Manistee’s Giant Sequoia Tree

Giant Sequoia Tree Manistee, Michigan by Charles Bonham

Giant Sequoia Tree Manistee, Michigan by Charles Bonham

Charles shares that this Giant Sequoia (Sequoiaadendron giganteum) at Lake Bluff Arboretum in Manistee was planted in 1949 on a cliff along Lake Michigan is now over 100 feet tall! You can see another view right here and view lots more on his Flickr!

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Michpics Rewind: Whitefish & Cranes edition

Over the Moon by Todd Bielby

Over the Moon by Todd Bielby

Here’s one of my favorite Native stories that I originally shared in back in 2013…

The 1896 book Myths and Legends of our Own Land by Charles M. Skinner relates a rather gruesome version of the tale of the origin of Whitefish:

An Indian who lived far in the north was so devoted to the chase that he was never at home for the whole of a day, to the sorrow of his two boys, who liked nothing so much as to sport with him and to be allowed to practise with his weapons. Their mother told them that on no account were they to speak to him of the young man who visited the lodge while their father was away, and it was not until they were well grown and knew what the duty of wives should be that they resolved to disobey her. The hunter struck the woman dead when he learned of her perfidy. So greatly did her spirit trouble them, however, that they could no longer abide in their old home in peace and comfort, and they left the country and journeyed southward until they came to the Sault Sainte Marie.

As they stood beside the falls a head came rolling toward them on the earth—the head of the dead woman. At that moment, too, a crane was seen riding on the surface of the water, whirling about in its strongest eddies, and when one of the boys called to it, “O Grandfather, we are persecuted by a spirit; take us across the falls,” the crane flew to them. “Cling to my back and do not touch my head,” it said to them, and landed them safely on the farther shore.

But now the head screamed, “Come, grandfather, and carry me over, for I have lost my children and am sorely distressed,” and the bird flew to her likewise. “Be careful not to touch my head,” it said. The head promised obedience, but succumbed to curiosity when half-way over and touched the bird’s head to see what was the matter with him. With a lurch the crane flung off his burden and it fell into the rapids. As it swept down, bumping against the rocks, the brains were pounded out and strewn over the water. “You were useless in life,” cried the crane. “You shall not be so in death. Become fish!” And the bits of brain changed to roe that presently hatched to a delicate white fish, the flesh whereof is esteemed by Indians of the lakes, and white men, likewise. The family pitched a lodge near the spot and took the crane as their totem or name-mark. Many of their descendants bear it to this day.

The version I read in one of my all-time favorite books, Lore of the Great Turtle : Indian Legends of Mackinac Retold by Dirk Gringhuis is pretty dark as well.

You can see more from Todd on his Flickr & view & purchase photos on his website.

Read lots more about Sandhill cranes on Michigan in Pictures

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Hartwick Pines donor honored

Hartwick Pines State Park by James Salinas

Hartwick Pines State Park by James Salinas

mLive shares that the woman whose donation created Hartwick Pines State Park has been honored by the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame:

Nearly 100 years ago, a Grayling woman named Karen Hartwick bought and then donated to the state of Michigan an 8,000-acre parcel containing a rare and precious grove of pristine virgin pine trees.

The donation was significant for a woman acting alone at that time, but also considering that Hartwick’s father had made his fortune from the logging boom that had leveled much of Michigan’s ancient forests.

…Hartwick’s vision gave Michigan its beloved Hartwick Pines State Park, and it’s continued to keep that land safe in the century that has followed. As recently as a decade ago, the original “spirit and intent” of Hartwick’s donation was invoked as reason for the state to drop the land from an auction that would have allowed drilling exploration underneath those prized old-growth pines.

Lots more at mLive, visit the Environmental Hall of Fame & learn more about Hartwick Pines on Michigan in Pictures.

James took this photo way back in 2010. You can see more in his Hartwick Pines State Park gallery on Flickr.

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Sand Point Lighthouse

Tip of Sand Point by Mike Sherman

Tip of Sand Point by Mike Sherman

WHOOPS! This is Sand Point Lighthouse on Lake Superior

Head over to Mike’s Flickr and his Facebook page for his latest.

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Cherry Jubilation

Cherry Jubilation by Mark Smith

Cherry Jubilation by Mark Smith

Along with everything else, cherry blossoms exploded across Michigan in the last week or two as warm weather released pent-up energy. Up in northwest lower Michigan where Mark got this shot over the weekend, they are going strong. What are you seeing in your next of the woods?

See his latest including some sweet orchard shots on his Flickr & definitely view and purchase Mark’s work at Leelanau Landscapes!

More blossoms, cherry & otherwise on Michigan in Pictures.

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Sunrise at Gabbro Falls

Sunrise at Gabbro Falls by Neil Weaver

Sunrise at Gabbro Falls by Neil Weaver

GoWaterfalling’s page on Gabbro Falls has directions to this western Upper Peninsula waterfall and begins:

Gabbro Falls is on the Black River and is as impressive, if not more impressive, than its more celebrated neighbors downstream along the Black River Scenic Byway. This is a largely wild waterfall with no fences or barriers of any kind. It consists of three separate drops. When the water is high there is a fourth drop that is the height of the other three combined. The main drop falls into a narrow crevice between two large rock formations.

Follow Neil on Facebook and for sure head over to his website to view & purchase prints. This pic is on his Michigan Waterfalls page!

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Fox Friday: Hanging at the Den

Hanging at the Den by TP Mann

Hanging at the Den by TP Mann

Another year, another pair of fox kits for the Michigan in Pictures family! Last year I christened a pair Oliver & Charlotte based on Michigan’s most popular baby names. Both Oliver & Charlotte have been dethroned, so please put your hands together for Noah & Amelia (#2 & #4 in the US respectively). 

TP took this photo on Sunday. See more on his Flickr!

More foxes on Michigan in Pictures.

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Blue Canary aka Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting by Kevin Povenz

Indigo Bunting by Kevin Povenz

Yesterday I saw a brilliant blue Indigo bunting on the bird feeder, so let’s talk about them! All About Birds shares that the all-blue male Indigo Bunting are sometimes nicknamed “blue canaries” and known for their bouncy songs. There’s all kinds of info including recordings of their songs and fun facts like:

Indigo Buntings migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. Researchers demonstrated this process in the late 1960s by studying captive Indigo Buntings in a planetarium and then under the natural night sky. The birds possess an internal clock that enables them to continually adjust their angle of orientation to a star—even as that star moves through the night sky.

Indigo Buntings learn their songs as youngsters, from nearby males but not from their fathers. Buntings a few hundred yards apart generally sing different songs, while those in the same “song neighborhood” share nearly identical songs. A local song may persist up to 20 years, gradually changing as new singers add novel variations.

Like all other blue birds, Indigo Buntings lack blue pigment. Their jewel-like color comes instead from microscopic structures in the feathers that refract and reflect blue light, much like the airborne particles that cause the sky to look blue.

Kevin took this a decade ago at the Upper Macatawa Natural Area in Zeeland. See more in his Birds gallery on Flickr.

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Red Flag Fire Danger today!

Forest Fire - Sleeping Bear Dunes by Todd

Forest Fire – Sleeping Bear Dunes by Todd

mLive shares that the northern half of Lower Michigan has a red flag fire warning today, meaning that the warm, dry, windy conditions allow wildfires to not only start easily, but also spread quickly. Much of the lower peninsula is dry as well so PLEASE careful with fire today!!

Todd took this back in 2018 on a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore trail. He shares, “The scene was surreal as the flames wound their way through the forest. It was disturbing and beautiful at the same time. No one else was around to experience it.”

I bet!! See more in his Sleeping Bear Dunes gallery on Flickr.

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Building a Backyard Habitat

Prairie by Natalie Cypher

Prairie by Natalie Cypher

Rayna Skiver of the Great Lakes Echo has an article on the benefits of building a backyard habitat for Michigan wildlife that says in part:

A habitat can be as simple as a place that provides food, water and shelter for wildlife, said Natalie Cypher, naturalist and educator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Adventure Center.

Building a habitat in your backyard can require as much or as little space as you want, Cypher said. It depends on what type of wildlife you want to attract.

Research is the first step.

“If you’re looking to provide a habitat for monarch butterflies, you have to use milkweed,” Cypher said. “Monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed plants and it’s the only food that their caterpillars will eat.”

…Backyard habitats benefit both wildlife and the people making them. For wildlife, they provide food and a safe place to nest. People benefit because of the positive feelings associated with added greenery and the presence of wildlife.

In a suburban neighborhood, a lot of land doesn’t provide habitat, Cypher said. One million acres of wildlife habitat are lost every year due to suburban development, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

“Providing a small patch of habitat can be high impact,” Cypher said.

The National Wildlife Federation reports benefits like higher percentages of native plants, indicator species, tree coverage, water conservation and wildlife presence.

Native plants use less water and sequester carbon, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Home gardeners benefit from native pollinators such as bees and butterflies because they can increase fruit and vegetable production and help with pest control, Cypher said.

Read on for much more at the Echo. You can learn more about the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Adventure Center & even apply for a job on their website!

More Michigan gardens & gardening on Michigan in Pictures.

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