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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Monarchs, Milkweed & Michigan

Monarch with Red Mulch Background by Charles Bonham

Monarch with Red Mulch Background by Charles Bonham

The GT Pulse has an in-depth interview with Cyndie Roach if the GT Butterfly House and Zoo in Williamsburg outlining the generation spanning migration of the monarch butterfly from the Oyamel fir forests of Mexico to Michigan:

…They fly over the Gulf with their first stop being in the Texas panhandle area.

“They land there, take a break, and breed by the millions, lay eggs, and then they die. That super generation has lived all winter and is now ready to make that trip to Texas. So that first generation born in the United States will know to start flying north when they’re born.”

The entire butterfly birthing process takes 30 days. Part of the inherent will to go north has to do with milkweed. It’s the plant that signals them home.

“It’s the single host plant, meaning the caterpillar needs to eat it to become a butterfly. They’re looking for milkweed to lay their eggs on. We don’t even have Milkweed growing yet in the early parts of spring. It doesn’t come up until May and June, so what’s great is that as our spring comes on and things start to get warmer, that’s what’s welcoming the monarch to the area.”

The second generation of monarchs that were born in Texas makes it to the midline of the States, roughly around the Rocky Mountains where their babies will be born, and like their parents and grandparents before them – they’ll know to keep flying north.

“By the time they reach us we’re looking at the third generation typically. So it’s their grandchildren we’re now seeing arrive in Michigan.”

Remember that milkweed Cyndie was talking about? Northern Michigan provides milkweed that some of those third-generation monarchs will use to lay their own eggs. So the butterflies that are going back down to Mexico are the fourth generation of those first butterflies coming from the Oyamel fir forests.

“That’s why it’s so important that we as Michiganders, specifically up here in Northern Michigan, provide as much milkweed habitat as we can for these amazing creatures. We play such an important role, because not only are we the ones who see them come in in the spring, but we help them create a lifecycle.”

Milkweed plays an important role in aiding the monarchs in their generational journey, but also, being cautious with fertilizer and lawn care products. The monarch butterfly population has declined 90 percent over the past two decades, which is directly related to the milkweed population being destroyed.

Read on for lots more, check out the Michigan DNR page on Monarch butterflies & for sure plant milkweed if you can!

Charles took this last week. Head over to his Flickr for lots more!

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Heat Wave about to break

Heat Wave by Dan Gaken

Heat Wave by Dan Gaken

If you’ve been feeling like this black squirrel recently, mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa has the welcome news that a change in the weather on the way:

You’ll have to admit that most of Michigan has been warmer than usual for late August. Well that hot feel is all going to change for this weekend after a strong cold front moves through Friday night.

When a cold front moves through, a new type of air moves in from a different region where it was born. By Saturday morning most of Lower Michigan will know fall is just around the corner. The far southeast corner, with Detroit and Ann Arbor, will get that fall reminder gradually by Saturday evening.

My condolences if you’re on Team Inferno, but we know that Michigan usually delivers some September heat!

Check out more from Dan in his Life in Michigan gallery on Flickr & have a great weekend!

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Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail by David Clark

Butterflies & Moths of North America says that Canadian Tiger Swallowtails are typically smaller than Eastern or Western Tiger Swallowtails. They are found in Canada as well as Alaska and the northern Great Lakes states.

David captured this gorgeous butterfly feeding on his coneflowers. Head over to his Flickr for more and definitely check out his blog Cliffs & Ruins too!

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Miracle Dog makes it home

not too late for an evening swim by ctaylor1987

The Benzie Record-Patriot has a story about a dog that went overboard in Lake Michigan in heavy swells & miraculously made it to shore:

“We are so happy. It’s just a miracle. We can’t believe it. We are calling her ‘The Miracle Dog,'” said Kim Oberman, who has been on a boating vacation with her husband Nick, their children and Roxy.

…According to Oberman, their boat was about two-miles from shore when they figure Roxy must have gone overboard. Thankfully, Roxy had several things in her favor to make it back to shore alive.

“She’s young, and she was wearing a life jacket. She’s a good swimmer, and she’s smart. The current was pushing her to the north and west into the shore,” Oberman said. “Usually when we are cruising we take the life jacket off of her, because we stay down below or by the helm, but this day I hadn’t taken it off, and thank God.”

Read on for the full story at the Record-Patriot & for sure make sure your pups are protected when on the water!

The dog in this pic (and much safer waters) is named Hobie. See more in ctaylor’s On the Lake album.

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Return to Fox Corners

Fox Trio by TP Mann Photography

Back on June 1st, I shared a photo of two fox kits by TP Mann. As you can see, they’ve grown! He writes:

On a beautiful breezy summer evening I was able to watch these young foxes out by their den. A group of birds over and behind me were getting the full attention of this trio along with the old man and the camera.

See more & lots of other great photography on his Flickr!

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Independence Dogs

Aren't They Adorable? by StormchaserMike Photography

Aren’t They Adorable? by StormchaserMike Photography

I know that for many, the 244th Fourth of July is a pale shadow of previous years, but I hope that you all have a safe & happy Independence Day!

Mike took this photo on July 4, 2009 & you can get that small town parade experience in his Clawson July 4, 2009 gallery on Flickr.

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Frog in the duckweed

Frog hiding in the duckweed by William Dolak

Frog hiding in the duckweed by William Dolak

Hot weather is on tap for today – here’s hoping you find a cool spot! Bill shared this photo from Spirit Springs Sanctuary in Cass County in our Michigan in Pictures Group on Facebook. See more photos from his visit right here and consider sharing your own!

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At Home with the Fox Twins

Taking in the Surroundings by TP Mann

Taking in the Surroundings by TP Mann

I know I’m running the risk of becoming an adorable animals photo blog, but darn are these little foxes cute! Here’s a little about baby foxes and what to do if you encounter one from Friends of Wildlife in Ann Arbor:

There are two species of fox in Michigan, the Red and the Gray. The Red prefer meadow areas and the Gray favor woods.

As with most wildlife, the kits are born in early spring. The vixen (female fox) chooses a hollow log, an empty woodchuck hole or a roadside culvert for the nursery. This nest site provides her young protection from predators, especially coyotes. The male fox helps with the rearing by bringing the vixen food while she nurses their young and keeps the kits warm. Then later in the kits development both parents teach them how to forage for food.

The foxes diet consists mainly of small rodents, moles and bugs. The benefits that foxes afford farmland, orchards and the general public is their consumption of these invasive pests. It is an absolute miss conception that fox eat cats, dogs or small children.They are very curious creatures but avoid contact with domestic animals and humans.

When fox kits are first born, their eyes and ears are closed, they remain secluded in their den with their mother. As they develop, at about one month, they start venturing out to play, attacking twigs, leaves and their siblings, but never far from the protection of the den.

If you do find an infant fox, please contact them for further instructions and see their website for information about other species!

See more in TP’s Sites Along the Breezeway photo album.

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Say hello to North American river otters on World Otter Day!

Otters by Brent West

Otters by Brent West

Today (May 27) is International Otter Day, created by the International Otter Survival Fund to raise awareness of their work protecting, conserving, and caring for otters everywhere. Environment Michigan shares five great things about Michigan native otter, the North American River Otter:

1. They’re good fishers
Otters spend most of their life around water, and fish typically make up the majority of their diet. These members of the weasel family travel vast distances along waterways and over land to fish other areas. They’re good explorers, often setting up multiple dens away from their homes to find the best fishing spots.

2. They’re good swimmers
River otters’ sinuous, streamlined bodies and long tails propel them through water with ease. They can turn on a dime while swimming, and hold their breath underwater for up to eight minutes. With populations in nearly every state in the U.S., their thick, warm and waterproof coats allow them to swim in very cold environments.

3. They have fun
River otters are playful animals, and as far as we can tell, they’re often having a good time — swimming, fishing, sliding, wrestling, chasing each other, and just generally having a blast. We hope to be so lucky this summer!

4. They play a key role in aquatic ecosystems
River otters need clean, watery habitat with plenty of prey, so they are a key indicator of the health of a waterway. River otters are not found in highly-polluted watersheds.

5. When we appreciate river otters, we also appreciate clean water
In the face of pollution and uncontrolled development, river otters were once eradicated from many portions of the country. Conservation, re-introduction efforts, and national legislation like the Clean Water Act have helped bring them back from the brink.

Though river otters have returned to much of their historic range, their overall population today is estimated at only 100,000. To protect the river otter, we must protect our rivers, lakes, and streams from pollution and destruction. River otters give us just one more reason – a very cute reason – to stand up for our waterways.

Brett took this way back in 2010. See more in his Random photo album.

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