Southwest Michigan Wildlife columnist for The Herald-Palladium

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes on Nov. 20 along Oak Grove Road southeast of Dowagiac. This is a reliable area to see large flocks of these birds before they head south for the winter months.

Sandhill cranes have once again gathered at their pre-staging area, before moving south for the winter, along Oak Grove Road, between Kingsbury Road and Beeson Street in Cass County. This is approximately three to four miles southeast of Dowagiac.

Brad Anderson went out to this location on Nov. 20. He reported about 600 cranes present, and supplied me with a few photos of the birds. I also have been out to the location over the last several weeks and have seen several hundred cranes gathered across the harvested corn fields, although they appeared to be more spread out than in most years. Perhaps they are social distancing?

Redpoll

A common redpoll on Nov. 30 at the home feeder of Brad and Hannah Anderson of Bridgman.

Kittiwake

A black-legged kittiwake, rarely seen from shore in the Great Lakes. This is one of two located by Mike Mahler of Sarett Nature Center, at the end of St. Joseph’s north pier last month.

Jonathan Wuepper is an area naturalist. Report your sightings to him at wuepperj@gmail.com.