Trees, Reflected

Trees Reflected by Joel Dinda

Trees Reflected by Joel Dinda

Here’s a lovely shot from the Maple River State Game Area which:

…is mid-Michigan’s largest contiguous wetland complex, an extensive area of floodplains, lowlands, and marshes along the Maple River that begins in Gratiot County and spills into Clinton County … Hiking opportunities are available in the East Unit, however. Straddling US-27, the East Unit features pools and diked-in ponds that serve as the water basin for the Maple River and attract migrating birds. Hiking along dikes is easy and the spectacular congregations of birds among the cattails in the warm glows of a late afternoon sun makes this trail system scenic and interesting for families and anybody who enjoys birding.

…Wildlife can be viewed practically year-round in the game area. Spring viewing from March through May is excellent as thousands of ducks, geese, and swans use the wetlands as a stopover on their migration to northern breeding grounds. Throughout the summer herons are a common sight in the area while the observant or those who pack along binoculars might spot bald eagles or ospreys perched on dead snags.

See more in Joel’s massive Trees photo album on Flickr & have a great week!

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The Swamp Angel of Leo Creek

Swamp Angel by Mark Smith

Swamp Angel by Mark Smith

Mark writes that the nave, altar and the stained glass windows are all in alignment in his photo from the Leo Creek Preserve, a pretty cool outdoor learning laboratory & permaculture garden in Suttons Bay. The mission of Leo Creek Preserve is:

…to use its unique creek, forest, and agricultural spaces to provide, for all people, an outdoor learning laboratory to investigate water and woodland ecology, intensive soil regenerating practices, and to bring art into the garden gathering spaces. We value strengthening our connection to the natural world and bringing people together to work towards a beautiful, healthy, productive and regenerating environment, and sharing its abundance.

Pretty cool! Follow Mark at downstreamer on Flickr for more great photos!

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Sun Coming Home

Sun Coming Home by William Dolak

Sun Coming Home by William Dolak

Bill writes that this path through the woods at Bishop’s Bog near Portage was always one of the summer sun’s favorites. See more great pics on his Facebook & in the Michigan in Pictures Group!

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The Challenge

The Challenge by Charles Bonham

Charles took this shot of a heron trying to show a group of egrets who’s boss near Midland last weekend. Dive into his Flickr for more & be sure to check out his showcase!

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Return to Fox Corners

Fox Trio by TP Mann Photography

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!

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A stroll through the woods

Just another stroll through the woods… by Kevin Povenz

Here’s a beautiful scene Kevin captured back in 2015 at Grand Ravines North Park in Ottawa County. See more in his Sunrise/Sunset album & have a great day!

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American White Pelicans Expanding Michigan Range

American White Pelicans on Lake Huron by kare hav

American White Pelicans on Lake Huron by kare hav

The photographer writes that it’s hard to believe that there’s pelicans in Michigan, but here they are. In an in-depth Great Lakes Echo feature, Eric Freedman writes that American White Pelicans are expanding their breeding range in Michigan & North America:

The species “is undergoing a dramatic expansion of its breeding range in North America,” the study published in the journal Ontario Birds said. “The nesting on Lake Erie, so far from the colony sites in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, seems unusual. Why such a large dispersal from the nearest breeding colony 550 km (340 miles) away?”

Now they’re spreading eastward.

…That distance “is and is not unusual,” said study co-author D.V. Chip Weseloh, a retired Great Lakes waterbird specialist with the Canadian Wildlife Service. “Pelicans are strange birds and will range far and wide hundreds of miles to feed,” a feat documented with radio transmitters.

With its 9-foot wingspan, the American white pelican is one of North America’s largest birds and feeds primarily on fish, according to the Audubon Society.

The overall population declined through the first half of the 1900s but has grown substantially since the 1970s. It’s protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List categorizes it as a species of least concern.

Lots more in the Echo!

View more in Kare Hav’s Pt. Lookout/Augres gallery on Flickr.

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Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest underway

a Belle Isle deer by Race Bannon

a Belle Isle deer by Race Bannon

The Detroit News Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest rewards outstanding photos of Michigan, its people and animals, with nine prizes of as much as $300 doled out at the end of the summer:

Each week, judges from the Detroit News photo staff will select 4 photo finalists, 16 total in each category over the entire contest period. At the end of the contest, The Detroit News photo staff judges will select one winner in each category. One People’s Choice winner in each category will be chosen by an online public vote, Aug. 20-24. Each of the six winners will receive $300.

At the end of the contest, three Awards of Excellence will be chosen by the Detroit News photo staff from the remaining finalists of all three themes, and will receive $100 each.

The Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest is open to non-professional photographers age 18 and older. All photos must have been shot in Michigan, with no significant alteration by a software program. More specifics can be found in the official contest rules.

Race gave me a heads up about the contest, so I went back to a favorite photo of mine that he took 15 years ago. See more in his My Belle Isle gallery.

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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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