Seems like everyone’s going to the Straits these days to check out the ice at the Mackinac Bridge!
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.
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!
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.
Charles took this last week. Head over to his Flickr for lots more!
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!
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.
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.
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!