35 Munuscong Wildlife
wildlife viewing |
directions and facility information
Photo: © Phil Seng
There are three primary viewing sites
on this large, state-owned wildlife area. A flat,
grassland area is adjacent to the Munuscong River.
This area was once farmed and has many shallow, man-made
ponds scattered throughout the open grassland. The
main viewing site is the coastal marsh area on Munuscong
Lake. The lake is actually part of the St. Mary’s
River, which connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
Both of these sites are undeveloped, but some amenities
are available at a nearby state forest campground
along the Munuscong River north of the coastal marsh
viewing area. The third viewing area is along the
dike at the east end of the campground. You can walk
on the dike but motorized vehicles are not allowed.
The sharptail grouse is named for its
pointed, wedge-shaped tail.
Like most species of grouse, sharptails
have an elaborate courtship ritual in the
spring that features the male dancing
and inflating his purple neck sacks to
attract a mate.
Photos: David Kenyon, MI DNR
A walk through the open grassland habitat and viewing
site provides a good opportunity to see meadowlarks,
bobolinks, field sparrows, sharptail grouse and many
species of waterfowl and shorebirds. Northern harriers
and other hawks are often seen hunting this open field
habitat and may be seen perched in nearby trees. Rough-legged
hawks and snowy owls, raptors that breed in the far
north, use this habitat for their wintering grounds
and hunt the small rodents common in the grassland
habitat. Great gray owls and hawk owls, though rare
winter visitors, have also been sighted in this and
other areas of the eastern Upper Peninsula. There
are no designated trails through this grassland/wetland
complex, but visitors are free to hike or ski wherever
they choose. This site is soggy during rainy periods,
so come prepared with trusty boots. The coastal marsh-viewing
site attracts numerous waterfowl and shorebirds and
wading birds. Tundra swans and other migratory waterfowl,
including diving ducks such as canvasbacks and redheads,
concentrate in this area spring and fall. Bald eagles,
ospreys, muskrats, and many wetland-related songbirds
are also attractions. The parking area is a good place
to view this wildlife, and a pair of binoculars, or
better yet a spotting scope, will improve your wildlife
viewing experience. Another viewing site is found
east of the state forest campground. Dikes once used
to create a separate wetland management pool are found
at the end of the road east of the campground. Park
at the gate and walk east along the dike, which provides
unique foot access into the emergent wetland habitat
on the edge of the lake, out beyond the natural shoreline.
This area is open to public hunting.
See the Michigan Department of Natural Resources hunting
guide for season dates.
Photo: © Phil Seng