(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.

Michigan in Pictures Top 6 Photos of 2016

Welcome to the 2017 Michigan in Pictures year in review! I’d normally wish you a Happy New Year and fun New Year’s Eve in this space, but my timing was thrown off. Please do still have a safe & fun New Year!

patreon-supportThe major 2016 update was that I added an account on Patreon that allows folks to toss a few bucks my way once or every month if they choose. I’m up to a burger with a couple of beers every month, so thank you supporters – it’s very much appreciated! Also appreciated is all of you sharing my posts here and on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook.

Once again the most visited post was Know Your Michigan Turtles, and I added the Red-eared Slider on May 23rd in celebration of World Turtle Day. If I were a betting man, I would lay long odds on the Common Musk Turtle being added to the list May 23, 2017 as it’s the only one not yet featured.

Instead of a top 5, I added an extra one because a razor-thin margin separated numbers 5 & 6 and #5 was really more of a graphic I made than a photo. I’d also like to point out that other than the graphic, ALL of the photos have a lake in them.

#6

Sometimes the the stars align Frankfort Lighthouse

August 12 – Sometimes the Stars Align by Snap Happy Gal Photography

Flat-out stunning photo of the Frankfort Lighthouse by Heather Higham, a Michigan in Pictures regular. 

#5

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April 1 – “MU” merges University of Michigan & Michigan State University via Absolute Michigan

Historic merger to create the largest university on the planet, known simply as “MU” was announced.

#4

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October 21 – Lake Charlevoix Fall Colors by frank wulfers

Fall color was a little later than normal this year, and Frank got a gorgeous shot of late October color from the Avalanche Mountain Scenic Overlook in Boyne City.

#3

Black Rocks Summer of 16

October 21 – Black Rocks, #1, Summer of ’16 by Lake Superior Photo

Shawn of Lake Superior Photo has been a longtime supporter of Michigan in Pictures and it’s always good when one of her photos makes the list!

#2

Point Betsie Lighthouse- Ice Station Zebra Edition

January 23 – Enchanted Point Betsie by Kristina Lishawa

The winds howl, the snow falls, and the waves crash, yet Betsie stands more beautiful and enchanting than ever. ~Kristina Lishawa

#1

Chapel Rock in Winter

February 20 – Live Anywhere by Jay

FUN FACT: My absolute favorite place in Michigan is right here – Chapel Rock and Chapel Beach in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. While I have visited the Lakeshore in the winter, I haven’t made it to Chapel Rock yet.

As with so many photos I share, I do get the vicarious experience though.

Thank you everyone for your support of Michigan in Pictures in 2016!

 

Falling Skies: The Geminid Meteor Shower

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Falling Skies, photo by Heather Higham

The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight but will continue tomorrow as well. EarthSky explains:

The shower starts around the second week in December, but, in a bit of bad timing, full moon comes on the peak night (December 13-14) this year. Still, these meteors are known for being bright, so some Geminid meteors may well overcome this year’s moonlit glare. Watch on the evening of December 13 until dawn December 14. The nights before and after might be good as well. Geminid meteors tend to be few and far between at early evening, but intensify in number as evening deepens into late night.

…Your local peak will typically be centered at about 2 a.m. local time, no matter where you are on the globe. That’s because the constellation Gemini – radiant point of the shower – will reach its highest point for the night around 2 a.m. (your local time). As a general rule, the higher the constellation Gemini climbs into your sky, the more Geminid meteors you’re likely to see.

Heather took this photo in September of 2016, and there’s FOUR meteors!! View it bigger, see more in her Night Sky slideshow, and view & purchase photos at snaphappygal.com!

Lots more meteors on Michigan in Pictures.