Posts Tagged ‘Shelby Twp. Park’


Excellent Heron Hike 3/23/13

March 24, 2013

Our 7th annual Ashok Heron Hike was a great time. We had over 60 people show up, and filled the parking lot. 🙂 It was one of those Hikes. A Hike where we had many different kinds of people with many different expertise. This made for some great conversations along the way.



There where a number of discussions about the Herons and how they act, mate and what happens at the Heronry during the year as the youngsters are being cared for. We had an experience that showed just how skiddish these beautiful Birds can be. As a group of about 30 of us approached the second viewing area that overlooked what is now the rear Heronry, every Heron on a nest fly up together. The circled for a bit and then returned. It was obvious that this commotion was to much for these fresh nesting birds and they all left their nest.

NestsThis example of how delicate this whole area is, was very apparent to all the Hikers. Having anything else going on at Holland Ponds would definitely disrupt this special place and possibly stop the growth of what is the largest Great Blue Heron nesting site in Southeastern Michigan.

Some natural places need to remain just that. NATURAL. No reason to build anything else at this Park. No reason to expand things or add to the possibilities that even more commotion would scare or disrupt this growing nesting site in Shelby Twp. The wonders and beauties of this place IS what this Park is all about.

Through in the Historical aspects the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal, that runs down the herononecenter of the Park, and what a great place to stroll with the family at any time. Herons, Egrets, Ducks and many different Birds of all kinds. Owls and Raptors of all sorts, nest and hunt at the Park. Later in the Spring, the wildflowers are everywhere.

We had excellent weather for the Hike. Even some sun peaking out from time to time. Afterwards some of the Hikers headed over to the Nature Center at River Bends Park, just down the road. Shabush is a beautiful Center with some wonderful displays and well versed staff.


Ashok Annual HERON HIKE

March 11, 2013

For the 7th year in a row, we will be returning to the largest Great Blue Heron nesting site in Southeastern Michigan, to witness the arrivals of the herons. Each year around the beginning of March, the Herons return from their Wintering grounds, to mate and rebuild their nests here at Holland Ponds.

Seven years ago, a longtime Hiking Michigan member, Ashok, suggested we start a Hike to show the importance of this very special and unique place in Shelby Twp. Michigan. And here we are some 7 years later, still meeting our friends at Holland Ponds as they produce another year of youngsters that will help this Heronry continue to grow, as it has for the 10 years it has existed.

We hope you will join us in a short walk to the viewing areas and watch as the returning Herons select mates, rebuild and claim nests, and get started on another season of reproducing still more Great Blue Herons.




The Park is small, so the Hiking will not be extensive. The focus is the Herons and their activities around the nesting sites. bring along a pair of binoculars and warm cloths. It can get chilly while you stand and watch these magnificent Birds.

We will do some roaming around the Park and we might see some Deer, White Egrets, Green Herons, Turtles & Frogs of all types, nesting Geese, Owls and Hawks. This Park is known as the Bird baby Factory because of the many different species that come here each year to nest and have their young. This is because of the habitats and natural environment there. A very delicate balance is in play at the Park. Nurturing is required by Shelby Twp. Parks & recreation if these many different species are to continue to flourish and survive.

There are many very experienced people the Parks department has available to consult with in keeping this special place the Gem it has been, for now and for future generations. We only hope that they understand their duties and responsibilities to such a unique place in Southeastern Michigan. Baseball diamonds and BIKE paths are plentiful in the area. But there is only ONE, largest Great Blue heron nesting site in Michigan. And that precious place is at Holland Ponds Park.

Come and join us for this annual celebration in HERONS, this Saturday, March 23rd, 12 Noon – 3pm. A colored Map and other goodies await all in attendance.



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The HERONS are Back

March 6, 2013

For the last 10 years we have followed and written about the largest Great Blue Heron nesting site in Southeastern Michigan. This special place is located at Holland Ponds Park, in Shelby Twp. Michigan. That is in Macomb county off Ryan road and 22 mile rd. We watch, video tape and take extensive pictures each year at the Heronry, and then write a year-end report on how many nests where occupied, how many Heron youngsters were reared from each nest and how the Colony as a whole, aired for that season.

Well…..a bit earlier then normal, but the first of the Herons have arrived at the Heronry on March 6th. This is the earliest I can remember any Heron returning from their wintering grounds to start up nesting at Holland Ponds.

The 9 Herons we spotted at the Colonies nesting sites where all hunched over an individual nest, trying to stay warm. It is still in the low 30s during the day and 20s at night, so it will be a very cold start to this years nesting season.

While the Herons where wintering elsewhere, a wind storm took down one of the nesting trees in the front Heronry and with it, 6 nests. Hopefully the Herons will rebuild these nests and the Colony will continue to grow as it has each year since it started over 10 years ago.

Man threatens this unique and very special place this year. Shelby Twp. Parks & Recreation, with the help of all people, our own DNR, will be building a BIKE Pathway down the center of this small Park. They have been advised that this will destroy the Heronry due to the commotion and interruptions of constant moving Bikes, past this delicate place. It remains to be seen if the Township feels it is worth the gamble of loosing this special Heron nesting place for a silly BIKE Pathway.

Join Hiking Michigan on 3/23/13 for the annual Ashok-Save the Herons HIKE at Holland Ponds. You can download a Flyer with more details on the Hike here. ASHOK HERONS HIKE












You can also download the only map of the Park here. Hiking Michigan has GPSed the Park a number of times for the county and supplied the Shadbush Nature Center with Maps of Holland Ponds. Get a HOLLAND PONDS MAP HERE.


Each year we write a report on the nesting activities of that season of mating for the Herons at Holland Ponds. Here is that report from the close of the 2012 Heron nesting season.



5/12/12 HERON Hike/Festival

May 9, 2012

For the past 6 years now, we have scheduled a Hike at the Largest Great Blue Heron nesting site in S.E. Michigan, Holland Ponds Park. The original Hike was a suggestion from longtime member Ashok, and the Hike still holds his name.

So this Saturday, 5/12/12, 12pm-2pm at Holland Ponds Park, we will be doing our Ashok Heron Hike. We meet in the parking area off of Ryan rd., just north of 22 mile rd. in Shelby Twp.

The Park is small, but our main purpose is to show you all this one of a kind place. We will take a short Hike to the Heronry and enjoy watching the Herons on their nests. Their are 39 active nests there, and I am sure many of you will return to watch the youngsters as they grow, emerge to the edge of the nests, test their wings and eventually fledge the nests, to hopefully return next year and start their own families.

Since this will be a short Hike, some of you may want to catch the Shadbush Nature Center’s Heron Fest/Spring Celebrations taking place at both the Park and back at the Nature Center, located in River Bends Park, just up Ryan rd. from Holland ponds. We have included the Nature Centers agenda for the day as well as the Ashok heron Hike details, so you can make an afternoon of it, if you desired.

This is an amazing, and unique place, that IS the largest Great Blue Heronry in S.E. Michigan. Come on our and take a look. We will also have colored Park Maps for all in attendance.

You can download a Flyer with more details for both gatherings here:  ASHOK HERON FESTIVAL & SHADBUSH SPRING FEST


Great Blue Herons are back

March 23, 2012

The largest Great Blue Heronry exists at Holland Ponds park in Shelby Twp., Macomb county. Last years nesting pairs totaled 39 nests. Well….all the nests are already filled and it’s only March 21st. Unheard of in the past.

There are also male Herons, waiting at the edges of the Heronry, for females to arrive. This means there will be new nests being built this year. I have already seen three new attempts going on.

The skies over Holland Ponds are just full of Herons. Some of the nests even have females sitting on the nests. This only means eggs. ALREADY. Once the eggs are there, the female will sit and the male will fetch food for her. When the eggs hatch, the adults will take turns going for food. One leaves and one stays with the youngsters at all times.

Stop out at the Heronry located at 22 mile rd. & Ryan rd. in Shelby Twp. and see all of this for yourself. It IS AMAZING!


HERONS on the nests already

February 24, 2012

Amazing as this is…… but some Great Blue Herons have been spotted at the heronry at Holland Ponds recently. This is one of the earliest reports of Herons on the nests at the Parks in the over 10 years the heronry has existed. Not sure if this is exciting News of an even faster growing heronry at Holland ponds, or if the very strange Winter weather we have had is effecting the early migration and returns of the Herons to start the 2012 mating season. We shall see.

These early Heron sightings have been confirmed by park naturalist Dan Farmer. He to agrees that this is exceptionally early for Great Blue herons to be returning and setting up nesting for this years mating season. It is not uncommon to get early arrivals to the Heronry, for bet nest and mate selections. But this early in February, with the still many chances of severe weather and icy conditions, is not a common occurrence.

We will be doing a report and study on these early activities at the heronry. Should be a unique situation to observe.


HERON Nests Counting 2011

November 3, 2011

Since the Great Blue Herons have all left the Heronry at Holland Ponds Park, it was safe to enter these two Heronrys and count the nests. The park has two separate Heronrys. The front Heronry is the oldest, dating back about 10 years now. We counted 21 remaining nests there. Two trees where blown down from high winds and storms and this front Heronry lost some 8 nests this season.

The newer rear Heronry, only in existence for the last three years, has grown tremendously. This years count was 18 nest. 7 of those nests where just built this last season. There are plenty of secluded and private trees in this rear Heronry, and we expect this area to become the main Heronry over the next couple of years.

With a total of 39 solid nests waiting for the Herons return in 2012, we expect a banner season for the entire Heronry.

A NOTE:  These heronys are restricted areas. Especially when the Herons are on the nests. They spook very easily and this can destroy an entire heronry. I got permission to count the nests at Holland Ponds, in advance, and only during this period of time when ALL the Herons had left for the season.


SPIDER Class/Hike Reviewed

October 4, 2011

Big Thanks to Dan Farmer, the Burgess Shadbush Nature Center and all the great help from the staff there, in making our SPIDER Class/Hike great fun. Dan was on his game as always, and the staff was great at finding critters along the trail and taking care of the group. Dan did an excellent Class inside the Nature Center, and I am sure most people left with a different understanding of Michigan Spiders. They ain’t just here to bite you. 🙂

8 of us even did a second Hike after the Class and the first Hike, over to the Yates Cider Mill. We started at Holland Ponds where there was no one, and followed the river all the way to the Mill. My first cider of the year. TONS of people, but we hiked in so it did’nt matter. Day ened with sunset. A very long and enjoyable Fall day!

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FALL Colors Tour…..& Cider

September 27, 2011

With the Fall colors quickly coming upon us, I thought it would be good to post a few S.E.MI. parks that I have found to produce pretty consistent, fabulous Fall colors. There are of course, so many places to enjoy the beautiful Fall season in Michigan, but over the many years of searching out some of the best local Colors, there are some places that stand out.

Best S.E.MI. Fall Colors Tour Parks

A great way to enjoy that taste of Fall is at one of the few remianing Cider Mills left in S.E.Michigan. Yates Cider Mill has been around since the late 1800s and still produces fresh made Cider at their Mill on Dequindre rd. and 23 mile rd. The only problem with the Mill area, is that it gets a little congested since the roads have all remained single lane, twisting roads. This can make for some traffic problems there.

An excellent way to avoid this, is to visit Holland Ponds Park, located on Ryan rd. and 22 mile rd. Yep…..that’s where the largest Heron Rookery is located. (Sorry, the Herons have left for the year) But the park is still a very Cool place, with NO congestion and plenty of availble parking. Not many people know that at the back of the Park, there is a trail that follows the river all the way to Yates Cider Mill.

So….with no traffic problems, and a beautiful Hike along the river, one can enjoy a lovely Fall afternoon Hiking to get Cider, take a break at the Mill and leave the congestion behind.

Get a map of thr route from Holland Ponds Park to Yates Cider Mill:


Michigan SPIDERS Class/HIKE

September 24, 2011

On Sunday, Oct.2nd, we will be doing a combination Class/Hike at the Burgess Shadbush Nature Center, located at River Bends Park, in Shelby Twp.  Naturalist Dan Farmer will be conducting this class on Michigan Spiders, followed by a Hike down the Boardwalks and along the river. If time allows, we will build a Campfire along the river before returning to the Nature Center.

One of Dan Farmers specialties is Michigan Spiders, so we will be treated to an authorities perspective on these critters. There will be many spiders inside the Nature Center on display, and on our Hike we will explore for examples outdoors.

Although there are no dogs allowed inside the nature Center, dogs are allowed in the Park and on our Hike.

So join us for an informative and fun filled afternoon both at the Burgess Shadbush Nature Center, and the trails along the river behind the Nature Center.

Download a Flyer with details and a Map to the Nature Center:

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