Super Color Tree

super-color-tree

Super Color Tree, photo by Scottie Williford

If you’d like to try this at home, the recipe is: 590nm infrared, f/11 @1/125, iso 200

Here’s hoping you can catch some more fall color this weekend – looks like a great forecast!!

View Scottie’s photo bigger, see more in his slideshow, and be sure to follow Scottie Photography on Facebook.

Red Mohawk: At Home with Michigan’s Pileated Woodpecker

Red Mohawk

Red Mohawk, photo by PK HyperFocal

The All About Birds entry for the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) says in part:

The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.

…The male begins excavating then nest cavity and does most of the work, but the female contributes, particularly as the hole nears completion. The entrance hole is oblong rather than the circular shape of most woodpecker holes. For the finishing touches, the bird climbs all the way into the hole and chips away at it from the inside. Periodically the adult picks up several chips at a time in its bill and tosses them from the cavity entrance. Pileated Woodpeckers don’t line their nests with any material except for leftover wood chips. The nest construction usually takes 3-6 weeks, and nests are rarely reused in later years. Cavity depth can range from 10-24 inches.

Nest trees are typically dead and within a mature or old stand of coniferous or deciduous trees, but may also be in dead trees in younger forests or even in cities. Dead trees are a valuable resource as nest sites or shelter for birds and other animals, and Pileated Woodpeckers battle for ownership with Wood Ducks, European Starlings, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, and Great Crested Flycatchers. Occasionally bats and swifts share roost cavities with Pileated Woodpeckers.

Click through for lots more including calls, Pileated facts, and video.

PK HyperFocal’s photo background big and see more in his Feathers slideshow.

Lots more Michigan birds 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!

Hanging around with an Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl, photo by Kevin Povenz

All About Birds’ entry for the Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) says in part:

If a mysterious trill catches your attention in the night, bear in mind the spooky sound may come from an owl no bigger than a pint glass. Common east of the Rockies in woods, suburbs, and parks, the Eastern Screech-Owl is found wherever trees are, and they’re even willing to nest in backyard nest boxes. These supremely camouflaged birds hide out in nooks and tree crannies through the day, so train your ears and listen for them at night.

The Eastern Screech-Owl is a short, stocky bird, with a large head and almost no neck. Its wings are rounded; its tail is short and square. Pointed ear tufts are often raised, lending its head a distinctive silhouette.

Eastern Screech-Owls can be either mostly gray or mostly reddish-brown (rufous). Whatever the overall color, they are patterned with complex bands and spots that give the bird excellent camouflage against tree bark. Eyes are yellow.

Eastern Screech-Owls are active at night and are far more often heard than seen—most bird watchers know this species only from its trilling or whinnying song. However, this cavity-roosting owl can be attracted to nest boxes or, if you’re sharp-eyed, spotted in daylight at the entrance to its home in a tree cavity.

Read on for more including screech owl calls.

View Kevin’s photo bigger and see more in his massive Birds of Prey slideshow.

More owls on Michigan in Pictures.

A Tree in the Fog

A Tree in the Fog

A Tree in the Fog, photo by Joel Dinda

Joel took this photo on April 4, 2014 in Eaton County’s Roxand Township. View it background bigilicious and see more in his The Showcase slideshow.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

O Tree, Live Forever

Kalamazoo Tree

O, tree, live forever, photo by Bill Dolak

Bill writes:

This tree in the Al Sabo Preserve in Kalamazoo County is a frequent subject and accessory for local photographers. I have images of it from the days I was still putting film into my SLR.

Regarding the Al Sabo Preserve, the Texas Charter Township Parks & Rec page says:

The Al Sabo Land Preserve was established in the early 1970’s in order to protect the groundwater supply of the Atwater wellfield. The 741 acres were purchased in the late 1960’s and a master plan was developed for its use as a passive recreation nature preserve. The City of Kalamazoo passed an ordinance that would ensure its protection as a water resource. The wetlands and sandy soils serve as a recharge area for the area’s groundwater.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Al Sabo, Michigan slideshow.

Fiery Fall Foliage at Fenner

Fiery Fall Foliage

Fiery Fall Foliage, photo by David Marvin

Let’s head out of autumn with a with a bang and this firework of a maple! I hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy what remains of the 2015 fall color touring season in Michigan. mLive updated their color report with some pics from readers:

The colors are fading fast and the leaves are falling, but there are still some Michigan areas with peak color. The inland areas of the Upper Peninsula and the inland areas of northern Lower Michigan are past fall color peak now. The leaves are falling fast.

But the shoreline areas and the peninsulas are warmer. Some of those areas are still at peak, or even just peaking now.

It will still be well worth the trip to the Leelanau Peninsula and the Old Mission Peninsula this week and probably even this weekend.

We took the drive of M-22 along the shore of Leelanau County Sunday, October 18, 2015. Along the shore there was still some green and was a few days away from peak. Old Mission Peninsula was 50 percent green still on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. So if you are going north this weekend, take the routes near water and you’ll be pleased.

The southern half of Lower Michigan is peaking now through the next few days. This weekend will still be real nice to take that last fall color drive.

Also have at these aerial photos of fall color from a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65D Dolphin helicopter they shared a week ago.

Check this photo out big as a tree and head over to Dave’s blog for more photos & writing from Fenner Nature Center.

More fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.