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Comparing notes on two other Heronries

We have been studying a brand new, two year old Heron Colony, and another very large and old heron nesting site in Southeastern Michigan. It is allowing us the opportunity to compare notes from the 10 years of study at Holland Ponds, to another older nesting site and a new two year old site.

There are very few studies of any sort on Heron nesting sites. Almost none in Michigan. Just some of the basics, and they are almost 15 years old and actually list No Heron nesting sites in Macomb county. They do not even acknowledge the destroyed  Heronry in west Bloomfield which contained over 200 nests. This Colony was destroyed in less then two years after the construction of a Bike Pathway there. Even Audubon has confirmed this fact now, and is working with DTE in constructing nesting Poles to attract the Herons back. They have been unsuccessful at their attempts so far. Most likely, as long as the disruptive Bike Pathway remains, the herons will not return.

We have found some up to date research out of Wisconsin. But we have learned that herons differ from area to area in their behaviour around their Colonies. depending on whether the Herons are ground nesting, nesting on an Island or in Trees. All this will affect their behaviour at the nesting Colony. Even when Herons nest in Tress, it will vary depending on whether those tress are over water, isolated from people directly or exposed to constant movement of any sort. This is the main concern about the fast moving Bikes projected to pass down the new BIKE Pathway to be constructed at Holland Ponds this summer. If there will not be a constant flow of Bikes on this new almost million dollar Pathway, then what is the point of it at all? The facts appear to conflict with each other. Either the Bike Pathway will be a success and draw in all this money as claimed by the proponents of the Pathway, or it will not. Which is it? Depending on what Newspaper article you read, will depend on what various officials have to say about the Pathway, the Heronry, the Money, the reasons why IT MUST HAPPEN. There is no consistent reports on this new Pathway through Holland Ponds. Lots of good wishes, but no real facts.

There is still much to be examined before this Pathway is installed if Parks & Recreation and our own Department of Natural Resources can justify such a Gamble at constructing a new BIKE pathway at Holland Ponds, that is very similar to the one that destroyed 200 nests in West Bloomfield. We have requested the research and data the DNR should have collected before they gave Shelby twp. some $300,000 to construct such a Pathway with our money from our Parks PASSPORT system. Before the protectors of our state’s Natural Resources (the DNR) donates that kind of money and then the local Parks & Recreation in Shelby Twp. matches it, You would believe all these entities would have extensive studies and data to confirm their actions are sound and not Nature destructive. We shall see.

Empty Bike car roof racks, do not add up to a successful mis-named HIKE-BIKE Pathway as recently quoted in in a local Shelby Twp. Newspaper. No research or data from anyone, and just well wishes and the whole project is nothing more then one big Gamble, based on those well wishes, dreams, and absolutely NO sound data, research or determinations made from facts. Not sound judgement what so ever. Just a Do or Die for the Herons.


FALL Cider Hike

One of the nicest Fall Hikes around is the one that starts at Holland Ponds park, follows the Clinton river over to Yates Cider Mill and back. The colors along the river are spectacular…….the Cider at the Mill is some of the best around……and you get to miss all the traffic and congestion trying to park at the Mill.

Just park your car at Holland Ponds…….all the Herons have left the heronry by now, and head to the back of the park. From there the trail meanders along the river, with some beautiful stops at some gravel bars and tree outcroppings. Then it is a nice groomed pathway directly to the Cider Mill, down the old Railroad bed.

At the Historic Yates Cider Mill, look for some remnants of the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal. You can even find the very rare water bridge over the river there. The Canal was set to cross over the Clinton river on the west side of Dequindre rd. when they where originally constructing the Canal. This was something pretty different, to have the Canal flowing on a raised bridge, over the river. The remnants of this water bridge sits just south of the old Dam that was used for the Cider Mill to control and divert the ever changing Clinton river’s flow.

After you have enjoyed some Cider & Doughnuts, and wandered around some of the Historic sites there, you can take the Hike back along the river, into Holland Ponds park, and back to your car, safe in the parking area. No Muss…..No Fuss……No heavy traffic or car jams. Just a relaxing and colorful walk along the river. A wonderful Fall Colors, River Hike.


1st Annual Great Blue Heron FESTIVAL

Shelby Twp. Parks & Recreation, along with HIKING MICHIGAN will be presenting the very first Great Blue Heron Festival on Saturday, 5/12/12 at Holland Ponds Park and the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center. There will be a Shuttle Bus system set up, so if you wish to park your car at the Nature Center located at River Bends park, and then be bussed back and forth to Holland Ponds park and the Heronry and activities, then this is a choice for you.

There are plenty of activities scheduled for the day, starting at 9am. Naturalist Dan Farmer will be at the heronry as well as doing special Pond Dipping sessions and other activities. HIKING MICHIGAN leaders will be at the Heronry with Video equipment and large monitors for you to see the Herons very up close and personal. Hopefully we will have some hatched youngsters in the nests by Festival time.

After the main activities at Holland Ponds, there will be more taking place back at the Shadbush Nature Center, as well as a nice Campfire in the gathering place behind the Center. Hot tea and chocolate and treats will be on hand. Watch the video below for even more details for the days events.

Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal

Take a look at the Clinton-Kalamazoo page and read about some of the history of the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal. The largest remaining sections of this historic canal are located at River Bends park, and runs most of the length of Holland Ponds park.

HERON Nests Count 2011

With permission from the Park, we headed out to get a good count of the entire Heronry at Holland Ponds park. Venturing into these areas are prohibited, especially during the Heron nesting season. The birds are very skid-dish and can be scared off their nests. In some cases….permanently.

With 21 nests in the original front Heronry and another 18 nests in the newer rear Heronry, the park is ready to welcome back the Great Blue Herons for nest year, with 39 solid nests. The Heronry is growing quickly!

Welcome to River Bends / Holland Ponds Parks

We have tried to gather up as much info, maps, pictures and experiences at Shelby Twps. largest two parks. River Bends Park is actually split into two sections itself. The Picnic Shelters, Disc Golf course and Bike riding asphalt trails are located on the east side of the Park and Clinton river.

On the west side of the Clinton river is where the Shooting Range, Woodall Baseball diamonds, Bike Paths and Skate Park are located. This eastern section of River Bends Park, is where the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center is located. The Nature Center watches after Holland Ponds Park.

Take a look around the site and discover the many things to do and experience at River Bends and Holland Ponds Parks.

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