Friday, October 13, 2017


The fall bird migration is underway.  My favorite birding habitat south of Traverse City has been devoid of Sandhill Cranes and Great Blue Herons for at least the last couple weeks.  Since the Boardman Lake hosts a variety of waterfowl year round, my bird photography has shifted to that area.

In Traverse City, the Boardman River drains into West Bay from Boardman Lake.  At the lake's north end, both Logan's Landing and Medalie Park provide excellent bird viewing spots.  Some waterfowl, like this family of Mute Swans, including two parents and four juveniles, are year-round lake residents. 

Mallard ducks are also common year-round inhabitants of Boardman Lake.  These male Mallards are on the hunt for any insects or crustaceans that are on or just below the lake's surface.

But during the fall migration, the waterfowl population explodes with many species using the lake as a good stopping point as they transition from one habitat to another.  Buffleheads are one of new ducks arriving at the Boardman.

Redheads are also part of the visiting migration.  Some of the waterfowl will stay until the Boardman Lake freezes over and they are forced to find a more hospitable location.

The ducks especially enjoy the old wooden pylons that dot the north end of the lake.  I enjoy seeing the ducks there because they're a bit closer and I can get better images of them.

For me, the catch of the day was this giant cormorant I saw on the far side of the lake.  I wish it had been closer, or that I'd had a longer lens.  I will be on the lookout for this big bird over the next few weeks.  It typically is here over the summer, but then moves on during the colder months


  1. What a beautiful series, Karen! Great colors, light and wonderful variety of waterfowl.

    1. Thanks, Jan. It was really a gray day, but I was surprised at how the lake picked up the subtle fall colors.

  2. What a great time to photograph waterfowl. The fall brings so many birds we only see during the fall migration. It’s also just a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Thanks for sharing your story about your day of shooting, I loved your shots.

    1. Thanks, Mark. I too enjoy seeing the new birds that fall brings. The cormorant was especially amazing as it stretched its huge wingspan. Glad you enjoyed my blog.