Return to Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls [Summer 2015], photo by Eric Hackney

I’ve profiled Rainbow Falls and the other waterfalls of the Black River Scenic Byway on Michigan in Pictures, but my friend Gary shared a super-cool video that I want to share with all of you! GoWaterfalling’s says that Rainbow Falls is:

…the last of the main falls on the Black River before it enters Lake Superior. This is an interesting waterfall. Unfortunately the best views are from the east side of the river and the observation deck is on the west side of the river. The hike from the west side trailhead is 1/2 mile. In my opinion the smarter thing to do is to drive down to end of the Black River Scenic Byway, cross the river and hike back up to the falls. A supsension bridge takes you across the river and a mile long, scenic, and mostly level trail, takes you back to the falls. The views are far superior. In low water you can wade across the river above the falls.

The waterfall has carved out a large pothole. Most of the river falls into the pothole, but some of the water, depending on how high the river is, goes around or jumps clear over this hole.

View the photo bigger, see many more in Eric’s 6-27-15: Black River Scenic Byway IV slideshow, and definitely follow Eric Hackney Photography on Facebook.

OK, now here’s that video from the Bluffs Inn of Bessemer – definitely no wading today!!!

Know Your Michigan Turtles: Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)

Common Musk Turtle, photo by Nick Scobel

Happy World Turtle Day everyone!

World Turtle Day (May 23rd) was started in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue to bring awareness about dangers to turtles worldwide. It’s also the perfect day to add the 10th and final turtle to one of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures, Know Your Michigan Turtles!

The UM Animal Diversity Web entry for the common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), a relatively small turtle with an average length of about 3 to 5 inches, says in part:

The habitat of the common musk turtle includes any kind of permanent body of water, like shallow streams, ponds, rivers, or clear water lakes, and it is rare to find the turtle elsewhere. While in the water, this musk turtle stays mainly in shallow areas. Sometimes it can be found basking on nearby fallen tree trunks or in the branches of trees overhanging the water

…The most prominent behavior of the common musk turtle is its defensive tactic. When disturbed, this turtle will quickly release a foul-smelling liquid from its musk glands. This kind of defense earned the musk turtle the nickname of “stinkpot”. Also, the male is particularly aggressive and will not think twice about biting. Another unique behavior the nocturnal common musk turtle exhibits while foraging is that they walk on the bottom of the stream or pond instead of swimming like other turtles.

Sternotherus oderatus is somewhat of a food generalist, as it is known to eat small amounts of plants, mollusks, small fish, insects, and even carrion. Foraging on the muddy bottom of streams or ponds is the chief way of collecting food.

Nick runs the very useful Herping Michigan Blog where you can find lots more of his excellent photos of Michigan’s reptiles and amphibians along with informative writeups.  View the photo bigger and see more of Nick’s awesome turtle photos on Flickr.

Get the complete list of all 10 turtles native to Michigan right here!

MirrorD

2file112, photo by ansonredford

This stunning photo of the Detroit skyline was taken back in February and is the latest cover on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook.

View it bigger and see more in Donald’s Detroit slideshow.

Tons more Detroit photos on Michigan in Pictures.

Forest Garden

Forest Garden, photo by Curt Saunier

I hope you have a chance to spend some time in the forest, the garden, or both this weekend!

View the photo bigger and see more in Curt’s Flowers slideshow.

Fox Kit Friday

Fox Kit, photo by David Marvin

Spring is also baby animal season in Michigan, so 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!

View the photo background bigtacular and see more including some shots of these kiddos walking around in David’s slideshow.

PS: David has a video too. He writes: “Please note that the video was taken from quiet a distance away with a high power lens so as to avoid as much human contact with the kits.”

Shipping Season: The Saginaw at Mission Point

Saginaw at Mission Point, photo by Krystal Kauffman

Capistrano has their swallows, but a sure sign of Spring in Michigan is when the freighters return to the Great Lakes. One of the best places for shipwatching is right where Krystal took this photo: Mission Point at the mouth of the North Channel near the Soo Locks.

View the photo bigger and follow My Michigan by Krystal on Facebook for more.

Mackinac Bridge CLOSED 5 1/2 Hours on Labor Day!

2013 Mackinac Bridge Walk & Run, photo by Michigan Fitness Foundation

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Mackinac Bridge Authority voted unanimously yesterday to close the bridge to all traffic during the annual Labor Day bridge walk this year:

The bridge will be closed from 6:30 a.m. to noon to all traffic, leaving an estimated 4,000 drivers stranded on either side of the bridge on one of the busiest traffic days of the year.

The action was taken at the request of the Michigan State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which are responding to threats posed by terrorists using vehicles to plow into crowds to inflict the most possible damage.

…Between 30,000 and 60,000 people participate in the annual 5-mile walk across the Mackinac Bridge that connects the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsula. Typically, the northbound lanes remain open during the bridge walk and an estimated 9,000 vehicles use the bridge during that time, Baker said.

Read on for more.

View the photo background big and see more in their massive 2013 Mackinac Bridge Run slideshow.

Tons more about the Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures.