Of winter & spring

Winters, photo by Waseem Akbar

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
-Anne Bradstreet

Am I the only one who feels like Winter really mailed it in this year? Still, I am not going to stand in the way of the cycle of the seasons – bring on the Spring!

View Waseem’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

The Eyes of the Earth

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aerial shot, photo by Sandy Hansen Photography

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is the earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

One of Thoreau’s most beautiful thoughts in my mind, and we are certainly blessed in Michigan to have the eyes of the earth upon us here as they are in few other places.

Sandy says that at the top of the photo are West & East Grand Traverse Bay and then Elk Lake and Lake Skegemog. You can get your bearings and have a little fun exploring the lakes from above in this 3d view from Google Earth.

View her photo bigger and see more including more from this February flight in her Traverse City Area slideshow.

More aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures.

(ice) Phish

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Phish, photo by Noah Sorenson

View Noah’s photo bigger on his Facebook and follow him at nsorensenphoto on Instagram for more!

More portraits on Michigan in Pictures.

Walloon & Water

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walloon, photo by Abigail Rose King

WARNING: Do not try this today – just 15 degrees right now and not expected to break 20.

View Abigail’s photo bigger and see more in her slideshow.

Pike on the Ice

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Northern Pike Caught while Ice Fishing in Central Michigan, photo by Lee Rentz

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources page on Northern Pike says that they spawn in early spring and are found in the Great Lakes and connecting waters of the Lower Peninsula year-round and that:

Pike are popular quarry of ice fishermen. Though they are primarily pursued with tip ups, baited with live minnows or suckers, they can be taken with rod and reel, either jigging or fishing with bait. Pike are a prime target of spear fishermen as well, who often use decoys or suspend suckers below their shanties to lure pike within range in relatively shallow water.

Pike typically spawn in the weedy backwater marshes; low water levels on the Great Lakes in recent years have probably hampered their reproductive success. Still, the shallow weedy bays of the Great Lakes and connecting waters, such as Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, the Portage Lake system of Lake Superior and the bays of Lakes Michigan and Huron, remain productive pike waters. winter pike fishing

Inland, the drowned river mouths along the Lake Michigan shoreline – such as Muskegon Lake, Portage Lake and Manistee Lake – are all noted pike waters. Some of the larger inland lakes and reservoirs, such as Michigamme and Houghton, have significant pike populations, though they can be found in many lakes and virtually all the larger rivers in the state.

View Lee’s photo of his caught & released pike background big and see more of his fish & fishing photos on Flickr.

Michigan Mink (Mustela vison)

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Hello Mink, photo by Glen Suszko

The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy has an excellent article on the mink (Mustela vision) that says in part:

Some predators are highly specialized, honed by evolution to efficiently hunt certain prey in distinct habitats and situations. And then there’s the mink (Mustela vison). The sleek, dark- bodied weasel is about as versatile as predators come – taking a wide variety of prey on land and water, day or night. If a mink played baseball, it would be the utility player who could step in at almost every position.

Mink are found throughout North America except in the extreme northernmost reaches of Canada and the arid southwestern U.S. Much larger than the short-tailed and long-tailed weasels (see the March – April 2012 issue of The Wildlife Volunteer), adult males reach 28 inches in length and can weigh up to 3.5 pounds. Females are smaller, but are still big enough to prey on muskrats, rabbits, small woodchucks, chickens, a host of smaller animals, and birds’ eggs.

A mink’s foot has five toes that are slightly webbed and with semi-retractile claws. That combination lets the animals swim well and keep its claws sharp enough to grab fish and other slippery prey.

Mink can dive 15 feet and swim fast enough to catch muskrats underwater as well as in muskrat houses and burrows. They stalk lakeshores, river banks, and wetlands, matching hunting times to prey availability. This past winter, I watched a mink follow a lakeshore, then walk the edge of open water on ice in broad daylight far away from cover. Yet, mink also frequently hunt at night, slinking in and out of thick brush, cattail stands, log jams, or rock piles.

Read on for lots more!

View Glen’s photo from the Sterling Heights Nature Center bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more Michigan animals on Michigan in Pictures!

Frozen Map of Dawn

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Frozen Map of Dawn, photo by Heather Higham

Heather writes: Ice formations trace a map in an inland lake’s surface as a mountain of pink clouds engulfs the sky.

View her photo bigger, see more in her slideshow, and view & purchase photos at Snap Happy Gal Photography.