May 23, 2014
May 23rd is World Turtle Day and Michigan is home to 10 native turtle species. I’ve now profiled 7 (most with Nick’s awesome photography), and you can get the full list at one of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures: Know Your Michigan Turtles.
Graptemys geographica (Common Map Turtle, Northern Map Turtle) from the University of Michigan Animal Diversity web says (in part):
Common map turtles get their name from the markings on the carapace. The light markings resemble waterways on a map or chart. The lines on the carapace are a shade of yellow or orange and are surrounded by dark borders. The rest of the carapace is olive or grayish brown. The markings on the older turtles may be barely visible because of darker pigment. The carapace is broad with moderately low keel. The hind of the carapace is slightly scalloped shaped due to the scutes. The plastron of an adult map turtle tends to be plain yellowish color. The head, neck and limbs are dark olive, brown or black with thin yellow, green or orangish stripes. There is also a oval spot located behind the eye of most specimens. There is sexual dimorphism in size and shape. The females are much larger than the males…
The common map turtle is dormant from November through early April. Most of that time is spent under the water, wedged beneath submerged logs, in the bottom mud of a lake or in a burrow. They have been known to change locations in the middle of the winter. They are avid baskers and they bask in groups. They are diurnal, active both in the day and at night. They are also a very wary animal, at the slightest hint of danger they slip into the water and hide. During courtship the male initiates by tapping his long claws on the front of the female but few details are known.
Common map turtles are omnivores. The feeding always takes place in the water. The adult females, due to their large heads and strong jaws eat larger prey than the males. The females consume snails, clams, and crayfish. The males eat aquatic insects, snails, and smaller crustaceans. Both are also known to eat dead fish and some plant material.
View Nick’s photo bigger, see more of his Northern Map Turtle photos or just dive into his huge collection of turtle pics! Nick also runs the Herping Michigan Blog that features all kinds of photo-rich features of Michigan frogs, snakes, salamanders and turtles. Definitely check out his Kayaking for Turtles post to see dozens of turtles from several turtle species that he photographed on one river paddle in Northern Michigan.
American Tortoise Rescue, a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, is sponsoring its 14th annual World Turtle Day™ on May 23rd. The day was created as an observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Click the link to learn more about turtles and how you can protect them.
April 29, 2014
I was looking for something on Michigan in Pictures and came across a series of “Michigan’s Tallest” posts that I did a couple of years ago. I thought it made sense to add to that list, so - according to Wikipedia’s list of the tallest lighthouse towers in the United States - measuring in at 130′ tall, Rock of Ages is Michigan’s tallest lighthouse.
It’s also the tallest lighthouse on the Great Lakes and on his Rock of Ages Light page at Seeing the Light, Terry Pepper writes (in part):
Consisting of a strip of exposed rock 50 feet wide and 210 feet long, with it highest point some sixteen feet above the water, Rock of Ages lies two and a half miles off the western end of Isle Royale. While the 205-foot wooden sidewheel steamer CUMBERLAND had been the rock’s only victim in over a half century of Superior navigation, changing navigation patterns in the final decade of the nineteenth century suddenly made Rock of Ages a critical impediment to safe navigation on the big lake.
As Duluth grew to preeminence as the lake’s major shipping port, a growing number of mariners were choosing to set a course along the northern shore during Superior’s violent storms in order to avoid the uncertain and changeable conditions of open water. With Rock of Ages lurking directly in the path of vessels choosing this course, a cry arose in the maritime community for the establishment of a Light on Rock of Ages.
…On completion, the tower stood eight stories in height, and offered relatively large and comfortable quarters for the complement of four keepers assigned to the station. A steam heating plant located in the upper cellar provided heat to cast iron radiators in all rooms, and the first deck was home to the fog signal plant and hoisting engines for the pillar crane located at the edge of the pier level. This crane was used both for raising supplies delivered by the lighthouse tenders at the wharf and for raising the keeper’s boat for storage on the safety of the pier deck. An office and common room made up the second deck, and a mess room and kitchen the third. The Keeper and First Assistant’s quarters were located on the fourth deck, with the Second and Third Assistants quarters immediately above on the Fifth deck. A service room and watch room comprised the sixth and seventh decks, leaving the huge lantern capping the structure above.
About the photo, Dave writes: Photo taken from the back of Voyageur II heading into Windigo with 7 foot waves at 300mm. Yeah I almost got sea sick from taking these.
More lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.
April 22, 2014
I’d like to wish everyone who wants to have a happy Earth Day a very happy Earth Day.
I love this state and I love the planet it’s on and really hope that we can do a better job taking care of it because I want my kids and grandkids to enjoy it as much or more than me.
More Earth Day on Michigan in Pictures. If you’re interested in Earth Day’s Michigan roots, check out Ann Arbor’s First Earth Day from the Ann Arbor Chronicle and this video from the first Earth Day at UM courtesy the Bentley Historical Library.
January 21, 2014
Jonathan Schechter of Earth’s Almanac marks Squirrel Appreciation Day, saying:
Squirrel Appreciation Day is here; like them or not. January 21st is the day to look at America’s favorite rodent as something other than pancake-flat road kill, a clever feeder-robber or free entertainment for a frustrated window watching cat. Take time today to appreciate their adaptability and ability to not just survive but thrive in our midst. This slightly nutty ‘holiday’ is saluted by the National Wildlife Federation and was founded in 2001 by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina. Despite the fact that many fail to look both ways before crossing a highway even squirrel haters should salute these creatures that bury nuts; helping to spread trees to areas where the nut did not fall.
In Oakland County the squirrels seen in winter are the evergreen tree loving red squirrels, the rusty orange colored fox squirrel and the gray squirrel, a squirrel of the great American hardwood forests that is sometimes jet black. We are also home to the northern flying squirrel; a nocturnal creature that is more common than many realize! Chipmunks are seldom seen in winter and our 13 lined ground squirrel are under ground snoozing until spring thaw.
Andrew took this photo at the University of Michigan. Due to the high degree of squirrel activity on campus, there’s a Squirrel Club at UM. View Andrew’s photo background bigtacular and see more of this little guy in his Squirrel slideshow.
More squirrels on Michigan in Pictures.
December 31, 2013
Probably my favorite thing about the New Year is the sense that anything and everything is possible. For myself, I’m happy to close the door on 2013 which has been a tougher than usual year and looking forward to new opportunities in 2014.
I hope that whatever you’re feeling about the year that’s gone that the year to come brings you everything you hope for and some wonderful surprises that you weren’t expecting. Happy New Year everyone!
PS: Thanks everyone for the great comments and kind words yesterday!
December 25, 2013
December 19, 2013
mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa makes the question of whether we’ll have a white Christmas or not pretty simple, saying: “If you will be in Michigan this Christmas, your dream of a white Christmas will come true – wherever you are.” Read on for his detailed forecast.
Alert readers will note the first back-to-back owling in Michigan in Pictures history. What can I say? This shot of a barred owl is simply perfect!!
More birds on Michigan in Pictures.