I am a lurker on this list too but thought that I would come out to respond to part of your inquiry.
I don't know when you'll be traveling to the Hartwick Pine's area in Michigan but if you are there between mid-May through July 4, there are free daily guided tours from the Grayling, MI Ramada to view the Kirkland's Warbler. This is a very rare bird and I believe it is the only place in the US where it comes to breed. It is very restrictive on when you can view them. (You can google the Grayling Visitor's Bureau for exact dates and times).
Actually this bird has a great success story behind it. Fortunately in the early 1960's ornithologists and conservationists recognized the importance of protecting the habitat and putting into place measures to save the bird as it was on the brink of extinction. They worked with the locals, the military (large National Guard base located in this area) and the government to eventually develop a bird protection model that is used for many of the birds that are protected today. No easy task and quite an accomplishment for its time. The number of Kirkland's Warblers is reported to have doubled since 1961.
If you want to read more about the fight to save this bird there is a good book, The Kirtland's Warbler: The Story of a Bird's Fight Against Extinction and the People Who Saved It by W. Rapai, published in 2012.
On Jan 29, 2014, at 7:44 AM, Ralph Palmer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Greetings -
> I'm a lurker on this list. I did see a duck on the Whetstone yesterday
> morning, and I heard a Cardinal singing, too.
> My wife and I are taking a trip this summer. I'd like suggestions on good
> places to bird. Significant places we'll hit : Hartwick Pines and Sleeping
> Bear Dunes in the lower peninsula of Michigan; Sault Ste. Marie; Regina;
> Edmonton, Banff and Jasper, BC; Denali, Homer, Kodiak, and Wrangell-St.
> Elias in Alaska; Glacier N.P.; and Badlands N.P. I know that's a lot, but
> does anyone have any specific suggestions?
> I appreciate your time and help,
> Ralph Palmer
> Brattleboro, VT
> [log in to unmask]