Blue Monday

blue, photo by Curt Saunier

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

Pheasant Friday: Ring-necked Pheasant Breeding Habits

Ringnecked Pheasant, photo by Tim Carter

This pheasant is ready for the weekend, Ladies! All About Birds has all the details on the very colorful Ring-necked Pheasant including information about their breeding season which is going on right now:

Male Ring-necked Pheasants establish breeding territories in early spring. A male maintains sovereignty over his acreage by crowing and calling; he approaches intruders with head and tail erect, and may tear up grass that he then tosses. Competitors sometimes resort to physical combat. After a series of escalating threat displays, fighting cocks flutter upward, breast to breast, and bite at each other’s wattles. They may take turns leaping at each other with bill, claws, and spurs deployed. Usually the challenger runs away before long, and these fights are rarely fatal. Females assemble in breeding groups focused on a single male and his territory.

The cock courts the hen with a variety of displays—strutting or running; spreading his tail and the wing closest to her while erecting the red wattles around his eyes and the feather-tufts behind his ears. He also “tidbits”—poses with head low while calling her to a morsel of food. A female may flee at first, leading the male on a chase punctuated by courtship displays. Males guard their groups of females from the advances of other males.

Like many birds, Ring-necked Pheasants take frequent dust baths, raking their bills and scratching at the ground, shaking their wings to sweep dust and sand into their feathers, lying on their sides and rubbing their heads. Dust-bathing probably removes oil, dirt, parasites, dead skin cells, old feathers, and the sheaths of new feathers.

View the photo from near Attica, Michigan bigger on Facebook.

More birds on Michigan in Pictures.

Say you will

Say you will, photo by Brian Wolfe

Brian took this back in April of 2009 and shared some thoughts that I think all photographers (and people) would do well to consider:

This weekend I resolved to wake up for the dawn. With the days growing longer and the sun rising earlier, it will only get more difficult the longer I put it off. I was hoping for some brilliant cloud pattern to reflect amazing colors but like what happens so often, it was just (what I like to call) bland. This kind of killed my energy and I felt like I would rather have slept-in. Instead of turning for home, I expanded my perception of my surroundings, opened my eyes, and came up with some great stuff (I think so anyway).

View the photo background bigilicious, see more in Brian’s The Top Thirty slideshow, and definitely follow Brian on Instagram!

More Spring Wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Michigan Tough: Daffodil Edition

Hopefully the daffodils are tougher than I am, photo by Bill Dolak

Bill took this shot yesterday at Celery Flats Park in Portage where it got down into the teens the night before.

View the photo background bigilicious and see more in his Portage, Michigan slideshow.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Looking Through to Another Time

Looking Through to Another Time

looking through to another time, photo by Anna Newhouse

View Anna’s photo background bigtacular and see more in her My 365 Photo Challenge slideshow.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Redbud

Redbud, photo by Stephen Thompson

The magenta flash of Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is one of my favorite sights in springtime. I used to think it was an exotic tree, but as Rick Meader of the Ann Arbor News shares, Redbud trees are native to southern Michigan:

…as a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae) it’s a cousin to the previous pod-producers we’ve learned about, Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioica). Let’s learn more about this colorful little native.

As mentioned before, Eastern redbud is native to southern Michigan, occurring naturally up to a line across the lower peninsula from Kent County to Genesee County. Nationally, it occurs naturally in an area extending from Maryland and the Carolinas west to eastern Kansas through Texas, including all of the southern states and northern Florida. Of course, because it’s a pretty little thing, it has been planted in areas beyond its native range.

If you want to use it in your landscape, it is fairly flexible in terms of where it will grow. It naturally occurs in rich soil along stream and river banks but is tolerant of a wider range of conditions. It likes sun or partial shade and can do well in most soils except waterlogged soils and dry, sandy soils.

Read on for more.

View Stephen’s photo bigger and jump into his slideshow for more great pics!

Beautiful Blossoms

Cherry Orchard Aisles & Blossoms

Cherry Orchard Aisles & Blossoms, photo by Jess Clifton

mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa writes that the upcoming weather is looking normal, which is also fantastic for an extended time period of blooming here in Michigan:

Tulip Time runs from Saturday, May 7, to May 14 in downtown Holland. The Traverse City area cherry blossoms are also about to erupt with color.

Cool nights and near normal temperature days are just what we want for a long display of color from these two spring performers.

Gwen Auwerda, Executive Director of Tulip Time in Holland, MI says tulip blossoms can last up to 21 days if high heat is avoided. Auwerda says most of the tulips in Holland, MI are at peak right now, with some of the late bloomers expected to peak next week.

The cooler weather has slowed down the cherry blossoms in northwest Lower Michigan. Nikki Rothwell, MSU Extension educator, says now the cherries are right on track to blossom at the typical time.

Rothwell says sweet cherries are only days away from blooming, with peak bloom in northwest Lower Michigan possibly on Mother’s Day. Tart cherries, which make up most of northwest Lower Michigan’s cherry crop, should start blooming May 11 or May 12, and peak around May 14.

Jess took this back in May of 2014 near Traverse City. View it background bigilicious, enjoy her Mother Nature in Michigan slideshow, and check out more of her work at jesscliftonphotography.com.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!