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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Reflections on World Turtle Day!

Reflections (Turtles) by Glen Suszko

Reflections (turtles) by Glen Suszko

I know I said I was taking the weekend off, but May 23rd is World Turtle Day, one of my favorite days! It was created by the good people at American Tortoise Rescue to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.

Every year I’m happy to report that one of the most popular features on Michigan in Pictures remains Know Your Michigan Turtles that I wrote back in 2013 and have added to through the years with photos and articles about every one of Michigan’s 10 native turtle species including our most common one, the painted turtle.

The UM Animal Diversity web has pictures and information about Chrysemys picta (the painted turtle) and says that:

Painted turtles prefer living in freshwater that is quiet, shallow, and has a thick layer of mud.

Painted turtles are brightly marked. They have a smooth shell about 90 to 250 mm long. Their shell acts as protection, but since the ribs are fused to the shell, the turtle cannot expand its chest to breathe but must force air in and out of the lungs by alternately contracting the flank and shoulder muscles. The painted turtle has a relatively flat upper shell with red and yellow markings on a black or greenish brown background.

Painted turtles may live as long as 35 to 40 years, but most will not survive for this long

Glen took this photo last month at Stony Creek Metropark. Visit his Flickr for lots more photos!

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Be Yourself!

Albino Deer by Chryz Love

Albino Deer by Chryz Love

Just a little reminder from the natural world that it’s OK to be yourself & also to check out the new Michigan in Pictures Group on Facebook!! I created it so people can share photos with other readers for possible inclusion in Michigan in Pictures, and this was the first pic shared.

Chryz took it near Davidson. Click through to see it on Facebook & to check out other photos she’s shared in the group!!

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The Corgi & the Cataract

The Corgi & the Cataract by Taylor Nicole Featherstone

This photo from one of the many waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula was sent in by a fan last March. I’m hoping that those of you with furry friends are finding ways to keep them (and yourself!) happy & fit.

You can check out more at Featherstone Fotography on Facebook & keep up with the Adventures of Darwin + Charles on Facebook. And definitely follow her on Instagram @oureveolvingadventure!

A Squirrel’s Eye View

Fox Squirrel in Ann Arbor University of Michigan

Fox Squirrels in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan on a Quiet Day by Corey Seeman

Corey is one of my favorite members of the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr, which is the place where most of the photos on Michigan in Pictures come from. For over a decade, Corey has been telling stories through his photographs of the squirrels on the University of Michigan campus. For his latest entry he writes about a subject close to all of us:

Fox Squirrels in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan on a Quiet Day – March 19th, 2020

So much to unpack here. With COVID-19 essentially shutting down campuses all across America and the world, there are few normal days to be had. I have been going into the office a few times just to make sure that things are still standing. Most of my work is at home.

But the one part of my life that is sadly missing at home are the squirrels. I normally use it as a social exercise – handing out peanuts to strangers so they can feed the squirrels. That part is gone in the world of social distancing. I keep at least enough room for the Holy Spirit to drive a car between me and anyone I am with.

On my recent day in the office (Thursday March 19th, 2020), I walked around just a bit. On the sad side, I saw a squirrel on the Diag who was either sick, fallen, or had been attacked, struggling to drink water and eat. I did see one – who might have been a momma – living inside Michele Oka Doner’s 2009 bronze casted statue “Angry Neptune, Salacia and Strider.” She seems to have an infected eye – I hope it gets better. I wish the squirrels at my home were nearly this friendly. But in the grand scheme of things – there is so much more to wish for.

Be safe everyone – we will get through this. Sending love and virtual hugs from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Pictures from the University of Michigan on Thursday March 19th, 2020.

Be safe indeed, and love & virtual hugs to you all! Check out Corey’s University of Michigan (2020-) set on Flickr and if you need even more squirrels, Michigan in Pictures has you covered!

New Wolves Released at Isle Royale

Little Hawk Island Sunset, photo by Carl TerHaar

mLive reports that a pair of new wolves have been released on Isle Royale in an effort to control a exploding moose population that threatens to overwhelm one of Michigan’s most unique ecosystems.

Late Wednesday, two gray wolves were taken from the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota and taken aboard a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plane to the island.

The wolves, a 4-year-old female and a 5-year-old male, were taken to separate release sites, and well away from the island’s two remaining wolves.

“It did not take long for the female to leave the crate and begin exploring her new home on the island. The male left his crate after dark,” the NPS said in a release.

“Other wolves will join the two in the coming weeks.”

Up to 30 wolves are expected to be caught in Minnesota, Michigan’s U.P. and even Ontario, Canada as part of this relocation effort.

Click through for more and their awesome video of the release!

Carl took this in late September of 2009. View it background big and see more in his massive Isle Royale album.

PS: Get an idea of the sheer amazingness of Isle Royale with 350+ more photos from Isle Royale in the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr at the Isle Royale tag on Michigan in Pictures, and at the  Isle Royale National Park website!

Happy World Turtle Day from Phillip the Box Turtle!

Phillip the Box Turtle, photo by Kevin Povenz

May 23rd is World Turtle Day, created by the good people at American Tortoise Rescue to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.

Every year I’m happy to report that one of the most popular features on Michigan in Pictures remains Know Your Michigan Turtles that I wrote back in 2013 and have added to through the years with photos and articles about every one of Michigan’s 10 native turtle species including Eastern Box Turtles.

Kevin took this at the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids and you can click that link to learn all about them and the wildlife you can see there. View the photo bigger and see more in his Animals photo album.