Northern Goshawk spotted at Lefglen Nature Sanctuary

By Annie Perry, MNA Intern

Northern Goshawk

Photo by Norbert Kenntner Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

On January 15, MNA Regional Stewardship Organizer Matt Schultz led a group of 18 people on a hike at Lefglen Nature Sanctuary in Jackson County. While on the hike, the group spotted a juvenile northern goshawk, a bird typically found in northern North America and Eurasia.

None of the hikers were able to get a picture, but Schultz said in an email that several experienced birdwatchers were convinced it was a northern goshawk. They identified the bird by its white eye stripe, accipiter shape, large size, and its long, banded tail.

Though northern goshawks live farther north, finding them in Michigan isn’t entirely unusual. Northern goshawks will fly to the Great Plains and Midwest in the winter if prey levels fall in their native forests. They are an irruptive species—a species that irregularly migrates to another area for reasons including availability of food, suitability of climate and amount of predatory activity. Unlike traditional migrations, irruptive migrations may occur one year, then not again for many years.

MNA has other hikes and winter activities planned this season to help you keep winter restlessness at bay. Be sure to check out one of our upcoming events in your area, and maybe you’ll get lucky and see another neat species like the northern goshawk!

Keep checking MNA’s events calendar for an updated list of our winter events!

Snowshoe or Cross-Country Ski with MNA!

Snowshoeing at Black Creek Nature Sanctuary. Photo by Janet Lins

Snowshoeing at Black Creek Nature Sanctuary. Photo by Janet Lins

Winter doesn’t slow us down at MNA! We will be exploring Michigan in a variety of ways this winter, including special opportunities to snowshoe and cross-country ski through some of the state’s most unique landscapes.

Last winter, MNA members and friends enjoyed snowshoe hikes in the Keweenaw.  Hikers experienced the beautiful snow-covered dunes, frozen rivers and Lake Superior shoreline. The snowshoe hikes were so popular that MNA has planned more of them this winter! We hope you’ll be able to join us to experience one of Michigan’s most picturesque areas – the Keweenaw Peninsula!

Snowshoe hikes this winter:

Saturday, January 6 – Redwyn’s Dunes Nature Sanctuary, near Eagle Harbor

Saturday, January 19 – Black Creek Nature Sanctuary, near Calumet

Saturday, February 2 – Gratiot Lake Overlook Nature Sanctuary, near Copper Harbor

Saturday, February 23 – Rooks Memorial Nature Sanctuary, near Copper Harbor

Sunday, March 3 – Robert T. Brown Plant Preserve, near Painesdale

Email to RSVP or for details about the snowshoe hikes. Please RSVP so MNA can advise you of any emergency cancellations.

Snowshoe hikers explore Mystery Valley.

Snowshoe hikers explore Mystery Valley.

This year, MNA is also offering two cross-country ski opportunities. On Saturday, January 26, join steward Mary Probst for a cross-country ski along the Eagle Harbor Township Recreation Trail in Keweenaw County.

In the Lower Peninsula, steward Patricia Pennell will lead a cross-country ski trip through the beautiful Five Lakes Muskegon Nature Sanctuary in Muskegon County on Saturday, February 2. If there is no snow, Patricia will still lead a hike, a rare opportunity to explore this unique sanctuary. For details about either of these trips, please visit MNA’s website.

Keep checking MNA’s event calendar for more winter events. We hope to see you in the field!

Skiers Enjoy Trail, Sanctuaries

By Angie Jackson

Nearly two dozen people braved the cold in the U.P. on Jan. 9 to participate in a cross-country ski outing hosted by MNA.

The event, held at the Eagle Harbor Conservation Area in Keweenaw County, encouraged participants to enjoy the outdoors and experience three of MNA’s sanctuaries.

Five MNA stewards led the group on a 6-mile loop to Great Sand Bay along Lake Superior.

“I found it particularly rewarding that so many people participated,” said steward Nancy Leonard, noting that a good portion of the crowd had never skied on the Eagle Harbor Township trail before and knew little about it.

And those already familiar with the trail had the opportunity to learn more about the surrounding sanctuaries, Leonard added.

“It was great to have the opportunity to familiarize them with the three MNA sanctuaries that happen to be strung together along the trail,” Leonard said, referring to Eagle Harbor Red Pine Dunes, Dean Webster Memorial and Cy Clark Memorial.

Eagle Harbor Red Pines Dunes consists of 25 acres of sand dunes and connects to Cy Clark Memorial, which stretches 37 acres and is covered in cedar, black spruces, red maple and other plants. The Dean Webster Memorial is 12 acres.

Some participants, such as Mary Eckhart of Chassell, said they enjoyed learning about MNA and intend to become members.

Stewards will lead a snowshoe hike at Keweenaw Shore and Upson Lake Nature Sanctuary on Sunday, Feb. 13, from 2-4 p.m. Email Nancy Leonard at if you are interested in participating.

Check out coverage of this event in the Mining Gazette.