Michigan Songbirds

Trip Dates: May 20-24, 2018

Tour Fee: $2550 includes 5 full days shooting in the field with mid-afternoon slideshows and photoshop demonstrations.

Tour Deposit: $800 (to be subtracted from the final balance due)

Target Group Size: 4 participants

From: Paradise, Michigan

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a wonderful transition zone from boreal forest to northern deciduous woodlands, tamarack bogs to grassy meadows which makes for a wonderful variety of species and habitats. During this photo tour, we will target many of the Boreal species that traditionally require traveling deep into Canadian wilderness to find - species like Cape May Warbler, Palm Warbler, Spruce Grouse, and Evening Grosbeak. Most of our efforts will be concentrated around Hiawatha National Forest where we will travel back roads. Surrounded by three Great Lakes, the entire area is very secluded and beautiful, and we are usually the only people for miles. This will be my 6th year running this popular photo tour.

 

Photo Tour Goals
Songbirds are usually treetop species and very difficult to photograph. Our goal is to obtain exceptional photos of 1-3 species per day. Quality over quantity.

Where to Stay
We will stay and meet each of the first four mornings at Magnuson Grand Hotel
Address: 8112 Michigan 123, Paradise, MI 49768
Phone: (906) 492-3770

Best airport: The city of Sault Ste Marie has a small airport but it may be a little pricey to land there. Sault Ste Marie is only an hour from Paradise, MI where we will meet each day. A cheaper option is to fly to Detroit, MI and then drive the remaining 6 hours.

Cell service:
Service is fair near the hotel and restaurants. Service is poor to non-existent while we are shooting in some of the remote forest areas.

Weather:
Be prepared for temperatures in the low forties in the early morning, when the birds are most active. Some years, we see 80 degrees by late afternoon, so dressing in layers is a good idea. We’ll be shooting rain or shine. Your shoes could get a little muddy or dirty if we have a recent rain or heavy morning due. Insects are rarely an issue at this time of year, but no one will laugh if you put on bug spray.

Sun data for Chippewa County, Michigan (longitude W84.3, latitude N46.5):
Sunrise 5:49am.   Sunset 9:22pm

Transportation:
Each participant must have their own transportation. Carpooling will be optional. Usually each participant follows me in their own vehicle through the forest. Once I find a cooperative bird, we pull off the road and start working on a setup.

Food:
I’ll have some bagels and granola bars available for the group in the morning. We will eat lunch and dinner as a group, but restaurant options will be generally somewhat humble and limited in the small towns in the area.

What to pack:

  • Tripod
  • DSLR camera
  • Your longest lens (600mm minimum when you count crop factor and tele-extenders)
  • Flash plus better beamer if desired
  • Extra memory cards or laptop to download images
  • Rain gear
  • Waterproof shoes recommended in case the grass is wet
  • Bug spray. There are some amazing birds (and rare orchids) around the bogs on this trip, but the insects can be pretty intense at times.
  • I strongly recommend bringing in insect hat or insect net to keep bugs away from your face. Some years it’s not necessary and other times we are really glad we had the head nets.
  • Notepad and pencil if you want to take notes during my photoshop demo
  • Bring a sample of your own work if you like. It can be fun to share during lunch break to get to know each other’s work.
  • A positive attitude. One negative person can put a cloud over the whole trip but good attitudes are contagious as well!
  • Waterproof shoes are not essential be can be really nice in case it rains.

 

Physical requirements:
We’ll shoot primarily from standing positions unless you prefer to bring along a camping stool. This photo tour is not physically demanding aside from requiring a lot of standing, but again, bring a folding chair or stool if you are concerned about getting tired. Probably 90% of our shooting will take place from the forest logging roads while we stand right next to our cars. Only once in a while we may wish to walk a hundred feet or so into a field or forest.

Likely Species on the Michigan Songbird Photo Tour - species in bold have historicly been the most cooperative, and a sampling of other species usually oblige as well:

  • Common Loon
  • Sandhill Crane
  • American Bittern
  • Upland Sandpiper
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Bald Eagle
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Swainson's Thrush
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Brown Creeper
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Pine Warbler
  • Golden-winged Warbler
  • Wilson's Warbler
  • American Redstart
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Northern Parula
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Canada Warbler
  • Mourning Warbler
  • Kirtland's Warbler
  • Palm Warbler
  • Ovenbird
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Song Sparrow
  • Clay-colored Sparrow
  • Lincoln's Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Pine Siskin
  • Purple Finch

Register for the trip by adding the deposit to your shopping cart at the top of the page.