Perogies and Spruce Grouse go together

I had spent the morning watching hawks from the tower at Whitefish Point. Impressive numbers of Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned, Red-tailed, and Broad-winged Hawks rose into the sky by mid-morning, stalling along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Whitefish Point sticks out into the cold great lake into a northeastern direction and is one of the top migration sites in North America. In addition to thousands of raptors collecting over the point in spring and fall, waterfowl and loons stream by the point on their way north, with seabirds occurring in lower numbers.

Whitefish Point Michigan, Photo Stephan Lorenz

By 11 am the sky was full of birds and I watched Accipiters tempt the water and circle back overland. Two massive birds approached from the south. Side by side at the same height a Bald and Golden Eagle sailed past. I wandered through the small patches of coniferous forest, where on some occasions large numbers of migrating owls roost, towards the lake shore. I struck up a conversation with the official waterbird counter for the season and within an hour found myself at his father’s trailer, eating pergogies, drinking beer, and talking birds of course. He showered me with local advice and one I couldn’t pass up. Along a small dirt road a few miles away, look for a concrete block near the road and walk in among the spruces.

I followed the advice, found the incongruous block of concrete and walked in among the loose short trees. Within minutes I was face to face with a male Spruce Grouse, apparently offended by my intrusion it ran circles around me. A second one was nearby and acted as “tame”. Later in the day, a Ruffed Grouse was not as obliging.

Spruce Grouse, Michigan Photo Stephan Lorenz

Spruce Grouse, Photo Stephan Lorenz

Ruffed Grouse Michigan, Photo Stephan Lorenz

Overall the upper peninsula of Michigan is a great place to come to grips with three species of grouse as I managed to see Sharp-tailed Grouse the next day.


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