The Tuttle Marsh National Wildlife Area is a 5,000-acre impoundment surrounded by hundreds of acres of wetlands. Water birds abound. Herons, bitterns and many shore birds make this marsh their home. During the spring and fall migratory seasons, it is a stopping point for several types of ducks and geese. Tuttle Marsh is part of the AuSable Valley Audubon Trails with several marked hiking trails.
The nesting islands are managed for grassy cover to provide good nesting conditions and a minimum of predation. Of special interest are the Osprey nesting platforms.
You will likely see Wood Duck, Green Wing and Blue Wing Teal, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shoveler and the Canada goose. Along with other raptor varieties of Hawks, stalking the marshes in addition to great Blue Herons, are common Egret, Green Herons, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Virginia Rail, Sandhill Cranes and perhaps a very uncommon Least Bittern.
Also noteworthy would be spotting the Purple Gallinule, also called a "swamp hen" in the Rail family. This beautifully colored bird of southern and tropical wetlands is unmistakable, with its huge yellow feet, purple-blue plumage with a green back, and red and yellow bill. He may be seen walking on top of floating vegetation as their extremely long toes help it walk on lily pads without sinking or cambering through dense shrubs.
Frequenting the open water areas are also Black Terns and Caspian Terns. In addition to these, there are a wealth of songbirds and upland birds including Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock.
You will also be surrounded by an abundance of wetland plant life with some of the most interesting species such as Blue Fringed Gentian, Cardinal-Flower, common Ladies-Tresses and Indian Paintbrush. Tuttle Marsh will truly be a favorite wildlife area for future visits!
Location: From Oscoda, take US 23 (AuSable Road) to Tuttle Marsh Road. For more information, go to www.ausablevalleyaudubon.com.