It’s impossible to have a bad time at Wisconsin Point during Jaegerfest.
No, Jaegerfest is not a celebration of Jägermeister, the Nyquil-flavored green alcoholic beverage, but a birdwatching weekend sponsored by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. It falls on the third or fourth weekend of September, and it features a bird list that will make you want to party.
Arctic Tern. Harris’s Sparrow. Lapland Longspur. American Pipit. Black-bellied Plover. Sabine’s Gull. Red-throated Loon. All three scoters. And all three jaegers. The only jaeger I’ve missed is Long-tailed, but that’s because I failed to show up, not the jaeger.
You’ll find parking pullouts every few hundred yards that allow access to the beach. Across the road is Allouez Bay, which is often loaded with waterfowl and Rusty Blackbirds. In September, the woods are crawling with migrant warblers, vireos, and sparrows, and the raptors trying to cross the lake from Hawk Ridge often wander by. Sure, sometimes the weather hits you like a bad hangover, but that’s part of the formula; the birds are better when the weather is worse. — Steve Betchkal
Beach dunes, coniferous forest, grasslands, wetlands, lake, and bay.
Flat. Sandy beach, paved road.
Fall: Surf, Black, and White-winged Scoters, Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked and Eared Grebes, Glaucous Gull, variety of hawks, shorebirds, and passerine migrants. Spring and summer: American White Pelican, Common Loon, Bald Eagle, Merlin, Caspian Tern, Black-bellied Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Common Raven, Rusty Blackbird. Target species: Pacific Loon, Sabine’s and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Arctic Tern, Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed Jaegers, Whimbrel, Red Knot, American Pipit, Harris’s Sparrow, Lapland Longspur.
When to go
September and October for fall migration. Late May for spring migrants.
Jaegerfest, a three-day field trip organized by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, is held annually in September. No public restrooms on Wisconsin Point; nearest are in Superior or behind a big hemlock. Public camping available within easy driving distance.
City park. Free. Since the road is narrow, park only in lots or pullouts.
The best time to bird the point is during Jaegerfest. The dozens of birders present will assist you in finding the many and often surprising species that turn up. Hotels in Superior book quickly in fall, so make your reservations early or get a campsite at one of the beautiful state parks nearby.