Grand Traverse Audubon Club

April 2013

April 29, 2013


 From the pen of the President


International Migratory Bird count


Surprisingly, it is the end of April and the migratory bird count is only a week or two away. I need volunteers to count. It will be on May 11th. As far as I know it is only Grand Traverse County. If this is incorrect, please let me know.

I have heard from a couple of you about your areas and that you will be participating. If you are going to be participating and have not e-mailed or talked to me, please let me know. I want to make sure we are not double counting areas so that we do not have inaccurate data. Last year we had no issues so I am assuming this year will be the same.

Personally, I have done this count for the last 4 years, but this will be the first I will not be doing the count. I will be at Ferris State University graduating with my Masters Degree in Special Education.

If you have any questions before or during the count, please do not hesitate to call me. Just don’t be alarmed if I do not get back with you on the count day! 🙂


Phone number: 231-946-4715


Missy Rassel, President






Grand Traverse Audubon Club Board for 2013


President – Missy Rassel – (231) 946-4715

First Vice President and Program Director – Leonard Graf –(231)  946-5120

Second Vice President and Environmental – Julie Winkler – (231) 275-0454

Secretary – Karen Crane – (231) 421-1001

Treasurer – John Kreag – 264-8969 or Cell phone (231) 360-0943

Newsletter – Shirley Mesch – (231) 946-3624

Members at large – Stephanie Podolan – (231) 276-6880

Heather Peyton – (231) 392-5699

Michigan Audubon Representative (MAS) John Mesch – (231)946-3624

Past President – Holly Vaughn – (231) 342-3999.






Arcadia Marsh Trip Report – Spring 2013

Arcadia Field Trip


I groaned when I awoke at 6:00 Saturday morning, April 20, to see an inch of slippery snow and 24 degrees on the thermometer.  Even with the inhospitable spring weather, eleven brave souls endured the wind and freezing temperatures to see what could be found at Arcadia Lake and Marsh this year.  Joe and Elise Brooks, Leonard and Barb Graf, Curt and Kathy Hofer, Ed Kaminski, Ken Sapkowski and Glenda Eikenberry, Jeremy Joswick and I began our day at Memorial Park in Benzonia where we found one very cold Osprey on its nest atop the baseball field light post.  A few other songbirds were found before we moved on to Arcadia Lake and Marsh.

The wind whipped around us as we viewed the gulls, ducks, swans, loons and grebes on the lake.  We moved along Chaimberlain, St. Pierre, Franklin and Hull Roads to add some songbirds, birds of prey and grouse to our list.  By 11:30, our group started to dwindle and by lunchtime, only the Grafs and Jeremy and I remained.  We dined at Shirley’s Place in Onekama before scoping the waterfowl on Portage Lake.  At 2:00 we called it a day!  We ended up with 67 species.  Highlights included some lovely Northern Pintails on Arcadia Lake, a very cooperative Merlin in an orchard along M-22, and Brown Creepers creeping up the bark of a birch tree with Golden-crowned Kinglets flitting around above.                                                 Holly Vaughn



Regular Meetings and Scheduled Field Trips.


Our 2013 year continues with great programs and activities for the coming year. We hope you’ll join us to enjoy fellowship and to learn more about our local bird life. ALL REGULAR meetings are held at the Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Road in Traverse City. (where the railroad track crosses the road 1.5 miles south of S. Airport Rd). A brief business meeting begins at 7:00, followed by an informative and entertaining program at 7:30. [Field trips are held in June and July but there are no Regular Meetings held]









9-12 – Field trip: Magee Marsh/Ottawa NWR, Lake Erie, Ohio. Meet at Magee Marsh, West Boardwalk at 6:00 p.m. on Friday. Bring your own food for a picnic supper. Contact John Mesch (231) 499-1439 for more details.


11 – Grand Traverse Migratory Bird Count. Contact Melissa Rassel at (231) 946-4715 for additional information.



17-19 – Field Trip. Tawas Point State Park and Tuttle Marsh. Meet at the Lighthouse Friday and Saturday 7:30 a.m Leaders Leonard and Barb Graf


22 – Field trip – Birding  at Otter Creek. 7:00 a.m. Meet at the Northwest section of Meijer’s parking lot. Contact Heather Peyton at 231 392-5699 in case of weather cancelations, delays or further information.


23 – Regular meeting: Potluck Dinner and Birding at the Boardman River Nature Center. NOTE 5:30 p.m. meeting Time.  Bring your own table service and a dish to share. Leaders: All Board Members. Contact Missy Rassel at 946-4715 for further information.




8 – Field Trip: Boardman River Clean-Sweep. Canoeing and cleaning of Boardman River. We will be canoeing or kayaking and cleaning the Boardman River from Shumsky’s Landing to Beitner Bridge. If you need to borrow a canoe or have further questions, contact John Mesch at 231 946-3624


29 – Field Trip: Introduction to Butterfly Gardens. Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Boardman River Nature Center. Leaders Julie and Matt Winkler.




20 – Field Trip: Wildflowers and Birds. 9:00 a.m. at the Boardman Nature Center. Contact Molly McCombs at 929-1514 for your questions.




24 – Field Trip: Observe Bird Banding. 8:30 a.m. at the Boardman River Nature Center. Contact Leonard Graf at 946-5120 for information.


24 – Regular Meeting: Pot-luck Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. at the Boardman River Nature Center. Bring a dish to share and your own table service. And don’t forget your binoculars. Contact any one of the Board Members for further information.










4-8 – Field Trip: Seney NWR. Birding by canoe, bicycle, and on foot. Meet at Big Cedar Campground in Germfask, 2:00 p.m. Wednesday and or 8:00 a.m. Thursday – Saturday. Leaders Leonard  and Barb Graf (231) 946-5120.


26 – Regular Meeting. Boardman Dam Removal update presented by Steve Largent. 7:00 p.m. at the Boardman River Nature Center. Contact him at 941-0960.




12 – Field Trip. Fall Colors and Bird Hikes, Saturday at  9:00 a.m. at the Boardman River Nature Center. Heather Peyton leader. For any questions call 941-0960.


19 – ANNUAL MEETING AND DINNER . 6:00 p.m. at Twin Lakes Park, 6800 North Long Lake Road. Program:  Birds of Prey by Joe Rogers of the Wildlife Recovery Association. Send your reservations to John Kreag, phone (231) 264-8969) – cell (231) 360-0943.




21 – Regular meeting. Owl Banding and Research in the Straits area, presented by Ed Pike. 7:00 p.m. at the Boardman River Nature Center.




19 – Regular meeting. Annual members Photo fest. Bring photos, videos and other birding “show and tell”. 7:00 p.m.  at the Boardman River Nature Center.




December 14 – Grand Traverse Area – Coordinator-Ed Moehle (231) 947-8821

December 15 – Antrim County Area – Coordinator-John Kreag – (231) 264-8969 or 360-0943

December 28 – Leelanau County Area – Coordinator Matt Winkler – (248)686-6699.


Lake Erie Adventure  –  May 9,10,11,12, 2013

May 11 is International Migratory Bird Day, and GT Audubon will be heading to Ohio for our annual SW Lake Erie adventure.

Here is my activities plan:

Thursday, 5/9: Bird Oak Openings Metropark. Call my cellphone for directions.

Friday 5/10: Maumee Bay State Park and Magee Marsh. Gather at the Magee Marsh west boardwalk entrance for a picnic supper at 6PM.

Saturday, 5/11: 8AM drive through Ottawa NWR and Metzger Marsh. Note: the Ottawa drive will be open on Saturday only this year.  Supper will be at 7PM at the Eagle’s Nest Restaurant, at 16 S. Stadium, Oregon, Ohio, just southwest of Maumee Bay State Park.  At supper we will share checklists.

Sunday, 5/12: Wish your mother Happy Mother’s Day, and then bird Magee Marsh again.  Drive home whenever you want to.

We will keep in touch on our hand-held radios. Tune to channel 10 and sub-channel 10.  My email address is and my cellphone number is 231-499-1439.

Ohio state park reservations are at 866-644-6727.        John Mesch


Tawas State Park and Tuttle Marsh – May 17 – 19


The 2013 annual Grand Traverse Audubon Tawas State Park field trip will be on the weekend of May 17-19.


Each morning at 5:45am there will be a dawn walk to the tip of Tawas Point. Meet at camp site 133. A few years ago this walk produced an Eurasian Wigeon.  At 7:30 a.m. each day we will assemble at the light house to bird the park.  Mostly the plan for each day will be determined by the bird activity.  One evening we will travel to Tuttle Marsh in hopes of hearing or seeing rails and bitterns.


Any questions call us at 231-620-3024 (cell phone) –                    Leonard & Barb Graf





“IT IS SPRING, and soon we’ll be seeing babies, babies everywhere, baby birds and animals that is.. Please be cautious when you come across them and resist the temptation to “rescue” them. More often than not, they are in a learning phase in their goal to become independent. It is far better to take a deep breath, step back and away. That being said,….

Kathy Flagel has provided the name and phone number of an organization, which is licensed to do wildlife rehabilitation. Please find her information and article below.


Enjoy the wonders of the month of May and its great adventure(s) with the return of our migrating birds and the wonderful sound of our “stay-at-home” bird families, as they too raise their little families


“The ARK” – Wildlife Rehab Center

The ARK is a wildlife rehab center near St. Helen, Michigan. They have state and federal permits to care for almost every kind of wild animal, from turtles to opossums to foxes, including all species of birds. ARK director Ruth Fruehauf has been rehabbing wildlife for 20 years. So if you find animals that might need help, whether adult or young, give the ARK a call (989-389-3305). They can help you decide if the animal needs to come to the ARK, and advise how to catch and transport it. The ARK is a 501c(3) non-profit, and always looking for volunteers! Check out their website at


Kathy Flegel



Your 2013 Treasurer is John Kreag. Please mail all dues to him at :

7565 N. West Torch Lake Dr., Kewadin, MI 49648

Checks should be made out to: Grand Traverse Audubon Club.





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