Tag Archives: bird walk

Natural Areas Stewardship Top 5 from 2015

The Oakland Township Parks stewardship program had an extraordinary year in 2015. It was a year of growth, both here on the Natural Areas Notebook and for our capacity to do habitat restoration. Whether you’ve been following the Natural Areas Notebook from the first blog post or just found us, you might have missed some of these milestones from 2015.  If you had a favorite memory from this blog in 2015, please share it in the comments below!

1. Bird Walks

Remember the deep snow and frigid temperatures last winter? We launched our weekly bird walks in the depths of winter, breaking cabin fever (and getting some pictures of spectacular winter scenes too). We had a great fun observing the mosaic of bird life change with the seasons. Join us when we start again in January!

Swamp sparrow

2. Learning Together

Why are we planting prairie in Michigan? What is prescribed fire? What are invasive species? How do we control Phragmites? What does it look like to landscape with native plants? Through Stewardship Talks, Phragmites Control Workshops, and Volunteer Workdays we learned together how to appreciate, protect, and restore our natural heritage. Look for more events to learn about coyotes, oak openings, and prescribed fire in 2016! (events will be posted soon).

Mike Hahn of Natural Areas Preservation in Ann Arbor fills us in on the finer points of regular maintenance and field repair for chainsaws.
Mike Hahn of Natural Areas Preservation in Ann Arbor fills us in on the finer points of regular maintenance and field repair for chainsaws.

3. This Week at Bear Creek

Cam Mannino joined us as a volunteer Park Steward early in 2015 and soon after began her weekly posts, “This Week at Bear Creek.” Each week Cam took us on a virtual tour of Bear Creek Nature Park, spirited along by her agile pen (well, keyboard) and insightful camera lens. I learned a lot about the insects, birds, and other critters that call Bear Creek home, and I hope you did too! Check out some favorite posts below.

Cam in red winter coat BC

4. Planting Prairies

Punctuating nearly two years of preparation, we planted 38 acres of native wildflowers and grasses in prairie/oak barrens restoration areas at Charles Ilsley Park and Draper Twin Lake Park. Financial and technical assistance from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, through their Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, allowed us to complete this phase of our ambitious grassland restoration project. Be sure to visit these parks over the next few years to watch the grasslands mature. Look for more big habitat restoration projects at Charles Ilsley Park, Gallagher Creek Park, and Stony Creek Ravine Nature Park in 2016!

The furrows begin to form as the seed is planted.
The furrows begin to form as the seed is planted.

5. Observing, Reflecting, Summarizing

It is amazing how easy it is to forget the little details (and even the important ones!). By taking time to carefully observe, thoughtfully reflect, and accurately summarize our stewardship work, we can refine and improve our work going forward.

hummer silhouette copy - Version 2

Happy New Year from the Stewardship Team!

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Get Outside! September Nature and Stewardship Events

Color is touching the edges of some tree leaves, goldenrods color entire fields yellow, and the days are getting shorter. Maybe it will even get cooler some time soon! Either way, don’t miss the beauty of September – plan now to get outside this month by participating in our nature programs or stewardship events.

Nature Programs

Check out the Nature Programs page on the Parks website for the full list of events this fall. In addition to a Morning Hike Out at Cranberry Lake Park on September 16 and the Harvest Moon Walk on September 26, you really won’t want to miss the Fall Mushrooms of Michigan program on September 13.

The Fall Mushrooms of Michigan program from 1-3 pm on September 13 will be at Lost Lake Nature Park (846 Lost Lake Trail) and led by Phil Tedeschi from the Michigan Mushroom Nature Club! This program is for adults 18+ ($5 residents, $7 non-residents). Register as soon as possible (call 248-651-7810)! Here’s the description from our fall newsletter:

Take a tour of the amazing world of mushrooms. We will learn about where they grow while inspecting numerous samples up close. Discover the many types of mushrooms in Michigan in this unique and very practical program from a mushroom expert. We'll take a walk (no picking) to search for mushrooms in the park too! There is no substitute for the excellent opportunity of doing mushroom hunting with a true mushroom expert!
What kind of mushrooms are these? Attend the class to find out!
What kind of mushrooms are these? Attend the class to find out!

Bird Walks

We visit different parks every week on Wednesday morning at 8 am. Walks last about 1 to 1.5 hours. Join us as we find new birds passing through during fall migration. We have some binoculars available if you don’t have your own. In addition to honing your bird identification skills, we’ll also give you tips on the latest apps for identifying birds and citizen science. Here’s the schedule for the rest of September:

  • September 9, Cranberry Lake Park
  • September 16, Lost Lake Nature Park
  • September 23, Draper Twin Lake Park
  • September 30, Charles Ilsley Park
Sandhill cranes on the shores of Lost Lake Nature Park.
Sandhill cranes on the shores of Lost Lake Nature Park.

Bear Creek Nature Park Invasive Shrub Control

We will be working to remove invasive shrubs like buckthorn, autumn olive, and privet from our special natural areas at Bear Creek (meet in the Snell Rd parking lot). Join us from 9 am to 12 pm. SEPTEMBER 8 WORKDAY HAS BEEN CANCELLED. We still hope to be out there on September 15, 22, and 29. Hope to see you there!

SE Michigan Summer Conservation Corps crew, Bear Creek Nature Park, July 2014.
SE Michigan Summer Conservation Corps crew, Bear Creek Nature Park, July 2014.