Late Fall and Early Winter are the Best times to find migrating Birds in Indiana’s diverse habitats that are home to over 400 documented bird species, making it the perfect place for a birding adventure. The birding experiences won’t disappoint, from the one-of-a-kind migration of Sandhill Cranes to Bald Eagles perched atop tree-tops. Luckily, the Indiana Audubon Society recently created the Indiana Birding Trail, featuring 64 great bird watching locations. Below, we have outlined two sites in Miller Beach Area on the Indiana Birding Trail.
Grant Street Marsh (Gary, Indiana)
The marsh is very easy and convenient to bird, with 7,000 feet of levee bordering the south and east sides that has a wide, level, firmly packed fine gravel path on top. This allows unobstructed observation from any point on the path, while standing 8-10 feet above the surface of the water (there are very few trees inside the levee). A spotting scope is recommended to cover the entire area.
Over 200 species have been recorded at the marsh. The list includes Eurasian Wigeon, Eared Grebe, Black-billed Cuckoo, King Rail, American Avocet, Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, White-rumped Sandpiper, Wilson’s Phalarope, American Bittern, Least Bittern, Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, White-faced Ibis, Western Kingbird, and Yellow-headed Blackbird (which has nested in several seasons). Nesting Bald Eagles have been present in recent years.
Grant Street marsh is centrally located among the prime birding areas in the NW corner of the state. It is approximately 20 minutes from Miller Beach as well as the Indiana Dunes State and National Parks, 30 minutes from the Hammond Lakefront Park and Marina, and 35 minutes from Michigan City Harbor.
Lake Street Beach is most commonly birded July through August as birders scan the beach and water for migrating shorebirds, gulls, and terns. This site typically requires sedentary birding on the beach just north of the parking lot. Birders often bring chairs to sit on as they wait for migrating birds to fly by and often land on the beach. Another way to bird the site is to walk the beach 1 mile west to the USX Steel breakwall searching for shorebirds on the beach. You can often find birds resting on the breakwall; although is does require climbing onto the large concrete slabs. Primitive and sandy trails due exist to the south of the beach and can be productive for migrating passerines during spring and fall migrations.
During late summer and through fall, birders typically head east to Marquette Park to scan for migrating waterfowl, gulls, and other specialty species including jaegers. For jaegers, the concession stand at Marquette Park is the go-to spot in Indiana. source: visitindiana.com
Aerial Photo of Miller Woods Area
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