Falling Skies: August is Meteor Season!

Falling Skies by Heather Higham

Falling Skies by Heather Higham

Our friends at EarthSky share that August is THE month for meteor watching, with two major showers:

The Delta Aquariid meteor shower is long and rambling. You might catch a Delta Aquariid anytime from about July 12 to August 23 each year. The nominal peak falls on or near July 29. But don’t pay too much attention to that date; the shower typically provides a decent number of meteors for some days after and before it. In 2021, a bright waning gibbous moon will wash out a good number of Delta Aquariids in late July. As we move into early August, a much fainter waning crescent moon will be less intrusive. As always happens, when the Perseid meteor shower is rising to its peak (mornings of August 11, 12 and 13), the Delta Aquariids will still be flying, too.

In the Northern Hemisphere, we rank the August Perseids as our all-time favorite meteor shower … No matter where you live worldwide, the 2021 Perseid meteor shower will probably produce the greatest number of meteors on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13. On the peak mornings in 2021 – in the early morning hours, when the most meteors will be flying – there’ll be no moon to ruin on the show.

Click those links for viewing tips & happy sky watching!

Heather took this photo back in 2016 on Loon Lake in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. See more in her Night Skies gallery. For sure follow her on Instagram @SnapHappyMichigan & view and purchase her work on her website.

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Michigan Lake Appreciation: Glen Lake edition

via Leelanau.com
Sunglow over Glen Lake by Owen Weber

Sunglow over Glen Lake by Owen Weber

While Minnesota gets a lot of mileage out of their “Land of 10,000 Lakes” slogan, Michigan has over 10,000 lakes larger than 5 acres. Clean Water Action of Michigan has been working to draw attention to our incredible good fortune with an incredible Twitter thread of Michigan’s largest lakes.  

Big & Little Glen Lake check in at #18 on the list of Michigan’s largest inland lakes or 23 if you include the 4 Great Lakes & Lake St. Clair. Glen Lake is 6265 acres (9.8 square miles) with 17 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 130 feet. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore page on Glen Lake says:

Glen Lake, with its remarkably blue waters, is famous for its beauty. The lake appears divided into two parts by the constriction at the “narrows” bridge. The two parts are Little Glen Lake in the foreground, only 12 feet deep, and Big Glen Lake, beyond the M-22 bridge, about 130 feet deep. Glen Lake used to be connected to ancestral Lake Michigan. Glacial erosion carved out both lakes during the Ice Age. In post-glacial times, a sand bar developed, separating Glen Lake from Lake Michigan. Both the D.H. Day Campground and the village of Glen Arbor are located on that sandbar. The flat terrain and proximity to Lake Michigan made it a desirable site for these developments.

Check the lakes out at #LakesAppreciation on Twitter! & learn more about Clean Water Action Michigan on their website.

Owen took this photo a few years ago from atop the Sleeping Bear Dunes. See more in his Michigan gallery on Flickr & view and purchase prints at OwenWeberPhotography.com

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Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan

Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan by Bill VanderMolen

Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan by Bill VanderMolen

The Detroit Free Press reports that bird-watchers are flocking to Saline in hopes of seeing this rare roseate spoonbill:

This is the first record of a roseate spoonbill in Michigan, said Molly Keenan, communications and marketing coordinator at Michigan Audubon in an email to the Free Press.

Michigan DNR biologists believe the bird either escaped from a local zoo or is very confused, according to a Facebook post from Saline police.

Roseate spoonbills are typically found on the Gulf Coast, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America, but they have been spotted in neighboring states, said Benjamin Winger, curator of birds at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

“It was really only a matter of time before one was documented in Michigan,” he said.

In the late summer, it’s normal for young water birds such as spoonbills, herons and storks to wander, Winger said.

“Sometimes, they wander a bit too far,” Winger said.

I’m not gonna definitively tell you to believe the zoologist over the DNR, but I am gonna look hard at the DNR & ask if they remember their decades of denial around cougars in Michigan.

Bill took this photo at Washtenaw County Wilderness Park. You can see another angle (with an egret) right here & see 211 more feathered finds in his Bird Life List gallery on Flickr.

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La Chappelle: The incredible Chapel Rock

Chapel Rock by John Gagnon

Chapel Rock by John Gagnon

Atlas Obscura says that although there’s a whole lot to see in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, hikers should keep their eyes peeled for one feature in particular: Chapel Rock, once known as La Chappelle:

Composed of Cambrian age sandstone dating back approximately 500 million years, Chapel Rock is the result of the erosion caused by a proglacial lake somewhat confusingly referred to as “Nipissing Great Lakes.” This giant body of water consisted of separate basins joined by straits, and once occupied present-day Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Georgian Bay. Around 3,800 years ago, the high waters of Nipissing Great Lakes carved through the soft sandstone, resulting in today’s dramatic formation, which juts out into Lake Superior.

Although Chapel Rock’s stone is mostly beige, its base is a warm orange, thanks to mineral concentrations. The sandstone cliffs that comprise Pictured Rocks are full of iron, copper, manganese, and limonite, which impart red, orange, blue, green, brown, black, and white hues. Not long ago, a natural rock bridge spanned the area between Chapel Rock and the mainland. It collapsed in the 1940s, leaving the formation unconnected with the rest of the shore. Thankfully, the rest of the structure has remained intact and is protected from climbers by order of the Lakeshore Superintendent.

The rock isn’t the only thing that has proven to be remarkably durable. Charles Penny, a member of the Douglass Houghton expedition responsible for exploring Lake Superior’s southern shore, admiringly described a single pine tree that grew like a “spire” out of the sparse dirt covering the top of the outcropping. Till this day, the same resilient pine stands sentinel over Chapel Rock, connected to the mainland by its extensive root system.

More at Atlas Obscura & check out more Chapel Rock photos on Michigan in Pictures that include pictures of the pine tree’s astounding root system.

See more in John’s Pictured Rocks gallery on Flickr.

 

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Get all the stars at Wilderness State Park

The Milky Way over Lake Michigan at Wilderness State Park by Diana Robinson

The Milky Way over Lake Michigan at Wilderness State Park by Diana Robinson

The Michigan DNR explains that Wilderness State Park is one of Michigan’s Dark Sky Preserves:

Michigan is lucky to play host to both dark sky preserves and parks that offer stellar celestial landscapes. These locations are specially designated because they have qualities that complement nighttime viewing, such as the ability to limit the amount of artificial light. There are also plenty of excellent night-sky viewing opportunities across more than 15,000 square miles in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Diana took this photo earlier in May & you can see more in her Night Photography gallery on Flickr.

More great night photography on Michigan in Pictures!

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Daybreak at Little Presque Isle

Daybreak at Presque Isle by Michigan Nut Photography

Daybreak at Little Presque Isle by Michigan Nut Photography

The Michigan Department of Natural resources says that the Little Presque Isle tract is often called the crown jewel of Lake Superior, with its beautiful sand beaches, rugged shoreline cliffs, heavily timbered forests, and unmatched public views:

The rock comprising the area represents some of the oldest exposed formations of its kind. More than a mile of bedrock lakeshore and cliffs adorns Little Presque Isle, including sandstone cliffs that reach nearly 60 feet high toward the base of Sugar Loaf Mountain. One kind of bedrock, granitic, that occurs here is the least common bedrock type along the Great Lakes shoreline, with less than eight miles occurring in total. This is one of three areas where the public can see these 2.3 billion year old formations in Michigan.

The proposed wilderness area is a local landmark, which has significant historical value. The island was reportedly connected to the mainland sometime prior to the 1930s and was a landing place for early explorers and native inhabitants.

John took this photo last week. See the latest at Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook. View & purchase more of his work at MichiganNutPhotography.com.

More Michigan islands on Michigan in Pictures!

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Grand Sable Dunes Sunrise

Grand Sable Dunes Sunrise by Michigan Nut Photography

Grand Sable Dunes Sunrise by Michigan Nut Photography

Sunrise overlooking Grand Sable Dunes in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore seems like a glorious way to start the day. See more from John at michigannutphotography.com or on the Michigan Nut Facebook page & have a wonderful week!!

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Michigan looks like this: Silver Lake Dunes

Silver Lake Dunes by Michael Koole

Silver Lake Dunes by Michael Koole

For me, one of the coolest things about Michigan is the incredible range of scenery our state offers including positively otherworldly vistas like Michael captured yesterday at Silver Lake Dunes in Silver Lake State Park. See more great shots from Michael in his Parks gallery on Flickr & follow him on Instagram!

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Smooth

Smooth by Ron DeHaan

Smooth by Ron DeHaan

Ron says that the only way this ice could have been smoother is with a Zamboni! Head over to his Flickr for more!

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Waterfall Wednesday: Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Lower Tahquamenon by Dan Gaken

Lower Tahquamenon by Dan Gaken

GoWaterfalling explains that Lower Tahquamenon Falls is part of:

…Tahquamenon Falls State Park on MI-123. It is on the map and is easy to find, but it is a bit out of the way. There are three sections to the park: the Upper Falls, the Lower Falls, and the rivermouth campsite.

The lower falls are a series of cascades, that go around a small island, with several drops in the 10 foot range. You can rent a boat and go to the island, and walk around and see more views of the falls. There is a campground near the lower falls, and a concession stand where you can buy ice cream, drinks and souvenirs.

There is a trail between the upper and the lower falls. It is 4+ miles, with some ups and downs, mostly through woods well above the river. The river is quite calm between the two falls, and there is not much rock to see.

I know that I just featured a photo from Dan of the Upper Falls, but this one from Saturday was too good to pass up! See more in Dan’s Michigan’s Upper Peninsula gallery on Flickr!

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