An August 1 tour of Little Platte Lake reminded us that summer birding need not be on foot and need not be boring. We met Mike Jones of the Benzie Conservation District at the DNR boat access off of Saffron Road. Before taking off in our kayaks and canoes we could see an adult Bald Eagle perched nearby. Mike led us around Sylvan Point to the east side of the lake, which abuts a large cedar swamp. In addition to Green and Great Blue Herons, Mike pointed out native phragmites and cattails, along with a number of other desirable plants and a large snapping turtle.
Moving south along the east shore of the lake we could see Blue-winged Teal and Mallards taking off, as well as Caspian Terns fishing. Snags along the shore provided perches for Belted Kingfishers, Eastern Kingbirds and a Red-headed Woodpecker. In the distance an adult Common Loon could be spotted—a successful nester on the lake this year.
When we reached the Dead Stream (pictured above), we were happy to see that the beavers that had dammed up the stream two years ago had tossed in the towel this summer. The birds on hand included Swamp Sparrows, Cedar Waxwings, an Alder Flycatcher and a female Wood Duck. Before heading back to the lake we heard a commotion and were treated to the spectacle of kingfishers mobbing a Red-shouldered Hawk.
All agreed that the trip was a memorable one well worth repeating.