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

Happy New Year everyone!

I want to start by wishing everyone the best New Year ever!

The next thing on my list of things to do is to thank From Moments to Memories for nominating my blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. ย It means a great deal to me that some one found my blog to be worthy of any type of award, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for nominating me, and I think that she is much more worthy of a versatile blogger award than am I.

It may take me a while to get around to complying with all the rules of the award, if I do decide to accept it. When I first started my blog, I really envied other blogs that had won awards, now, not so much. To me, the nomination, and knowing some one thought enough of my blog to make the nomination means much more than the award itself. I have a whole stack of awards from companies I have worked for, awards for safe driving, attendance, going above and beyond the basics the job calls for, and so on. I’m not even sure why I keep them, other than to show prospective employers at a job interview.

One thing I have learned from blogging is that there are many talented people out there, much more talented than I am, like I didn’t know that already. As usual, I fit into a quirky little space of my own, I am not the most talented writer, certainly not the most talented photographer, but enough people seem to like my blog enough to have made it more popular than I would have imagined, thanks to all of you who have followed my blog!

Writing isn’t easy for me, heck, communicating in any form with fellow human beings isn’t easy for me, I am much more at home out in the woods with my critter friends than I am with humans. Photography is easy for me, I see, I shoot, no problem, other than forgetting to make sure the camera is set correctly for what I am trying to photograph. (Yes, I messed up big time again yesterday, forgot to set my camera back to the program mode and shot a series of photos of geese in flight that would have been exceptional, except they were all blurry since the lens was stopped way down resulting in too slow of a shutter speed.)

Nominee for the stupid photographer award

But, I do that wrong anyway, I see I shoot, I don’t take enough time to put much thought into my photos like a truly great photographer does. My “claim to fame” is that I am able to translate my love of the outdoors and animals through photographs well enough that people like them.

So anyway, thanks again to From Moments to Memories for the nomination! I don’t even know her real name to thank her properly, but that’s sort of normal in the blogging world I have found. Oops, spoke too soon, for going back through her posts, I learned that her name is Sheila, so thank you Sheila!

I wrote yesterday that I was going to head for the Lake Michigan shore for some photos of the storm we were suppose to get, but the storm has been late. When I woke up this morning, there was nothing going on outside except for some very dark and dreary clouds, no wind, no rain, no snow. Around 9:30 AM the rain started a little, and the wind picked up a little, but it will take a while for the waves to build up to large enough size to make the trip to the lake worthwhile. As of Noon, the rain is changing to snow, and the winds are definitely picking up, so there’s still hope for this storm! So, until it gets really wound up, and that may end up being on Monday, I thought I would post about my hike yesterday, New Year’s Eve.

I was hoping that with a big storm approaching that all the critters would be out and about feeding so they would be able to weather the storm out in the most sheltered areas they can find. That was the case with the squirrels…

Fox squirrel saying grace

Fox squirrel feeding

OK, so I swapped the order of those two photos, squirrels don’t really say grace before they chow.

And, there were lots of birds feeding as well, mostly the same old same old birds that I have posted photos of before, but I did manage a couple of good shots of red bellied woodpeckers.

Red bellied woodpecker

Red bellied woodpecker

Red bellied woodpeckers

Red bellied woodpeckers

Do you think I could catch both of the looking at me at the same time? Of course not!

Red bellied woodpeckers

I don’t think I have posted any photos of these little guys either, a tufted titmouse.

Tufted titmouse

My, what big eyes they have for such a little bird! All the better to see me with, and to stay out of camera range most of the time!

For the most part, it was white breasted nuthatches..

White breasted nuthatch

Black capped chickadees…

Black capped chickadee

Downy woodpeckers…

Downy woodpecker

Northern cardinals, both female…

Female northern cardinal

Female northern cardinal

and male….

Male northern cardinal

but I did luck out and get this one!

Male northern cardinal in flight

Do you know how hard it is to shoot a flying bird directly overhead? No wonder my neck hurts a bit today. ๐Ÿ™‚ Or, it could be from looking for owls all day yesterday, and not finding them. A few people have told me that there are a pair of great horned owls that have taken up residence in the park I was at, along with a screech-owl, but I haven’t found them yet. I think I have been trying too hard.

I’m normally very, very good at spotting critters, except when I try too hard, I have no idea why that is. I did spot these two birds though, proving that birds of a feather don’t always flock together…

House finch and American goldfinch

…as does this one…

Canadian geese and mallards

..and there were still more squirrels clowning around…

Fox squirrel

..looks like it started the New Year’s Eve celebration a bit early!

For the end of December it was a beautiful day!

Green grass and trees, blue water, Canadian geese

I didn’t shoot just birds though, I came up with a few other things I found interesting enough to photograph, like some shelf fungi.

Shelf fungi

Shelf fungi

and these…

Shelf fungi

Shelf fungi

Shelf fungi

Shelf fungi

Then there were these leaves that I couldn’t figure out…

Leaves

I couldn’t recall ever seeing that type of leaf on a native plant in Michigan before, so I checked closer…

Plastic leaves stuck in a bush

…and found that the leaves were fake, the joke was on me! How they got there, I have no idea. I don’t know if they were blown there and stuck in the bush, or if some one stuck them there as a joke, but I fell for it.

This is the aquatic plant life in the creek turning orange, for real!

Orange aquatic plants

And here’s one of the small rapids on the creek…

Rapids on Buck Creek

And here are a few I took that I like, but I really can’t say why, other than I like them.

Raining pine needles

Pine cone and needles

Empty, dried seed pods

I am going to end this with three more photos of mallards in flight, and they aren’t even particularly good photos, but I have fallen in love with the look of these!

Mallards in flight

Male mallard in flight

Mallards in flight

I think my love for the pictures of mallards in flight goes way back to when I was a kid, and my dad loved a picture he had purchased of mallards in flight. I thought that it was about the most beautiful thing I had ever seen back then, even though it was really a cheesy picture now that I think back on it.

That, and a paint by number book of ducks that my dad got for me to keep me occupied while I had the chicken pox are just two of the things that shaped who I am today, and instilled in me the love of nature that he passed down to me. So I hope you will indulge me a little if I continue to post a few more ducks in flight photos later on. You can blame my dad, I thank him for teaching me the things he taught me.

I took a short break at this point, and sat down in the living room to look out at the building storm for a while. I was surprised to see a deer mouse out there on my balcony, eating the stale bread I throw out for the critters. I know I should call the management here and tell them there are mice living in the storage area attached to the balcony, but I won’t. The poor little thing doesn’t know that it isn’t supposed to take up residence there, all it’s trying to do is to get by the best that it can, to stay alive, to survive. The only things I store in there are the tanks of propane for my camp stove, and the can of fuel for my lantern. If the mouse wants to live there, that’s OK by me, I’ll share. Now if it tries to move into my apartment, well, that’s a different story, I would be forced to evict it then. But, just because I could kill it doesn’t mean that I have to kill it, it has enough other critters who would love to make a meal of it, like the hawks, coyotes, foxes, to name a few. I just have to remember to be more careful about leaving the slider open for any length of time at all from now on, like when I step out there to take a photo!

The storm is just getting going now, it’s snowing a little, but hasn’t begun to stick yet. ย The wind is roaring now, but it is too late in the day for a trip to the beach for any kind of hike, besides, the wind hasn’t been strong enough long enough for really big waves yet. So I guess I’ll bundle up and do a long walk around here, then check the web cams from the beach areas tomorrow morning to see if the waves warrant a trip to the beach then.

Another thank you to Sheila for nominating my blog for the award, and to all the regular readers as well. Thanks for stopping by!

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26 responses

  1. Northern Narratives

    Congratulations on your Award. I love the photos of the red bellied woodpecker. We don’t see them much anymore. Hope you get some snow. We only got 2 inches. Happy New Year ๐Ÿ™‚

    January 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    • Thank you. I’m not sure what’s going on around here. I see far more red bellied woodpeckers than I ever have before, but the number of hairy woodpeckers is way down, to the point where it is rare to see one. Also, the pileated woodpeckers are really increasing in number

      January 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm

  2. Well shot as always. I’m amazed that you manage to pack so much into just one trip. I’m lucky to find a couple of reasonable birds in a few hours out.

    January 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    • Thank you, that one trip was about 8 miles of hiking! My normal routine is two miles a day during the workweek, then I try to do 4 to 6 miles on the weekends, but yesterday I wanted to find the owls, so I made an extra loop.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

  3. A fun collection of photos and a great story, too. Happy New Year.

    January 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    • Thank you, sorry, no winter storm photos yet, the snow has finally started coming down in earnest, just as it’s getting dark here.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm

  4. Congratulations on the award-you deserve it! I wold have nominated you myself, but I have no clue how to go about doing so.

    January 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    • Thank you! You may find out how shortly ๐Ÿ˜‰

      January 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

  5. WOW! You hit the jackpot and sooooo jealous of your bird pics. Was soooo cold today, but we did see a few at the refuge headquarters’ bird feeders ๐Ÿ™‚ P.S. I think you are a great writer. Keep up the writing AND photography ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy new year ๐Ÿ™‚

    January 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    • Thank you! My writing is OK, but it doesn’t come easily, it takes me a long time to do a post.

      January 2, 2012 at 9:47 am

  6. My favourite is the photo of the squirrel saying grace ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy New Year!

    January 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    • Thank you! it’s a cutie, isn’t it?

      January 2, 2012 at 9:44 am

  7. I hear you about not having the settings on the camera ready (or, for that matter, the sd card in the camera!). You got some great shots, and saw so much variety on your outings.

    January 2, 2012 at 1:12 am

    • Thanks for the comment! I never take the SD cards out of my cameras, I use a USB cable to transfer photos to my computer, or I would get out in the woods only to find I had forgotten to re-insert the card.

      January 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

  8. Thank you for sharing. Love them all.

    January 2, 2012 at 7:27 am

    • Thank you!

      January 2, 2012 at 9:41 am

  9. Happy New Year and congratulations on your award. You put so much of your soul into your blog. It shines out through all the pictures and words. That’s why people follow you, I am sure…

    January 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    • Wow! Thank you Kathy! I always consider myself to be a slacker when it comes to writing when I read a blog by some one who can really write, such as your blog.

      January 2, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      • Comparison with others can be so dangerous because we’re all such unique amazing DIFFERENT souls!

        January 2, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      • I understand what you’re saying, but my writing isn’t going to improve if all I do is compare it to my own writing. I know I need to make my writing less formal and more from the heart, but my training has been mostly formal writing, I have to learn how not to be so formal.

        January 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      • I see what you mean. You are trying to write casually from your heart more.

        January 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      • Yeah, that’s it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t want to imitate your style, you’re the only Kathy, but all my writing since high school has been either business or semi-legal documents, nothing casual about it.

        January 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm

  10. This is my kind of blog post. I like it. I know what you mean about writing styles. When I was at work, all I wrote was formal technical reports or training papers. Blog writing doesn’t come easy to me either. I really like the squirrel shots.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    • Thank you, my most recent writing experience is writing real estate contracts where you have to choose your words extremely carefully, along with how you put them together. It is so much different than blogging.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm

  11. Happy 2012! I enjoyed the series of photos- even the plastic plant one- may you get many fine photos to post here in this current year, and grats on the Versatile Blogger Award!

    January 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    • And a Happy New Year to you as well. I hope you don’t mind that I am going to thank you for all your comments here, I’m itching to get out there and spend the day taking advantage of this week’s nice weather!

      January 7, 2012 at 10:02 am