Making progress part II
There are a few things that I forgot to add to the last post, which is OK, it was quite long anyway.
We’ve been in a rut weather wise, I almost did a post titled “14 degrees ( -10 degree Celsius) and snow” for almost every morning when I checked the current weather conditions in preparation for my daily walk, that’s what the weather was. (As I am touching this post up on Sunday morning, it is 6 degrees F or -14 C, I think that I’ll take my daily walk in the afternoon.)
I almost titled this post “There ain’t no cure for the lake effect greys” since it seemed to fit as well. That’s a take off on the old rockabilly song “Summertime Blues” by the late, great Eddie Cochran. Of course there is a cure, sunshine, and I wouldn’t have to travel very far to make that happen. However, that’s not going to happen this winter. (Another attempted cure will be included later in this post.)
I’ve read that Seattle, Washington has one of the highest rates of suicide in the nation, and that experts believe that it is due to the chronic cloudiness there. I can believe that. Come winter time in West Michigan, Seattle has nothing on us when it comes to cloud cover.
According to a local meteorologist, the amount sunshine for this February is running below our normal average of 11% of available sunshine for the month. It isn’t by very much, we’re averaging 9% of available sunshine, of course that means that it is cloudy over 90% of the time. I can’t verify this, but I think that most of the sunshine we do receive occurs early in the morning, before I get outside for my daily walk.
That make sense, the winds coming across Lake Michigan, which produces the clouds, die off at night, allowing the clouds to dissipate. Today (Saturday) was a perfect example, I woke up to bright sunshine, even though the weather forecast was for heavy lake effect snow. I had to run to the bank, which took all of 15 minutes, by the time I got back home, the clouds had moved in, and it was snowing at a moderate pace. It looked nothing like when I had stepped outside to get to my car.
The constant cloud cover, and associated snowfall, is really cramping my photography, in several ways. No sunshine means that I’m always having to shoot in very low light conditions, and the dull grey overcast sky makes a horrible background for shooting anything above shoulder level. Add to that the fact that it’s hard to see anything to photograph when I’m walking around with the hood of my parka pulled out as far as it goes to block the wind-driven snow from hitting me in the face. It’s hard to photograph anything when my eyelashes are freezing together. That’s happened on at least two days the last month, it’s been that kind of winter.
When I do spot any wildlife, it is usually birds or squirrels, gathered around a bird feeder in some one’s yard off in the distance.
However, about one day per week, the weather has been relatively nice, the birds spread out, and I’m making some new friends when that happens. You may recall the post that I did soon after I moved, on how the birds around my new home haven’t gotten used to me being around yet. That’s been changing, slowly, but I am making progress, and as soon as spring gets here, it will happen quickly I think.
I am seeing a pair of red-tailed hawks almost daily, they won’t let me get close to them yet, but it takes a while. I also see Cooper’s hawks regularly, as well as many other species of birds. I am also making friends with the other critters, it’s nice to see red squirrels on a regular basis, rather than just fox squirrels. I’m sure that the red squirrels will make many appearances here in the future, as I love watching them race through the treetops.
If I had any other words of wisdom, they’re gone forever, lost in cyberspace. I had this post nearly finished, when in a rare occurrence, WordPress locked up, and I lost it all. To make things even worse, for some reason there’s a gap of an hour in the auto save feature. So, I guess I will move on to the cure for the lake effect greys.
What is that cure you may ask? Go back and relive a trip I made to Muskegon the first weekend that I had my new Subaru back in October.
I’ll start with a pair of ruddy ducks.
Oh yeah, and I remember going off on a rant about field guides, how they focus primarily on birds in their breeding plumage! What is one supposed to do when they spot a new to them species of bird during the fall migration? Here’s why I bring this up, if any one can help me ID this bird, I sure would appreciate it. I’m leaning towards it being a Long-billed Dowitcher, but I’m not positive.
With a bill that long, I thought that it would be easy to ID that bird, but it hasn’t been.
Here’s one that I’m sure of, North America’s smallest falcon!
I hope that this next photo gives you an idea about the numbers of waterfowl migrating through the Muskegon area.
There’s three lines of birds in flight if you look closely.
So far, the photos were taken at the county wastewater treatment center, but I drove over to Muskegon State Park for the rest of these.
Getting out of my Forester, I noticed a crow keeping an eye on things. (There are several of the crow that will be added to the lifer list post I’ve done.)
He soon spotted a red-shouldered hawk, and called a few of his buddies over to harass the hawk.
Then, I spotted what may be the best cure for the lake effect greys…
…a sun dog, not much of one, but it hinted at what was to come, so I stuck around to watch some mallards and gulls fight over food thrown to them by a passerby.
I think that the mallards got the best of it, they would grab the food, and when the gulls tried to take it away from them, the mallards would dive, then surface elsewhere.
When this gull posed for me, I just had to shoot it!
Then, the real show began!
Turning around, I saw the real show part II!
There was color everywhere
I couldn’t resist this one, I think that I may have already posted it, but it’s my blog, and my brand new Subaru!
It was one of those times that I wished I had a wide angle lens for my camera.
If that doesn’t cure the lake effect greys, then nothing will!
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!