04-02-2020 Outdoors

It’s officially spring and even though most of us are stuck at home, the flora and fauna are making moves!

Some sights and sounds of spring I and other naturalists have been seeing the past few weeks include ephemeral wildflowers such as skunk cabbage, cut-leaved toothwort, and leaves of trout lily and wood poppy.

Migrating birds are on the move and some of our spring/summer migrants are starting to nest. A pair of fish-eating osprey (a kind of large raptor) arrived to their nest in Buchanan Township this week. American robins and eastern phoebe are nesters that stick close by or even nest on buildings and can be observed even from inside your home in early spring.

Male frogs can be heard calling for a mate in ponds and other wetland areas. Spring peepers, chorus frogs, and if you’re lucky – wood frogs, are the usual culprits right now.

Reptiles have been observed on the warmer days basking in the sunlight. Seventeen painted turtles covered the logs of the pond at my house one day last week. The biggest surprise I happened upon on a backyard walk this week though was a pair of mating garter snakes. I think they were more surprised to see me!

What have you been seeing in your backyard?

The Nature Center building will be closed until further notice. Our trails will remain open during this time.


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has temporarily suspended their weekly fishing report. They explained that they usually put out a weekly fishing report to let you know what’s biting and where, but the current global COVID-19 situation means they must share more critical information.

Head out to fish only if you are feeling well. Practice social distancing, at least six feet away from another person. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer. If driving to or from your nearby fishing spot, roll the windows down a bit for air flow.

There is nothing like time on the water for stress relief, and we all could use that right now. Just do your part to keep yourself and others safe. Get up-to-date information at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus or CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

The Ellinee Bait & Tackle shop on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma report that there is a lot of fishing activity in our area on local lakes. Anglers are getting some nice catches of crappie as the fish start moving toward shore. Once the water warms, the crappie will start bedding. Quite a few bluegills are being caught too, but farther from shore. Anglers are getting a few coho on the Paw Paw River.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports quite a few anglers have been out on the pier when the wind and waves co-