WIDMSV – Birding in Michigamme

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WIDMSV? What I Did on My Summer Vacation!


I had been really looking forward to birding the Pesheekee Grade! (To you non-birders out there, this is a road near Michigamme, Michigan that is known for great birding.) We were really hoping that we would finally get our two “target birds” (Boreal Chickadee and Gray Jay) here. What I did get was a new appreciation for black flies! (Hint: They draw blood and leave marks!)

Gray Jay


We left the Bed &  Breakfast without the ‘Breakfast’ part so that we could arrive at the Pesheekee Grade early enough to find some really terrific birds. There are all kinds of habitat along this road. There are areas of dense conifers, open grasslands, and bogs. Again, there were several large mixed flocks in which there was at least one ‘possible’ Boreal Chickadee. I’m not one to claim a bird unless I’m sure, so it stays off my life-list until I know for certain.

Boreal Chickadee


By far, the most common bird for the entire trip was Red-breasted Nuthatch. They seemed to be everywhere! We heard them at virtually every stop. The next three most-common species were Red-Eyed Vireo (surprisingly good looks at a usually concealed bird), American Redstart and Yellow-rumped Warbler. It was wonderful to see and hear so many warbler species this time of year. We in the Lower Peninsula get to see these gorgeous birds during Spring migration and then again in the fall (with their more muted plumages). In the UP, they were all in their spiffy-best feathers. Among other birds seen and heard at Pesheekee were Veery, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, Rusty Blackbirds, Northern Parula, Palm Warblers, and Common Ravens. There were numerous House Wrens, Blue Jays, and many Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. I was somewhat surprised by the lack of Northern Cardinals.


Red-breasted Nuthatch

We also met a gentleman who was out walking his dogs. It was a little disconcerting to note that he had a holster with one BIG gun. (It was a 45 like Dirty Harry’s!) That was a reminder that you can never be off your guard as there are all kinds of critters out there. The area is known for moose – although we didn’t see any. I know that there are also bears and coyotes. We did see quite a few deer while there, as well. I would definitely like to go back to this road earlier in the day and at a time of year that would be more likely to find more boreal species. I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t note how rough the road is. It’s paved (after a fashion), but it’s got more rills and dips than a roller coaster. It could definitely could use major work!


Up Next: Visiting Houghton and The Eagle Has Landed


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