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3854 Crawford Road ● Dryden, MI 48428-9776 ● (810) 796-3200

TRAIL REPORTS

Seven Ponds Nature Center encompasses nearly 500 acres of woodlands, wetlands, lakes, ponds, prairies, and fields. There are seven miles of trails for you to explore and enjoy. Please check-in at the nature center prior to venturing out on the trails. Our trails are open to guests Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and open to Seven Ponds members dawn to dusk, every day of the year. 

CURRENT TRAIL CONDITIONS

November 14, 2019: SNOW! With the recent heavy snowfall, our trails have a very early layer of snow. Bring your snowshoes or cross-country skis and get in a mid-autumn winter workout!

RECENT OBSERVATIONS

  • A female ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK has been seen at the nature center feeders and the director's residence feeders each of the past four days. This bird should have migrated south in September, and should be enjoying balmy weather in Central or South America by now. For some reason it has decided to stay with us, even surviving a low temperature of 3F last night. Amazing! (11/13/19)
  • Wild Turkeys have been raiding the nature center feeders in large numbers the past few days, perhaps compelled to forage here due to the deep snow in the woods. It's fun to watch these large birds scraping the ground under the feeders in search of seeds. (11/13/19)
  • American Tree Sparrows have joined the Dark-eyed Juncos, truly marking the start of the winter season! (11/12/19)
  • Fox Sparrows have been seen working under the foliage around the building. Fox Sparrows are one of the largest sparrows, and migrate through our area during November. They spend much of their time foraging in leaf litter for various invertebrates, but they also eat seeds, fruits, and buds. (11/5/19)
  • Numerous Whitetail Deer "buck scrapes" can be found throughout the nature center property. Look for a small area of freshly cleared soil on the ground, with some overhanging branches about head-height. A buck uses scrapes to make his presence in an area known to other bucks by dispensing his scent on the ground and the branches above the scrape.
  • Gray Squirrels (gray and black phase) are feasting on the sugar maple seeds in the front of the interpretive building. It's fun to watch these acrobatic rodents dangling from the ends of the maple branches.
  • The juncos are here! The juncos are here! Dark-eyed Juncos are aften call "snowbirds" because they seem to arrive shortly before the first snowstorm of the year. Well, they're here! (10/20/19)

203 bird species have been observed at Seven Ponds! For recent sightings posted to eBird, click the eBird logo to the right.

 

Our satellite properties are visited less frequently, but offer different habitat for birds. Check out the eBird reports for these two areas below:

Jonathan Woods Nature Preserve eBird reports

Richie Pond Nature Preserve eBird reports

Paul's Woods

Paul's Woods is a mature beech-maple forest bordering a swamp. The trail is a loop of approximately 1/2 mile, and includes a wide, flat trail through the forest and a winding boardwalk through the swamp, which borders Miller Pond. Get a close-up look at the beaver lodge on Treetop Pond, and check out Big Pond from the observation tower.

North-80

The North-80 is located on the north side of Crawford Road, and has an extensive trail network that winds through old fields, a wildlife orchard, young forests, and an old fence row. Two bridges cross the drain, and an observation tower gives you a panoramic view of the field and Waterfowl Pond. During spring and summer look for Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows using the nest boxes in the field.

Earl's Prairie

Earl's Prairie is a nine-acre reconstructed tall grass prairie. Bordered by pine trees most of the way around, the prairie truly comes into its own during late summer, when the prairie flowers are blooming. Enjoy the wide-open sky and prairie view from the observation tower. 

Woodland Wildflower Area

Located near the nature center and containing many ephemerals, the Woodland Wildflower Area is a wonderful place to visit in the spring. A wide variety of wildflowers and ferns awaits you in this enclosed area. 

Jonathan Woods

Jonathan Woods is located a few miles southwest of the nature center on Jonathan Road. This 145 acre preserve is mature hardwood forest that includes a large, leatherleaf bog and a cold water brook with a hemlock stand. Greatly affected by past glacial activity, the terrain here is rolling and hilly. 

Richie Pond Preserve

Richie Pond Preserve is located on Hosner Road and includes a grassland and small ponds, as well as a marsh bordering Richie Pond.

Along the Trail

Miller Pond Boardwalk autumn

Miller Pond Boardwalk

The 1/4 mile boardwalk winds along the shore of Treetop and Miller ponds, and provides access to an interesting swamp forest habitat, with cattails, skunk cabbage, and views of both ponds. A small platform at the north end overlooks an active beaver lodge.

Observation Platforms

Three raised observation platforms are located throughout the nature center grounds. In Paul's Woods, a platform overlooks Big Pond, the largest of the Seven Ponds. In the North-80, a platform overlooks Waterfowl Pond and the neighboring grassland. In Earl's Prairie, a platform provides a grand view of the entire nine-acre tallgrass prairie.

Observation platform on the tallgrass prairie
A-Frame

A-Frame Bridge

This unique bridge spans the channel between Treetop Pond and Little Pond, and leads to Paul's Woods. It's a wonderful place to view wildlife, and is always worthy of a pause to enjoy the view. First constructed in 1968, it was rebuilt in the 1990s and again in 2011.

Waterfowl Pond

Located in the North-80, Waterfowl Pond is a small, shallow pond with plenty of cattail marsh, and is an excellent place to observe ducks, herons, rails, muskrats, and other wildlife. An observation platform provides an overhead view. Water from this pond drains into the marsh of Long Pond.

Waterfowl Pond at Sunset
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Treetop Pond Teaching Platform

This dock is located at the base of the hill behind the nature center building, and provides an excellent view of Treetop Pond and the A-Frame Bridge. Check out the large beaver lodge visible across the pond, and look for signs of their activity in the woods around the dock.

Demonstration Gardens

These gardens are located in front of the Interpretive Building, and display numerous native trees and shrubs, demonstrating that you can landscape your own yard using native plant species.

Demo gardens
butterfly garden sign
songbird nest box

Butterfly Garden

Maintained by our Butterfly Gardeners volunteer group, the Butterfly Garden is located near the driveway loop. Its plants provide nectar for butterflies and other insects, and serve as hosts for butterfly larvae.

Songbird Nesting Boxes

The nature center maintains over 100 songbird nest boxes, scattered throughout the North-80, Earl's Prairie, the Richie Pond Preserve, and around the nature center building. These boxes are utilized by Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, House Wrens, and Black-capped Chickadees. Volunteers monitor these nest boxes, collecting data which is submitted to NestWatch, a citizen science program conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Herb Garden

Maintained by our Friends of Herb volunteer group, the Herb Garden is located near the driveway loop. This garden displays plants used by our fore-bearers for food, medicine, potpourri, and dyes.

Bird Feeding Stations

Two bird feeding stations located just outside the interpretive building attract a wide range of birds throughout the year. Depending on the season, you may see a variety of woodpeckers, finches, sparrows, blackbirds, and many other birds visiting the feeders. Visiting mammals may include gray, fox, and red squirrels, eastern chipmunks, and woodchucks.

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feeders