recorded at the point.
It’s the site of a popular hawk
watch and both songbird and
owl banding stations.
Pathways crisscross the sandy
point covered with stunted
pines and brush, so you’ll often
encounter feeding flocks of
songbirds. Along the lakeshore,
you’ll see sea ducks and loons
and meandering shorebirds and
raptors overhead. Piping plovers
have nested on the dunes.
Whitefish Point is renowned
for many rarities that expert
spotters find during migration.
Spruce grouse, male.
The impressive list for this northern landform includes white-winged dove, yellow-headed
blackbird, prairie falcon, yellow-breasted chat, ash-throated flycatcher, American avocet, prairie
warbler, all three jaegers—you
get the idea!
During my mid-September
visit last year, observatory staff
posted ruby-throated hummingbird, parasitic jaeger, scarlet
tanager, and bobolink on eBird.
Birding the brushy dunes and
stunted forest around the banding station despite a stiff wind,
my list included both kinglet
species, a gray catbird, a Cooper’s hawk, an American kestrel,
hermit thrush, rose-breasted
grosbeak, and a half-dozen warbler species.
Michigan’s eastern Upper
Peninsula is a treasure-trove for
birders, awaiting discovery. Your
journey through the UP will take
you through a landscape of pristine and scenic forests, rich agricultural fields, and lakeshores
with sparkling clear waters.
You’ll be amazed by your trip list
at day’s end. a
Jerry Uhlman is an inveterate
traveler and birder. He has written
two Virginia bird-finding guides
and numerous magazine articles,
including frequent contributions
to Bird Watcher’s Digest. He cur-
rently writes Flyways and Byways,
a nature column in the Richmond