July 4, 2014
June 21, 2014
If you were up at 4:51 AM this morning marking summer solstice, you have a long day ahead of you. The longest of the year in fact! More about the summer solstice at EarthSky and I hope you enjoy today and your summer!
More about solstices on Michigan in Pictures.
June 16, 2014
Jason shared this shot of one of my favorite views in Michigan, the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, in the Michigan Cover Photos Group. It’s the new cover photo for the Michigan in Pictures Facebook page and (in my opinion) looks just about perfect.
Much more about the Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures.
May 31, 2014
Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, the three universities that make up Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC), have released a report titled “Innovating for the Blue Economy“. The report cites nearly $300 million in awards for water-related research and outreach from 2009 to 2013 that have led to innovations from dealing with invasive species and monitoring water quality to finding ways to optimize water use in agriculture. Their news release on the report prepared by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG) says in part:
AEG’s analysis showed that Michigan ranked fourth in the nation in the percentage of jobs associated with industries related to water, at 718,700.
“One in five Michigan jobs is tied to having good and plentiful water,” said AEG founder and CEO Patrick Anderson. “It is an important economic driver in Michigan, and extends to Great Lakes shipping, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, and over 80 other industry subsectors where Michigan workers are employed today.”
While most of Michigan’s water-related jobs are in water-enabled industries such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing, about 138,000 are in core water products and services producing water treatment facilities and solving water quality and quantity issues.
“Water isn’t just Michigan’s defining characteristic but the foundation of life on earth,” said Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Our three universities make significant commitments to support water-related research and programs. These not only support Michigan’s economy and quality of life, but position the state as a knowledge wellspring for the world’s most precious natural resource.”
Read on and read the full report right here. The report is chock full of interesting facts including that those 718,700 jobs represent 21.3% of Michigan’s total employment (4th in the nation) and details many of the accomplishments of Michigan’s investment in our “Big Three” university research programs. Also note that “downstream” industries like tourism that rely on healthy water resources aren’t included in the numbers.
Robby writes that Otter Creek Beach has to be the reason why Sleeping Bear Dunes was Voted “Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America. View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.
Michigan in Pictures has over 40 pages of water-related photos – drink deep!
May 29, 2014
There are three falls 15 feet or higher on a half mile stretch of Dover Creek, plus a couple of smaller drops. In the spring time, or after some good rains, these waterfalls are very impressive. Unfortunately the creek has a very small watershed, and the falls are often reduced to trickles.
The three main drops are usually referred to as the upper, middle and lower falls. The upper falls is around 20 feet high. The water spills over an irreguarly shaped cliff into a small gorge.
Downstream of the upper falls is a dam and artificial lake. Below the dam are a couple of smaller drops, and the middle falls. The middle falls is also about 20 feet high, and is perhaps the most scenic in lower water. The cliff face here is smoother, and the water is not segmented the way it is at the upper falls. The middle falls is also the easiest to reach and there are plenty of good viewing spots.
Read on for more including directions and info about the lower Hungarian Falls.
Many (many) more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures.
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.
May 22, 2014
May 14, 2014
The All About Birds listing for Aix sponsa (wood duck) says in part:
The Wood Duck is one of the most stunningly pretty of all waterfowl. Males are iridescent chestnut and green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather; the elegant females have a distinctive profile and delicate white pattern around the eye. These birds live in wooded swamps, where they nest in holes in trees or in nest boxes put up around lake margins. They are one of the few duck species equipped with strong claws that can grip bark and perch on branches.
Wood Ducks thrive in bottomland forests, swamps, freshwater marshes, and beaver ponds. They are also common along streams of all sizes, from creeks to rivers, and the sheer extent of these make them an important habitat. Wood Ducks seem to fare best when open water alternates with 50–75% vegetative cover that the ducks can hide and forage in.
Some wood duck facts:
- Natural cavities for nesting are scarce, and the Wood Duck readily uses nest boxes provided for it. If nest boxes are placed too close together, many females lay eggs in the nests of other females. (click for info about building a nest box)
- The Wood Duck nests in trees near water, sometimes directly over water, but other times up to 2 km (1.2 mi) away. After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of up to 89 m (290 ft) without injury.
- Wood Ducks pair up in January, and most birds arriving at the breeding grounds in the spring are already paired. The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.
Many (many) more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.
April 30, 2014
I try not to blog photos from the same photographer close together, but sometimes the photos have different ideas. John aka Michigan Nut took this shot on April 26th at Michigan’s largest waterfall and writes:
Upper Michigan still has over a foot of snow on the ground and the Tahquamenon river is RAGING from the runoff. The mist was freezing on my camera. I think the light on the left side of the image is coming from the little town of Paradise, Michigan.
The official Tahquamenon Falls Facebook has a great video of the spring flow which can approach 50,000 gallons per second!
March 26, 2014
Although the Soo Locks opened yesterday, UpNorthLive reports that for the first time in 20 years no ships passed through. Click through for a video story that includes footage from the Locks and an interview with Soo Locks Lock Master Tom Soeltner.
About the photo, the Coast Guard News writes:
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw steers the cutter through the fog as it passed through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., March 21, 2014. The Mackinaw along with the Coast Guard Cutters Morro Bay and Katmai Bay passed through the locks together en route to breaking ice in the St. Marys River and Lake Superior in preparation of the scheduled opening of the Locks, March 25. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.