North Woods Rookeries
The Maple River Wetlands within the Maple River State Game Area is the largest contiguous wetland complex in middle Michigan. A large heron rookery is easily visible in the tops of flooded trees just west of U.S. 27 in Unit A of the four-unit wildlife management area. From Lansing, take U.S. 27 north. After crossing the Maple River there is a sign for the parking lot on the east side of the road.
The West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve has an active heron rookery with more than 200 individuals that is easily seen from the west end of the greenway trail. The site is located in a suburb only 20 miles from downtown Detroit. From Detroit, head north on I-75 to West I-696. Head west to the Orchard Lake Road exit and turn north. Travel 6 miles to Pontiac Trail and turn left (west). Drive for 1.5 miles to Arrowhead Road, turn left (south), and go 0.5 mile to the park entrance.
The 4,500-acre Rifle River Recreation Area has a great blue heron rookery that can be seen from the hiking trail along Skunk Creek. Trumpeter swans may also be seen in this area. From Rose City in Ogemaw County, take F-28 east (also called the Rose City Road) nearly 5 miles to the entrance to the recreation area on the right (south) side of the road.
Gene's Pond DNR Forest Campground in the UP has a great blue heron and cormorant rookery in the trees near the campground. From Felch on Michigan 69, go west 0.5 mile to County Road 581 and turn right (north). Drive 5 miles and turn left (west) at the sign reading Public Access. Go 1 mile to the parking area for boat access in order to view the rookery from the water. To reach the campground on the north side of the pond, take Leeman Road (County Road 422) to the signs for Gene's Pond Forest Campground.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication