TRAIL REPORT & RECENT OBSERVATIONS

Seven Ponds Nature Center encompasses nearly 500 acres of woodlands, wetlands, lakes, ponds, prairies, and fields. There are over six 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.

Click here for a Seven Ponds trail map

CURRENT TRAIL CONDITIONS

May 14, 2024 - What a great time to explore the trails at Seven Ponds: spring wildflowers are blooming, migratory birds are arriving, and the forest and fields are turning many shades of green!  

RECENT OBSERVATIONS

  • A Red-headed Woodpecker has been seen around the nature center recently! Sightings have occurred in Paul's Woods and (once) at the nature center's feeders. This is a striking woodpecker - with its deep red head and contrasting black and white wing/back pattern. Let's hope it makes a home here and becomes a regular at our feeders! (5
  • House Wrens and Chipping Sparrows have returned! We also saw our first warblers of the spring: Pine Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler. It won't be long before we see our first Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Spring has sprung! (4/25/24)
  • This morning we were privileged to see a male Wood Duck - certainly regarded as one of the most beautiful birds - perched on the rooftop of our boathouse. From inside the building, we put the spotting scope on this stunning duck and everybody enjoyed great looks, and we were able to take a photo using a smartphone through the scope. We maintain about 30 large nest boxes throughout our property, which are intended for Wood Ducks but are sometimes utilized by Eastern Screech-Owls, squirrels, and other creatures. (4/4/24)
  • Today we spotted our first Eastern Phoebe of the spring. These small birds are flycatchers - the first species of flycatcher to arrive in Michigan each spring. Let's hope they find enough insects over the next couple weeks! (3/28/24)
  • Tree Swallows have arrived! Today we spotted one on a utility wire in the North-80, and then saw four individuals flying high overhead, hopefully finding a supply of insects way up there to eat. (3/25/24)
  • Today we spied a groundhog (a.k.a. woodchuck, among many other colloquial names) visiting our birdfeeder area. Groundhogs are rodents in the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Groundhogs play an important role maintaining healthy soil in woodlands and plains. The groundhog is considered a crucial habitat engineer. (3/14/24)
  • This morning, while still dark, the distinctive call of a Barred Owl could be heard coming from the North-80. The Barred Owl seems to ask, "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you alllll?" (3/14/24)
  • One of our naturalists spotted a Muskrat busy at work in Waterfowl Pond in the North-80. Muskrats are an important member of the freshwater marsh ecosystem. They help manage cattails and other aquatic vegetation, and their lodges create resting and nesting spots for waterfowl. (3/13/24)
  • We found a colorful mylar balloon tangled out of reach in a tree at Seven Ponds. Please don't release balloons - they come down somewhere, resulting in unsightly trash (at best) and hazards to wildlife (at worst). (3/13/24)
  • One of the first butterflies of the spring is the Mourning Cloak, which overwinters in leaf debris and emerges on warm spring (and late winter!) days. (3/13/24)
  • March is when waterfowl migrate in large numbers through Michigan. This morning we saw several Common Mergansers on Treetop Pond. These diving ducks are just passing through, and will be gone in a few weeks. The males are mostly white with dark green heads, while the females are gray overall with a dark reddish head. (3/7/24)
  • An American Woodcock - a small, plumpy shorebird that spends its time in wet woods and performs its aerial courtship display over open fields - was seen and heard over the fields of the North-80 this past weekend. Males give a buzzy "peent" call before taking flight over open fields and forest openings to perform their dazzling sky dance, flying up in a wide spiral. As he gets higher, his wings produce a twittering sound, and after reaching a height of 200-350 feet, he begins to descend, chirping all the way down before landing in nearly the same spot as his take-off. He repeats this display several times until there is no light left in the sky, hoping a female will be impressed. (3/5/24)
Red-headed Woodpecker at Seven Ponds!
Red-headed Woodpecker at Seven Ponds!
Wood Duck drake on the boathouse roof
Wood Duck drake on the boathouse roof
Tree Swallow in the North-80
Tree Swallow in the North-80
Groundhog at home at Seven Ponds
Groundhog at home at Seven Ponds
Muskrat in Waterfowl Pond
Muskrat in Waterfowl Pond
Mourning Cloak resting on a utility pole at Seven Ponds
Mourning Cloak resting on a utility pole at Seven Ponds
Female Common Merganser laying low and hoping to go unnoticed
Female Common Merganser laying low and hoping to go unnoticed
Mylar balloon tangled in vegetation at Seven Ponds
Mylar balloon tangled in vegetation at Seven Ponds
Nature provided another stunning sunset at the ponds
Nature provided another stunning sunset at the ponds
First of the spring Eastern Chipmunk at Seven Ponds
First of the spring Eastern Chipmunk at Seven Ponds
The first skunk cabbage we saw this year
The first skunk cabbage we saw this year
Sunset over Seven Ponds
Sunset over Seven Ponds
Trumpeter Swans on Treetop Pond
Trumpeter Swans on Treetop Pond

Seven Ponds Nature Photo Gallery

ANOTHER spectacular sunrise over Earl's Prairie
ANOTHER spectacular sunrise over Earl's Prairie
Good morning, Woodchuck! Nice to see you again.
Good morning, Woodchuck! Nice to see you again.
Sunset at Big Pond
Sunset at Big Pond
Misty morning fog over Treetop Pond
Misty morning fog over Treetop Pond
Northern Shrike, aka The Butcher Bird, hunting over Big Pond
Northern Shrike, aka The Butcher Bird, hunting over Big Pond
Water droplets on a fallen leaf - science in nature!
Water droplets on a fallen leaf - science in nature!
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) in Paul's Woods
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) in Paul's Woods
Great Egret spotted at the Crawford Rd/Lake George Rd swamp at Seven Ponds
Great Egret spotted at the Crawford Rd/Lake George Rd swamp at Seven Ponds
Arctic Skipper at Seven Ponds - first record for Lapeer County
Arctic Skipper at Seven Ponds - first record for Lapeer County
Monarch caterpillar on milkweed in the North-80
Monarch caterpillar on milkweed in the North-80
Sandhill Crane pair - and baby makes three!
Sandhill Crane pair - and baby makes three!
Eastern Screech-Owl roosting in Wood Duck nest box
Eastern Screech-Owl roosting in Wood Duck nest box
Baltimore Checkerspot in the North-80 fields
Baltimore Checkerspot in the North-80 fields
Virginia Opossum at our feeders
Virginia Opossum at our feeders
Red Squirrel overcoming our "squirrel proof" feeder
Red Squirrel overcoming our "squirrel proof" feeder
Woodchuck chilling out on the rock bath
Woodchuck chilling out on the rock bath
"Our" Sandhill Cranes, pictured on November 8 watching over our welcome sign.
"Our" Sandhill Cranes, pictured on November 8 watching over our welcome sign.
Evening Grosbeaks on a feeder at Seven Ponds
Evening Grosbeaks on a feeder at Seven Ponds
Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus)
Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus)
Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea) at the A-frame Bridge
Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea) at the A-frame Bridge
Fall fungi abounds!
Fall fungi abounds!
Red-spotted Purple on our sidewalk
Red-spotted Purple on our sidewalk
Red-headed Woodpecker at Seven Ponds
Red-headed Woodpecker at Seven Ponds
Snow Bunting in the Seven Ponds parking lot!
Snow Bunting in the Seven Ponds parking lot!
Mayapple in Paul's Woods
Mayapple in Paul's Woods
Our healthy Raccoon visitor
Our healthy Raccoon visitor
Young turkeys on the move
Young turkeys on the move
Slugging along on a window
Slugging along on a window
Northern Waterthrush at Jonathan Woods
Northern Waterthrush at Jonathan Woods
Louisiana Waterthrush at Jonathan Woods
Louisiana Waterthrush at Jonathan Woods
Fox Squirrel in front with Gray Squirrels (gray and black form)
Fox Squirrel in front with Gray Squirrels (gray and black form)
Bowl and doily web near the A-Frame Bridge
Bowl and doily web near the A-Frame Bridge
Closed Bottle Gentian in Earl's Prairie
Closed Bottle Gentian in Earl's Prairie
Snowberry Clearwing moth, with wings so fast they are just a blur!
Snowberry Clearwing moth, with wings so fast they are just a blur!
Blanding's Turtle at Seven Ponds
Blanding's Turtle at Seven Ponds
Dryad's Saddle in the North-80
Dryad's Saddle in the North-80
Pixie Cup Lichen
Pixie Cup Lichen
Smooth Blue Aster in Earl's Prairie
Smooth Blue Aster in Earl's Prairie

206 bird species have been observed at Seven Ponds! The most recent addition to our property list was Common Goldeneye, seen on March 12, 2023. For more 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

97 bird species observed

 

Richie Pond Nature Preserve eBird reports

69 bird species observed