This coming weekend is expected to be peak color tour time, with colder than average temps the leaves are turning at a rapid rate from the north, south to the border. The weather is expected to be sunny and dry, although cold this weekend, so the colors should be beautiful.
North of Clare to the Sault in the UP: Trees are all in color except willows and oaks. Maples are red, burgundy, yellow and orange. Aspen are yellow. The willows and oaks are getting pale-a few yellow leaves. They received a hard frost along with snow last weekend which will make the color change faster.
Petoskey Area: The colors will reach their peak this coming weekend (Oct 16/17). As of Monday 10/12 they were still seeing entire trees of green mixed in with Sugar Maples that are completely red. On the hill tops you can see large clumps of hardwoods that are at 70%. This weekend will bring them to 80%-100% in the Greater Petoskey area. They took a color tour Sunday afternoon from the Apple Tree Inn west on US-31 to Charlevoix. The colors along Lake Michigan shoreline were around 50%. As they headed south on US-31 out of Charlevoix to C-48 they started picking up the Reds and Yellows. As you take M-75 through Boyne City, you can enjoy the Downtown Apple Fest before continuing on to US-131 back to Petoskey. M-75 out of Boyne City, with its hills on each side will be ablaze with Reds and Yellows, as will US-131 from Boyne Falls to Petoskey.
Leelanau County: They are reporting about 15-20% color; yellows, reds and some oranges are showing. Maple trees and a few aspens top the list, but the majority have yet to turn. However, the transition is well under way, with many trees beginning to turn. Predictions are that next weekend will provide the best color tours. There are reds and yellows, but no bright gold’s yet on the aspens. They are mostly seeing fall sparrows in grasslands along with White-throated Sparrows.
Manistee County: Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary is reporting color at 40%, but the areas between Manistee and Scottville are between 70-80%. Radio station reported backroads between Manistee and Ludington were at peak. Reports from east along M-55 are that some areas are still green. Virtually all maples in the area are turning or at peak, Maples showing orange, red, yellow, yellow-green. Many Aspens are turning yellow.
Jackson County: Sandhill Cranes continue to fly into Haehnle Sanctuary to stage. About 100 cranes were seen in and around the sanctuary. Fall colors are mostly reds and yellows, about 5-10% of the trees are showing full color. Other birds seen include coots and Northern Harriers. Many sparrows are seen, including Lincoln's Sparrows.
St. Joseph County: Some areas showing as much as 30-50% color, mostly maples. Oaks are showing some red. They are expecting a good color season down there!
Baker Sanctuary in Calhoun County: Most of the marsh vegetation has changed from a mixture of mostly greens to a mixture of mostly browns and rusty reds. Perhaps 10% of the trees in the Sanctuary are now in full color. But the trails and fields are a beautiful mixture of autumn colors. CraneFest is Saturday and Sunday, come and see hundreds of sandhill cranes!
From Western Van Buren County: Color is at about 25-30 percent. If the wind does not blow them all away, we should see significant color over the next week. The deer are starting to move. The Doe's will be kicking the young of the year to the road, so keep your eyes open on those early morning commutes.
Kalamazoo County: Some maples are turning yellow and red. Our reporter says that his maples are still green, although faded. He said 40% have either changed or are done. The remaining 60% seem faded and on the verge of changing.
Van Buren County: Maples are all changing at about 30% average per tree. Geese are flying over but not as frequent as one would expect. They think the Sandhill Cranes have vacated, but the Turkey Vultures are still here.
Barry County: Is reaching 50% color with mostly reds and yellows in their maples. Oaks are just now starting to turn light yellow, and their tamaracks are in full yellow splendor.
WMTA's online fall color reports are provided by the Michigan Audubon Society and the Apple Tree Inn in Petoskey.