Say Hello to Oliver & Charlotte

Red Fox Pups (Vulpes vulpes) by John Dykstra

Red Fox Pups (Vulpes vulpes) by John Dykstra

The Social Security Administration has shared the 100 most popular baby names for each state in 2020 to their online list.  For Michigan in 2020, the most popular male name was Oliver & with Charlotte as our most popular female name. Amelia, Olivia, Eva & Emma completed the top five girl’s names while Noah, Liam, Henry & Elijah rounded out the top boy names.

The lists go back to 1960 when David & Mary led the way.

While John didn’t report the actual names of these two when he shared the photo back in 2009, the little guy on the left is definitely an Oliver! See more in John’s Michigan gallery on Flickr.

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An American Bug: The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly by David Marvin

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly by David Marvin

The University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web entry for the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) says in part:

The eastern tiger swallowtail ranges from Alaska and the Hudsonian zone of Canada to the southern United States, east of the Rocky Mountains.

This species occurs in nearly every area where deciduous woods are present, including towns and cities. It is most numerous along streams and river, and in wooded swamps.

As with most butterflies, Eastern tiger swallowtails tend to be solitary. Males “patrol” for a mate, flying from place to place actively searching for females. “Patrolling” male tiger swallowtails can recognize areas of high moisture absorbtion by the sodium ion concentration of the area. It is believed that the moisture found by these males helps cool them by initiating an active-transport pump. Both male and female tiger swallowtails are known to be high fliers. Groups of fifty butterflies have been spotted in Maryland flying 50 meters high, around the tops of tulip trees.

The tiger swallowtail is thought of as the American insect, in much the same way as the Bald Eagle is thought of as the American bird. It was the first American insect pictured in Europe; a drawing was sent to England from Sir Walter Raleighs’ third expedition to Virginia.

You can read on for more including photos. I also found a page with a listing of Michigan butterflies and apparently we have eight species of swallowtail butterfly!

Beautiful capture by David. See more in his 2022 Calender gallery on Flickr! 

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Happy (belated) World Turtle Day!

Map Turtle by David Marvin

Map Turtle by David Marvin

World Turtle Day (May 23rd) is an annual day of recognition that was started in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue to raise awareness about turtles & help preserve endangered turtles worldwide. Although it was yesterday, I can’t let it pass without comment & really hope you take the time to Know Your Michigan Turtles. We have TEN native species in Michigan, including the common map turtle

David took this photo back in 2014 and you can see more from him in his Lansing gallery on Flickr.

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Fox Friday: Blessed are the curious…

I Spy You Both by Julie

I Spy You Both…. by Julie

Love this shot of two fox kits!! Julie observes “Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures…” and we have to agree!

See more in Julie’s Wildlife gallery & stay curious people!!

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Wolf Making the Rounds

Wolf Making the Rounds by Bill Joyce Ziegler

Wolf Making the Rounds by Bill Joyce Ziegler

Bill got some stunning photos of one of the wolves in a pack south of Amasa in the UP. He shared this & another in the Pure UP group on Facebook. Check it out! Bill also wrote an article last year about the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s plans to take wolves off the Endangered Species List in Michigan. This happened in January 2021 but it’s worth a read: 

Michigan DNR wolf surveys indicate there is a minimum wolf population of 662 adult wolves. This is a minimum population since young of the year wolves are not surveyed.

Cody Norton, Michigan DNR Wolf Specialist said the average wolf litter is likely about four to six pups based on research in other similar states. Norton goes on to say in other studied wolf populations “up to 60 percent of the pups may die in the first six months due to disease and malnutrition.”

Norton stated, “The 2018 survey indicated there are 139 wolf packs in the U.P.” (mainland).

He went on to say the average U.P. pack was about five wolves. Norton continues, “Packs are typically comprised of a breeding pair, pups from the current year, offspring from previous litters, and occasionally other wolves that may or may not be related to the breeding pair.”

Norton said surveys indicate, “Wolf territories range in size from 5 to 291 square miles in the U.P., with an average of about 45 square miles. However, territory size has decreased over time, and the number of packs has stagnated, as the wolf population in the U.P. has increased.” Norton added “The U.P. wolf population appears to have been stable for the last eight years or so suggesting they’re likely nearing carrying capacity. This follows a long period of population growth from when we initially surveyed the first three known wolves in 1989 until 2011.”

…Regardless of how you feel about wolves, their population recovery in Michigan has been a success of a native species re-establishing itself. No matter what happens in terms of federal and state wolf management, residents of the Upper Peninsula will continue to live with wolves and will occasionally hear the howl of the wolf.

More from Woods n Water News.

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Just Cruising at the Mighty Mac

Just Cruising by Marsha Morningstar

Just Cruising by Marsha Morningstar

Seems like everyone’s going to the Straits these days to check out the ice at the Mackinac Bridge! 

More from Marsha on her Flickr including a close up shot of these two cuties!

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Woodchuck Weather: Groundhogs dash hopes of early spring

Woodchuck by Tate King

Woodchuck by Tate King

America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, performed his ceremonial weather forecasting duty this morning & predicts six more weeks of winter. Closer to home, the Howell Nature Center shared a Facebook Live (below) of Michigan’s own prognosticating groundhog, Woody. Sadly, her forecast matched Phil’s so I guess winter will be with us for a while.

Tate got this shot of a woodchuck not hogging the ground at all back in March of 2007. You can see another on his Flickr.

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Otter at Otter Lake

Otter at Otter Lake by Nicholas McCreedy

Otter at Otter Lake by Nicholas McCreedy

Nicholas writes that this otter spotted him at Otter Lake in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. See a couple more shots & follow him on Facebook!

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Michigan’s Isle Royale moose study sidelined by pandemic

Chickenbone Lake Moose by David Clark

Chickenbone Lake Moose! by David Clark

The Associated Press’s John Flesher writes that one of the world’s longest-running wildlife field studies, the Isle Royale moose & wolf study,  has fallen prey to the coronavirus pandemic:

Since 1959, a research team has spent most of the winter observing the interplay between wolves and moose at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. But this year’s mission has been scrapped to protect the scientists and support personnel from possible exposure to the virus, Superintendent Denice Swanke said Friday.

Experts from several universities, the park service and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa had planned to assess how an effort to rebuild the wolf population is affecting the ecosystem.

The remote park is closed from Nov. 1 to April 15. The winter researchers use a single cabin, which wouldn’t allow for social distancing. Also factoring into the decision to cancel the expedition were the border closure between the United States and Canada, and a shortage of flight resources to bring supplies, Swanke said.

The park service and partners will try to document wolf population changes this summer using remote cameras and other techniques, Swanke said. But they won’t have the benefit of aerial observations that can be done only during winter, when the animals are easier to spot.

“There will just be a hole in the data that nothing can be done about,” said John Vucetich of Michigan Technological University, one of the biologists who have produced annual reports about the wolves and moose that roam the island park, as well as its other wildlife and vegetation.

More at the AP & you can read a lot more about Isle Royale & moose in Michigan on Michigan in Pictures!

David writes: As we were hiking from West Chickenbone Lake campground to McCargoe Cove, I saw a fallen tree’s roots across the narrow arm of the lake. Then the roots turned and looked at me. Moooooose!! See more in his Isle Royale 2017 gallery on Flickr & for sure check out his blog posts about the trip in his excellent blog Cliffs & Ruins!

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Autumn Pasture

Autumn Pasture by paulh192

Autumn Pasture by paulh192

Paul captured a gorgeous fall scene last week. See what he’s found lately on his Flickr!

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