Simply wonderful shot from Etzel. See more in his Fall/Autumn gallery on Flickr.
Apologies for the spotty posting over the last week. I’ve been pretty busy on a project.
Corey took this photo yesterday on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor when he was testing out his new Tamron 18mm-400mm lens, which he totally loves. View the photo background bigtacular and see more in Corey’s Project 365: Year 10 slideshow. (spoiler alert – there’s a lot of squirrels in it!)
More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.
“Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.”
So glad someone planted THIS Black oak some 200-250 years ago–maybe about the time Mr Jefferson made the above quote!
Do not know who or what planted the acorn–but this tree lived in grasslands just about it’s whole life judging by the spread of the branches.
Local history says Indians lived in the area and would burn the grasslands on occasion to keep the oak-grass savannah in much of southern/central Michigan–may have very well been what this tree witnessed. Slow burning grassfires would not have harmed the tree.
PS: Read more about oak savannahs and the flora & fauna they support from the Michigan DNR.
The Barred Owl’s hooting call, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” (see video below) is a classic sound of old forests and treed swamps. But this attractive owl, with soulful brown eyes and brown-and-white-striped plumage, can also pass completely unnoticed as it flies noiselessly through the dense canopy or snoozes on a tree limb. Originally a bird of the east, during the twentieth century it spread through the Pacific Northwest and southward into California.
Barred Owls live year-round in mixed forests of large trees, often near water. They tend to occur in large, unfragmented blocks of mature forest, possibly because old woodlands support a higher diversity of prey and are more likely to have large cavities suitable for nesting. Their preferred habitats range from swamps to streamsides to uplands, and may contain hemlock, maple, oak, hickory, beech, aspen, white spruce, quaking aspen, balsam poplar, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, or western larch.
Barred Owls don’t migrate, and they don’t even move around very much. Of 158 birds that were banded and then found later, none had moved farther than 6 miles away. (In Michigan, the average range is about a mile)
More owls on Michigan in Pictures.
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!!
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.
Lots more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.
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.
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.
More owls on Michigan in Pictures.
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.