My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Take a walk on the (not so) wild side

Almost everyday during the week I go for a walk around the apartment complex where I live, both for exercise, and for photography. You would think that after a couple of years of doing it, I would be running out of things to photograph, and that it would become boring, but it hasn’t. Just the opposite, I am amazed at how much I learn about nature going for the same walk everyday, and how much stuff changes, not just seasonally, but almost daily.

With today being a Saturday, normally I would be off somewhere hiking, kayaking, or fly fishing, but I spent so much time this morning finishing my previous post, that I decided just to walk around the complex today.

It started out cloudy and cool, but better than the 90 degree plus heat we had earlier in the week. I didn’t think there would be much to photograph, and as usual, I was wrong. first thing were these small flowers on bushes planted around here. I don’t know what they are, but they’re pretty.

Pink and red flowers

Then a little further on my walk, I came to one of the bridges over one of several small creeks that flow through the complex, I have gotten many good pictures from the bridges, today it was of a green damsel fly resting on a branch over the creek.

Green damsel fly

On the southwest corner of the complex is a small pond that often has various types of wildlife to photograph, such as ducks, herons, geese, turtles, and others. I approached the fence around it slowly, not wanting to spook anything there, but I didn’t see the heron hiding in the tall grass until it was too late, and he flew off before I could get a picture. No big deal, I have lots of good great blue heron pictures. Here’s an earlier picture of a great blue heron I took there at the pond.

Great blue heron

There are bluish purple wildflowers growing all around the pond, and especially climbing the fence around the pond. I noticed several bees in the flowers, so I set my camera to the macro setting hoping to get a good shot of a bee. As I’m watching the bees, I decided that between the lighting and the pattern the flowers were growing in, I wasn’t going to get the shot I wanted, so I let my eyes roam, and I see this pretty butterfly about 10 feet away. But my camera is set on macro, and by the time I set it to normal, the butterfly has taken flight. I’m standing there watching it, and it flies over to me and lands on my T-shirt with its wings spread wide open so I could see how pretty it was. Of course now my camera is set to normal, and the butterfly is on me. As I set the camera back to macro, it closed its wings, but at least it didn’t fly off.

Butterfly

Trust me, the other side of the wings were very pretty, but at least I got a picture out of the deal. After this shot, I was waiting for to open its wings again, and trying to turn so the light would be better if it did, and it flew off. As I am watching it flutter about, I see the white rabbit sitting in the short grass not far from me. I had seen it a few days before, it isn’t an albino, but it has white patches, and is the lightest cottontail I have ever seen. Here’s an earlier pic.

Cottontail rabbit

This evening it was sitting in much shorter grass and it would have shown up better, but of course, my camera was set to macro for the butterfly picture, and by the time I changed it back to normal, the rabbit had headed into the tall grass. I never did see it again this evening, but in looking for it, I came across a number of flowers, some wild, some not, that are just starting to bloom.

Buttercup and bee

 And there were several Dianthus blooming there.

Dianthus

 And another.

Dianthus

There were other flowers there as well that I’m not going to post here, oh, what the heck, one more.

Daisy?

I continued on my walk, coming to the second bridge over the creek, and I see a flock of goldfinches bathing in the creek.

American goldfinches

Not the greatest, but remember, it was very cloudy, and I had to zoom in to the 48X my camera is capable of. Here’s another after I got a little closer, but had spooked all but one away.

American Goldfinch bathing

It would have been nice if it had been really bright out and the shutter would have captured its wings instead of them being blurry like they are. On the other side of the road the brush and trees are almost completely covering the creek so you can hardly see it, but one of the bushes next to the creek is covered, and I mean covered, in white flowers. I tried to find an opening through the leaves and branches to get some kind of picture of it, 20 feet of almost solid white flowers flowing down the bush to the creek itself. It is very pretty, but no way to get a picture of it that would be worth anything.

At the third bridge, which is over a different creek, there were these flowers.

Pink swamp flowers

I don’t know what they are, I know that they were growing in the wet swampy area next to the creek, surrounded by muck, then burning nettles, and no way for me to get closer to get a good picture of them.

Oh, I forgot, on the way between the two bridges I saw a pair of chipping sparrows that I tried to get a picture of. I swear I could see most of one of them in the grass when I pressed the shutter release, but all you can see in the picture is the brown stripe on the top of its head, so I won’t bore you with that one.

But it was after the swamp flowers that I met Crash. Crash is the name I have given to a young robin that has obviously just left the nest. I must have almost stepped on him in the grass, because he took off flying from almost under my foot. He doesn’t have much experience flying either, because he flew across the parking lot, right into the back of a parked car, and landed in a heap on the ground. I was going to go over and see if I could get a close up of him, but thought better of it, I didn’t want to bother him anymore than I had already. I continued on my way around the outside of the parking lot, and came upon Crash again anyway. He ws hiding between two of the cars there, and I took a couple of photos of him.

Crash, the young robin

I guess this was too close, because he took off flying back towards where I had first seen him, and he crashed into the side of a car in the carport there. He flipped up onto the trunk of that car, in a heap, skidded around, regained his balance, and flew off into the side of the car port, landing in a heap on the ground, poor little guy. I think that he had enough of flying for one day, because he hopped his way over towards the trees next to the car port, where he probably started from in the first place. I hope he makes it to adulthood.

That’s about it for the day, except just about the time I was finishing my walk, the clouds started to break up, and the sun came out.

Blue sky, white clouds

It’s about two miles around the outside of the apartment complex, and I walk it nearly every day, and yet, I still am able to take dozens of pictures here a week. Some seasons are slower than others for photography, but I never know what I’ll see. Two years ago I saw eagles circling overhead. One night this week I had to stop on my way home from work to avoid a young coyote running through the parking lot. Nature is where you find it, and I’m glad that I find it here, for it makes living in an apartment tolerable. Living here and walking here have taught me to always carry my camera with me whenever I am outside. I am also happy to see that wildlife has made such a miraculous recovery since the time I was a kid that there is now the amount and diversity of wildlife that there is in suburban Michigan.

When I was a kid, there were no nesting eagles in the lower peninsula. Seeing a Canadian Goose was rare other than when they were migrating. Seeing Great Blue herons was a once or twice a summer event, now it’s nearly everyday. I just hope the younger generations never take these things for granted, for it can all disappear in a very short time, less than a generation, and it takes several generations to heal again.

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