Jack Pine Planting in Grayling

Help conserve jack pine forest – the Kirtland warbler’s paradise – by planting trees May 3

 Looking for an opportunity to get outside and give back to Michigan’s natural resources? OnSaturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.volunteers will gather in Grayling to plant an acre of jack pine seedlings.

Kirtland's warblerThe jack pine forest provides the primary nesting habitat for the rarest member of the wood warbler family, the Kirtland’s warbler. Very restrictive habitat requirements result in nests in just a few counties in Michigan’s northern Lower and Upper peninsulas, in Wisconsin and the province of Ontario and, currently, nowhere else on Earth. Kirtland’s warblers are ground-nesters that prefer jack pine stands more than 80 acres in size, where the nest can be concealed in mixed vegetation of grasses and shrubs below the living branches of 5- to 20-year-old trees.

“Birding is a rapidly growing hobby and a growing market – in 2011 birders spent $41 billion on trip-related expenses in the United States,” said Abigail Ertel, Kirtland’s warbler coordinator for Huron Pinesciting a recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report. “The Kirtland’s warbler is one of the rarest songbirds in North America, and northern Michigan is the place to see this amazing species, which creates an opportunity for local communities and the state to benefit economically.”

Biologists, researchers and volunteers observed 2,004 singing males during the official 2013Kirtland’s warbler survey period; 2,063 males were observed in 2012. In 1974 and 1987, when the lowest survey numbers were recorded, only 167 singing males were found.

“Huron Pines is excited to be partnering with the DNR to organize the jack pine planting day,” said Ertel. “We have a strong history of working with the DNR to accomplish conservation projects, and this volunteer event is a great way to celebrate this work while providing an exciting, hands-on learning experience for everyone involved.”

To join in on the fun, please register to attend at www.huronpines.orgVolunteers will meet for this free event at 9 a.m. at Staley Lake Road in Grayling, just steps from the Au Sable River.

Volunteers should bring gloves and appropriate footwear and expect moderate physical activity. A reminder with location and event details will be emailed to participants before the event.

Water, coffee and snacks will be provided. There will be sack lunches and a free gift from Gates Au Sable Lodge. Tshirts and e-subscriptions to Michigan Out-of-Doors magazine also will be available, provided by Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC).

Additional support is provided by MUCC, Gates Au Sable Lodge, Fairmount Sand Mining Company and Saving Birds Thru Habitat.

For more information on the Kirtland’s warbler, visit www.michigan.gov/wildlife.

Contact: Dan Kennedy, 517-284-6194 or Huron Pines, 989-448-2293, ext. 21 orrsvp@huronpines.org

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Michigan 2014 Fishing License

The trout opener is this weekend!

Have you bought your 2014 Michigan Fishing License? Your 2013 license was only good until March 31, 2014.

Many changes have occurred for the 2014 license year that began March 2014. You can read about them on the Michigan DNR website.

The biggest change for residents is the removal of the restricted fishing license. All licensing is now all-species, meaning you can fish for trout or salmon.

Another change I discovered is the removal of the voluntary youth fishing license. The cost was minimal – $2 plus a Michigan Sportsman license if they did not already have one. The great thing was that the state would receive around $8 back from the federal government for each of those licenses, so it was a great way to raise funds for the resource.

So head out to your favorite retailer or do it online. I like the online offer – I print 3 copies – 1 for my trout pack, 1 for my kayak pack, and 1 in case I lose one of the other two. Sign, laminate, and go.

Without a license, you can only fish June 7, 8 this summer for free!

See you on the water!

Michigan Fishing Season Dates 2014
Chart from Michigan DNR

Coosa Maiden Voyage

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Jackson Coosa hits the water

I finally got a chance to get the Jackson Coosa in the water! At least in the lower part of the state, the ice is gone (Lake Superior is still 63% iced). It was in the 70’s today and I couldn’t pass it up.

I grabbed a fly rod and headed over to Lake Sixteen, a local lake in Lake Orion. It is usually only used by kayaks, canoes, and rowboats – no gas motors.

My report: my kayak stroke is weak, my fly casting was abysmal, I didn’t find any fish, but I was glad for the opportunity to be on the water again.

Any good reports from anybody else?

Backyard Beauty

I just got to eat lunch on my back patio.

For those of you in Michigan, this isn’t a surprise. I kicked the last bit

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Backyard in the spring

of snow off yesterday, so it is clear (there is still snow in parts of the yard). But it’s blue skies and sunny.

The yellow finches mating plumage is coming out – and they are bright. Robins are bouncing around the ground. There was a blue jay on the corn I put out for the squirrels. Several other birds on the feeders singing about the warmth that has finally arrived.

Time to clean up the winter mess – leaves and branches. I need to put away the tables and chairs from the winter hibernation.

But for now, spring has sprung. Now if only the ice would leave the lakes…