Sunday, July 20, 2008
GETTING THERE: Fly to Detroit (US Airways has flights from Reagan National for about $195 round trip) and drive Interstate 75 to Grayling, 212 miles away.
KIRTLAND'S TOURS: The best way to see the birds is by taking the tours offered by groups dedicated to preserving the bird, but they're finished for this summer. But if you go next summer, free U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Michigan Audubon Society tours leave from the Ramada Inn-Grayling (see below) at 7 and 11 a.m. from May 15 to early July. Info: http://midwest.fws.gov/EastLansing/documents/tour.html, or call the East Lansing field office, 517-351-2555.
U.S. Forest Service tours ($5) leave from the district ranger office (107 McKinley Rd., Mio). Tours begin at 7 a.m. daily from May 15 to early July. Reservations are encouraged for large groups. Info: 989-826-3252, http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hmnf/pages/warbtours.htm.
Jack Pine Wildlife Viewing Tour is a self-guided driving tour with a map offered by the Forest Service at the above Web site. As you drive, look for large stands of pines five to 15 feet high, and listen. You can hear the call at Cornell University's "All About Birds" site, http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Kirtlands_Warbler.html#sound.
WHERE TO STAY: Doubles at the Ramada Inn-Grayling (2650 I-75 Business Loop, 800-292- 9055, http://www.ramada.com) start at $75. If you're interested in fishing, there's Gates Au Sable Lodge (471 Stephan Bridge Rd., 989-348-8462, http://www.gateslodge.com; from $90). The lodge can arrange float trips and fishing guides.
WHAT TO DO: For fishing and canoeing on the Au Sable River, inquire at Ray's Fly Factory and Canoe Rental or the Old Au Sable Fly Shop. Both are just east of Route 75 (Business) where it crosses the river.
INFO: Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce,989-348-2921, http://www.graylingchamber.com.