Walking into spring with the birds

Walking into spring with the birds

From left, Daryl Bernard, Seven Ponds executive director, Clarkston-Area Backyard Birders Club founder Bob McGowan, naturalist Nancy Kautz, and club members Bill Haney and Wally Niezguski look for some interesting birds.

BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Clarkston birdwatchers kept busy spotting feathered friends flitting through the trees of the Seven Ponds Nature Center in Dryden, May 23.
“There’s a chimney swift – looks like a cigar with wings,” said Daryl Bernard, Seven Ponds executive director, giving a tour to Clarkston-Area Backyard Birders Club members Bob McGowan, Bill Haney, and Wally Niezguski.
A loud “purdy purdy purdy” call signalled the arrival of a cardinal.
“They are very purdy,” said Nancy Kautz, naturalist.
Other birds spotted and verified in their reference books included catbirds, brown creepers, red-winged blackbirds, sandhill cranes, warblers, purple martins, orioles, and goldfinches.

Bill Haney checks a book for identification. Photos by Phil Custodio

Launched less than a year ago, the Clarkston club has grown to more than 70 members. It meets monthly at The Gateway on M-15, as well as for field trips to places like Pt. Pelee, Ontario, and Seven Ponds. New members and visitors are welcome, with no fees, dues, or costs of any kind.
“In fact, we are happy to provide free coffee and cookies,” said McGowan, founder and president of the Clarkston club. “We enjoy The Gateway’s patio and parklike setting in the warm months and its spectacular atrium the rest of the year. It’s strictly casual and the most fun you can have without binoculars.”
Spring in Michigan is a special time for bird watchers on the lookout for migrating birds, McGowan said.
“Our members have already been sharing stories of interesting and unusual sightings,” he said. “Every year, the spring months are highly active as resident species are busy in our backyards, feeding and nesting. Add to that the visits from migrating waterfowls, hawks, and especially the dozens of warbler species passing through.”
Seven Ponds provides bird walks, tours, and other opportunities to walk its trails. You don’t have to be good at bird walks to enjoy it, Kautz said.
“When you’re birding, you’re in the moment. I love it,” she said.
“The nice thing about bird walks is you never know what to expect, there’s always something unique that can happen,” Haney said.
Call 810-796-3200 for information on Seven Ponds.