October 17, 2014
October 13, 2014
The UM Animal Diversity Web’s entry for Parus atricapillus (black-capped chickadee) says in part:
Black-capped chickadees prefer deciduous woodlands, open woods and parks, cottonwood groves, and willow thickets. They are most commonly seen near edges of wooded areas. They are a frequent visitor to backyard feeders. Black-capped chickadees nest in cavities, usually in dead trees or stumps, and are attracted to habitats with suitable nesting locations. During the winter, small flocks of black-capped chickadees can be found in dense conifer forests.
…Black-capped chickadees hop on trees (occasionally on the ground), rather than “walking.” These birds are very active during the day, and can often be seen foraging upside-down. Black-capped chickadees form monogamous pairs which usually stay together for several years. The black-capped chickadee social system has two extremes, one shown by territorial pairs during the breeding season, and the other consisting of non-breeding flocks. These are often mixed species flocks including nuthatches, woodpeckers, kinglets, brown creepers, warblers, and vireos. Black-capped chickadees perform short-distance migrations, but remain in the same general region throughout the year.
Read on for lots more including photos and chickadee calls.
October 1, 2014
EarthSky reports that for the full moon on October 8th, there’s a whole lot going on!
In skylore, the Northern Hemisphere’s Hunter’s Moon on October 7-8 will be called a Blood Moon. Plus the October 7-8 total lunar eclipse – the second of four total lunar eclipses in the ongoing lunar tetrad – has been widely called a Blood Moon. Voila. Double Blood Moon.
Hunter’s Moon the name for the full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon nearest the September 23 autumnal equinox. This year, the Harvest Moon came on September 9. That’s why tonight’s moon bears the name Hunter’s Moon.
…In 2014 and 2015, a new usage of the term Blood Moon sprang up. Surely you heard about it at the total lunar eclipse in April 2014. It’s the name being used for the four eclipses of the ongoing lunar tetrad – four total lunar eclipses in a row, each separated from the other by six lunar months. (more on this on Michigan in Pictures)
The partial umbral eclipse begins at 5:15 AM EDT on October 8, with the total eclipse starting at 6:25 AM, peaking at 6:55 and ending at 7:24. On top of all that is the question as to whether or not October 8th’s moon is a supermoon:
At least two commentators – Richard Nolle and Fred Espenak – disagree on whether the October 8, 2014 full moon should be called a supermoon. Is it? You’re likely to see all sorts of conflicting information in October, 2014. If you define a supermoon based on the year’s closest perigee and farthest apogee, then the October 8 moon is not a supermoon. If you define a supermoon based on the perigee and apogee for a given monthly orbit, then it is a supermoon. And not just any supermoon, but a super Hunter’s Blood Moon in eclipse!
I guess with Frank’s photo from October 2013, we could add “Sandhill Moon” to the list! He writes that he took this at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary where counts were as high as eight thousand sandhill cranes a day during last fall’s migration! View his photo bigger and see more in his Landscape slideshow.
Lots more full moon magic on Michigan in Pictures!
August 29, 2014
Michigan has miles and miles of public beaches, and our entire Great Lakes shoreline is open for walking by state law. Here’s hoping you can close out your summer with some fun in the sun!
Lots more Michigan beaches on Michigan in Pictures!
August 11, 2014
June 30, 2014
June 25, 2014
The entry for Green Heron (Butorides virescens) at All About Birds says (in part):
From a distance, the Green Heron is a dark, stocky bird hunched on slender yellow legs at the water’s edge, often hidden behind a tangle of leaves. Seen up close, it is a striking bird with a velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and a dark cap often raised into a short crest. These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait.
Some Fun Facts…
- The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It creates fishing lures with bread crusts, insects, earthworms, twigs, feathers, and other objects, dropping them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.
- Like many herons, the Green Heron tends to wander outside of its breeding range after the nesting season is over. Most of the wanderers stay nearby as they search for good feeding habitat, but some travel long distances. Individuals have turned up as far away as England and France.
- Green Herons usually hunt by wading in shallow water, but occasionally they dive for deep-water prey and need to swim back to shore—probably with help from the webs between their middle and outer toes. One juvenile heron was seen swimming gracefully for more than 60 feet, sitting upright “like a little swan,” according to one observer.
- The oldest Green Heron on record was 7 years, 11 months old.
View the photo bigger and see this heron’s fishing technique in John’s amazing slideshow. FYI, it doesn’t end well for the fish.
Many more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.