Cracking Ice

cracking-ice

Cracking Ice, photo by Jerry James Photography

Jerry writes: As I stood on the Ice waiting for the sun to set ( we was 1 1/2 hours early ) I could here all the ice around me cracking. talk about being paranoid, I wasn’t out to deep but it was still pretty cold and I wasn’t dressed to get wet. but everything ended good though, I stayed dry.

Always a good idea to be careful and know what’s below you when the temperatures rise.

View his photo from Muskegon bigger, see more in his slideshow, and follow Jerry James Photography on Facebook.

Seuss Trees

seuss-trees

Seuss Trees, photo by Carolyn Gallo

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
-Dr. Seuss

Fitting photo from southeast Michigan as we head into a weekend where temps are expected to climb into the 50s and not drop below freezing in Detroit until January 27th!

View Carolyn’s photo on Instagramfollow her @carolynchip and keep up with her photos on her 500px.

Soo Geometry

soo-geometry-1-by-liz-glass

Soo Geometry I, photo by Liz Glass

Liz says she drove two-and-a-half hours last June to get a burger at the West Pier Drive-in (though she really went for the view). Check out her photo bigger and see more in her awesome Abstracts slideshow.

Michigan Mink (Mustela vison)

michigan-mink

Hello Mink, photo by Glen Suszko

The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy has an excellent article on the mink (Mustela vision) that says in part:

Some predators are highly specialized, honed by evolution to efficiently hunt certain prey in distinct habitats and situations. And then there’s the mink (Mustela vison). The sleek, dark- bodied weasel is about as versatile as predators come – taking a wide variety of prey on land and water, day or night. If a mink played baseball, it would be the utility player who could step in at almost every position.

Mink are found throughout North America except in the extreme northernmost reaches of Canada and the arid southwestern U.S. Much larger than the short-tailed and long-tailed weasels (see the March – April 2012 issue of The Wildlife Volunteer), adult males reach 28 inches in length and can weigh up to 3.5 pounds. Females are smaller, but are still big enough to prey on muskrats, rabbits, small woodchucks, chickens, a host of smaller animals, and birds’ eggs.

A mink’s foot has five toes that are slightly webbed and with semi-retractile claws. That combination lets the animals swim well and keep its claws sharp enough to grab fish and other slippery prey.

Mink can dive 15 feet and swim fast enough to catch muskrats underwater as well as in muskrat houses and burrows. They stalk lakeshores, river banks, and wetlands, matching hunting times to prey availability. This past winter, I watched a mink follow a lakeshore, then walk the edge of open water on ice in broad daylight far away from cover. Yet, mink also frequently hunt at night, slinking in and out of thick brush, cattail stands, log jams, or rock piles.

Read on for lots more!

View Glen’s photo from the Sterling Heights Nature Center bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more Michigan animals on Michigan in Pictures!

Ice is Nice: Tracking Ice Cover on the Great Lakes

shoreline-ice-on-lake-michigan

Shoreline Ice, photo by Mark Swanson

Ice on Michigan’s Great Lakes has become something of a phenomenon in the last few years, attracting photographers and thousands more to see the ephemeral beauty created by wind, water, and freezing temperatures. But ice has other important purposes, as NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory page on Great Lakes Ice Cover explains:

Ice formation on the Great Lakes is a clear signal of winter. Looking back in time, the lakes were formed over several thousands of years as mile-thick layers of glacial ice advanced and retreated, scouring and sculpting the basin. The shape and drainage patterns of the basin were in a constant state of flux resulting from the ebb and flow of glacial meltwater coupled with the rebound of the underlying land as the massive ice sheets retreated.

Heavy ice cover can reduce the amount of evaporation from the Great Lakes in the winter, thus contributing to higher water levels.

In bays and other nearshore areas, ice forms a stable platform for winter recreational activity such as ice fishing. This stable ice also protects wetlands and the shoreline from erosion.

  • 94.7% ice coverage in 1979 is the maximum on record (data began in 1973)
  • 9.5% ice coverage in 2002 is the lowest on record
  • 11.5% ice coverage in 1998, a strong El Niño year
  • The extreme ice cover in 2014 (92.5%) and 2015 (88.8%) were the first consecutive high ice cover years since the late 1970s.

NOAA pegs the current ice cover at 9.9% and you can also watch an animation of the last 60 days of ice formation. You can check out satellite images of the Great Lakes for current ice cover and also this cool animation of Great Lakes ice cover from 1973 – 2016.

Mark took this photo a little over a week ago at Lincoln Township Park near Stevensville. With the warmer weather, there’s probably less. View his photo bigger and see more in his Michigan Winter slideshow.

Turtle Club

turtle-club

Turtle Club, photo by Andrew McFarlane

“Am I not turtley enough for the turtle club?”
-Dana Carvey, Master of Disguise

Pretty sure it’s just sleeping.

I took this photo last weekend on a walk along Lake Michigan in the Leelanau Conservancy’s Whaleback Natural Area just south of Leland.

View it background big and see more in my Lake Michigan, Pearl of America slideshow.

More winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Walking with Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Park Kalamazoo
Martin Luther King Park, photo by Bill Dolak

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
-Martin Luther King

The sculpture is “Martin Luther King” by Lisa Reinertson and her site includes an article about the sculpture:

A bronze portrait figure of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. strides forward confidently in a small park in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The statue, created by sculptor Lisa Reinertson, is only slightly larger than real life, but its presence is monumental.

Seen from a distance, the clerical robe worn by Reverend King strengthens the tall, pyramidal composition, while the robe’s flowing contours both animate the design and echo the character of this restless minister who was constantly on the march for freedom and justice.

Upon approaching the sculpture, which the viewer is drawn to do by its placement on a simple low pedestal, one sees that the robe is embellished with scenes from the civil rights struggle rendered in low relief. A black slave labors in a field near the hem of the robe, while a dark fold of the garment reveals the lynching of a man by the Ku Klux Klan. A Montgomery city bus and a portrait of Rosa Parks adorn the lower left side. The Selma to Montgomery march and King’s I Have a Dream speech are depicted elsewhere. One also finds images of voter registration, school desegregation, the Greensboro, North Carolina lunch counter sit in, and the use of firehoses to break up the peaceful 1963 Birmingham demonstrations. Down King’s broad back the vertical folds of the cloth evolve into the bars of the Birmingham Jail with a pensive King seated behind them. Above him is the image of Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired King’s use of non-violent civil disobedience.

View Bill’s photo from MLK Park in Kalamazoo background big and see more in his MASSIVE Kalamazoo slideshow.

More about Martin Luther King on Michigan in Pictures.