Red Jack Lake Sunrise

Red Jack Lake Sunrise

Red Jack Lake Sunrise, photo by John Dykstra

View John’s photo background bigilicious and see more in his Michigan slideshow.

Here’s a map to Red Jack Lake near Munising and here’s more Michigan lakes and more fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

PS: Trying out Facebook’s new photo carousel on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook


Eyes on the November Skies: North Taurid & Leonid Meteor Showers

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, photo by Snap Happy Gal Photography

I woke up early this morning, and after seeing 5 meteors in just ten minutes, realized that the Taurid meteors were still kicking, how about an upcoming meteor shower update courtesy EarthSky’s 2015 meteor shower page:

Late night November 12 until dawn November 13, 2015, the North Taurids

Like the South Taurids, the North Taurids meteor shower is long-lasting (October 12 – December 2) but modest, and the peak number is forecast at about 7 meteors per hour. The North and South Taurids combine, however, to provide a nice sprinkling of meteors throughout October and November. Typically, you see the maximum numbers at around midnight, when Taurus the Bull is highest in the sky. Taurid meteors tend to be slow-moving, but sometimes very bright. In 2015, the new moon comes only one day before the predicted peak, providing a dark sky for the 2015 North Taurid shower.

Late night November 17 until dawn November 18, 2015, the Leonids

Radiating from the constellation Leo the Lion, the famous Leonid meteor shower has produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history – at least one in living memory, 1966 – with rates as high as thousands of meteors per minute during a span of 15 minutes on the morning of November 17, 1966. Indeed, on that beautiful night in 1966, the meteors did, briefly, fall like rain. Some who witnessed the 1966 Leonid meteor storm said they felt as if they needed to grip the ground, so strong was the impression of Earth plowing along through space, fording the meteoroid stream. The meteors, after all, were all streaming from a single point in the sky – the radiant point – in this case in the constellation Leo the Lion.

Leonid meteor storms sometimes recur in cycles of 33 to 34 years, but the Leonids around the turn of the century – while wonderful for many observers – did not match the shower of 1966. And, in most years, the Lion whimpers rather than roars, producing a maximum of perhaps 10-15 meteors per hour on a dark night. Like many meteor showers, the Leonids ordinarily pick up steam after midnight and display the greatest meteor numbers just before dawn. In 2015, the rather wide waxing crescent moon sets in the evening and won’t interfere with this year’s Leonid meteor shower. The peak morning will probably be November 18 – but try November 17, too.

Read on for viewing tips and definitely try and take a look up at night when you can as the northern lights have also been very strong lately!

Heather writes that this image is a stitch of four 11mm frames with only minor adjustments to contrast – with no color saturation or vibrancy changes. It underscores what an incredible time for skywatching it is right now with low humidity making for extra-clear skies. View her photo background big and see more of her work at Snap Happy Gal Photography on Facebook!

More meteors & meteor showers & more northern lights on Michigan in Pictures.

Healy Lake Reflections

Healy Lake Fall Color

Healy Lake Reflections, photo by Dorn Gallatin

Hope everyone has a great weekend and gets out there to take a big bite out of autumn before winter eats it all!

Here’s a map to Healy Lake, located not far from Onekama. Lake Link’s entry for Healy Lake says:

Healy Lake is located in Manistee County, Michigan. This lake is 39 acres in size. It is 50.00 feet deep at its deepest point. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Sunfish and Yellow Perch.

Click to view it bigger and see more in Dorn’s Fall slideshow.

More Michigan lakes on Michigan in Pictures.

Mission Hill, Spectacle Lake & Fall Color 2015

Mission Hill View Upper Peninsula Michigan

Mission Hill 3, photo by Susan H

Here’s a look-in on the current state of fall color in the northeastern Upper Peninsula. DWHIKE has this to say about the Mission Hill trail, which also affords views of Spectacle Lake & Monocle Lake:

Monocle Lake sits just inland from Lake Superior about a half hours’ drive west of Sault Ste. Marie. Along its south shore is a nice National Forest campground which serves as the trailhead for the days adventure. The Monocle Lake Trail heads east from the swimming area at the south end of the lake for little more than a quarter mile where it splits north and south in to the North Country Trail and the Mission Hill Trail respectively…

Directions to Trailhead: -Take Highway 221 north from M-28 west of Sault Ste. Marie. -Follow Hwy 221 for 2.5 miles, through Brimley, to Lakeshore Drive. -Turn left on Lakeshore Drive, follow it 5 miles to Tower Road on the left. -Follow Tower Road (which changes to dirt as you climb the hill) 1.5 miles to overlook and trailhead on the right.

Click above for a map where you can need both lakes and get more about the Monocle Lake Trail from the DNR.

Susan took this photo on Sunday. View it big as the sky and see more in her UP slideshow.

Lots more Fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Best Friends in Nature: Crayfish & Green Frog Edition

Best Friends Crayfish & Green Frog

Crayfish & Green Frog, photo by John Heintz Jr.

The next installment of the critically acclaimed Michigan in Pictures exclusive “Best Friends in Nature” series. I believe what these two have in common is a long list of shared predators, so this could well be a pond-side support group meeting. ;)

View John’s photo bigger and see more of his cool wildlife photos. Seriously, I feel like he’s the long-lost nephew of Doctor Doolittle when I look at his photos!

More animals on Michigan in Pictures, and also more about the Northern Green Frog.

Weird Wednesday: Hamlin Lake UFO

Strange Sunset on Hamlin Lake

Strange Sunset, photo by Craig Downing

On the last Wednesday of every month I used to do a “Weird Wednesday” feature in conjunction with Linda Godfrey. She’s still going strong and you can follow her findings at

This isn’t one of Linda’s stories, but I thought I’d share it for old times sake. Via the Mutual UFO Network:

I am now age 78 but when I was about 6 or 7 and messing in the dirt with ants on the dirt dead-end road in back of the cottage about 10 miles outside of Ludington, Michigan, I saw a saucer like object flying toward me; it then stopped over Hamlin Lake and after a second, went back the way it came from the other side of Hamlin Lake and on perhaps in the direction of Lake Michigan. It didn’t make any noise and I didn’t see any windows. It just looked like a flying saucer.

The speed was relatively slow and it seemed to stop for a moment over about the middle of the lake there and then reverse course going back in the direction it had come as if to say, “Oh, I’m going in the wrong direction” I don’t know why I recall this event today as if it happened yesterday. I wish I didn’t. I recently saw on T.V. the Lake Michigan triangle between Benton Harbor, Manitowac and Ludington.

You can head over to MUFON for more reports. As to what’s actually happening over to Hamlin Lake, the Sunrays – Crepuscular rays page at Atmospheric Optics explains:

Sun rays, also called crepuscular rays, streaming through gaps in clouds are parallel columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud shadowed regions. The rays appear to diverge because of perspective effects, like the parallel furrows of freshly ploughed fields or a road wide at your feet yet apparently narrowing with distance. Airborne dust, inorganic salts, organic aerosols, small water droplets and the air molecules themselves scatter the sunlight and make the rays visible.

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

Lots more Michigan weirdness on Michigan in Pictures!

The Future of Wolves on Isle Royale

Wolf on Isle Royale

Alpha Male, photo by Rolf Peterson/Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale

The National Park Service has opened a formal public comment period that will close on August 29, 2015 regarding future management options for wolves in Isle Royale National Park. The wolf population has plummeted because of a lack of gene flow from the mainland and park management is considering an array of options. If you have commented before, do it again as anything preceding the current comment period is now considered informal input and won’t be considered further.

Moose have important effects on island vegetation, including forest cover, and wolves are the only moose predator on the island. The wolf population on Isle Royale is very low. With their long-term survival on the island in question, the moose population is likely to increase in the short term (5-10 years), which could result in impacts to vegetation and forest cover because of over-browsing.The six plan options they lay out in this PDF are:

  1. No-action alternative: Current management would continue; the park would not actively manage vegetation or the moose and wolf populations
  2. Introduce wolves once: Reestablish wolves on the island by bringing in new wolves one time to mimic a migration event; no moose management
  3. Maintain both species: Maintain populations of moose and wolves on the island, which could include wolf reintroduction or augmentation
  4. Introduce wolves once and reduce the moose population: Reestablish wolves on the island by bringing in new wolves one time; reduce moose density if/when the wolf population is no longer impacting the moose population and moose herbivory is having a demonstrated impact on park resources
  5. Reduce moose population: No wolf reintroduction or augmentation; reduce moose density if/when the wolf population is no longer impacting the moose population and moose herbivory is having a demonstrated impact on park resources
  6. Intensively manage the moose population: No wolf reintroduction or augmentation; intensively manage moose population to a low level; potential for direct vegetation restoration through seed gathering and planting on offshore islands

Click over for more and to comment.

The Wolf Moose Project on Isle Royale is the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world. Rolf Peterson began leading the wolf moose project in the early 1970s, and remains a world authority on wolves and moose. About this photo he says:

It was a remote camera photo that I set up. It shows the alpha male in the Chippewa Harbor Pack in 2009, revisiting the remains of a moose the pack killed in the adjacent pond the previous autumn.  The wolves managed to yank the remains out of the pond the next summer and consume the rotting carcass.

You can view this photo background bigtacular and follow the Wolves & Moose of Isle Royale on Facebook for updates.

More wolves on Michigan in Pictures.