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Crazy Fun at Tawas!

Camping at Tawas Point State Park in east Michigan was a good choice. September left the campground pleasantly un-full for the 5 days I was there. And bonus, my friends and wildlife mentors, Randy and Sally Clarke drove up from Pinconning to chauffeur me around both Saturday and Sunday for some excellent shooting (photo-wise) and badly needed knowledge of the local wild inhabitants.

Discoveries included Tawas Point for some warblers, shore birds and a few surprise first-timers for me. Northern Flickers, Palm Warbler, American Redstart, Black-bellied Plover, and Yellow-rumped Warbler for some. While walking around the trail near the beach, there could be seen thousands of Monarch Butterflies, all working on their 2,000-mile pilgrimage to Mexico.

The next place yielded some avian excitement over the next few days -- Tuttle Marsh. My captures were assisted by Phil Odum, a well-known birder, who pointed out Northern Harriers on their low-altitude quest for fine dining on mice and other critters. Included from that area were Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Hooded Mergansers, Greater Yellowlegs, a colorful Kingfisher in flight, and one very cooperative poser, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron. The next day at the Marsh offered up a distant perched Bald Eagle, more Yellowlegs, a Green Heron, and a couple of Rusty Blackbirds.

On Sunday, our last day out with Randy and Sally, we had some fun observing ducks in the East Tawas State Harbor. Included were Mallards, Pied-billed Grebes, and the ever-present Ring-billed Gulls. Excitement when Sally pointed out a Mink! It was chowing down on a dead Carp, but we did manage to get a few photos when the critter had withdrawn its head from inside the fish!

All in all, a wonderful trip with promises to return. I expect to encounter more rapters there some day during migration seasons. Tawas is now on my list of favorite places to camp and shoot. All the aforementioned birds and extras are included in the Gallery below. Thanks for viewing and feel free to send along your comments.


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