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

Aman Park in September

Aman Park is a bit of an odd duck, it is a City of Grand Rapids park, even though it is several miles outside the city limits. Since it’s close to the city, it’s a nice place to go and spend the day walking the trails, looking for birds, wildflowers, and whatever else catches your eye. Aman Park’s biggest claim to fame are the acres of early spring wildflowers, particularly trillium. It’s also a good spot for birding in the spring when the birds, especially warblers, are migrating through the area.

Since it’s September, I knew that I wouldn’t find any trillium, I was hoping for warblers. I saw quite a few, but all the birds were being ornery today, and the warblers were no exception.

Today was also the first day that I carried both of my camera bodies, with one set for birding, and the other for scenery and close-ups. That went quite well for the first day, although not at all as I expected. It was kind of a weird day, I thought that I was “forcing” shots, that is, just shooting things to come up with a few photos at times, or that I was just fooling around at other times. After downloading the photos to my computer, I was surprised at how well I had done.

I had just made to the first bridge across Sand Creek, which runs through the park, when I found a few flowers to start with, so I set the Beast (Sigma Lens) down, and got out body II with the 15-85 mm lens on it for these shots.

Unidentified flowering object

Unidentified flowering object

Unidentified flowering object

Unidentified flowering object

I liked the background colors, but I also took a better close-up.

Unidentified flowering object

Unidentified flowering object

I packed body II away, crossed the bridge, and found these.

Unidentified berry

Unidentified berry

Well, that packing the second body away each time wasn’t going to work, I could tell that already. So, I carried it around my neck and carried the Beast by the tripod mount, as I always do. That worked quite well, even if it sounds awkward. Oh, I should have gone down a full stop on the berry, I shot that one at -2/3 EV, but the hot pink shell was too hot even at that exposure.

The Beast does OK for things other than birds.

Fall is coming

Fall is coming

But the 15-85 mm is better for close-ups.

Grass seed head

Grass seed head

I was hearing and seeing birds, but getting a photo of any of them proved difficult all day. I thought that this was a ovenbird when I saw it, but it turns out that it is a lifer for me, a worm-eating warbler. It gets its name from the fact that its primary food source is caterpillars, which many people mistakenly call worms.

Ovenbird

Worm-eating warbler

Shot two of rapid fire was of tail feathers as it flew away.

I should have used my tripod more often, I shot this one handheld because I didn’t think that the green flowers would look very good, I was wrong, but that happens a lot.

Unidentified green flowers

Unidentified green flowers

After seeing that photo, I wished that I had set-up the tripod, as I was battling the shade most of the day, not just for that shot. The foliage in the park was a lot more lush, green, and thick than I expected it to be. Here’s a few examples that I shot for the heck of it.

The forest closing in on me

The forest closing in on me

Green

Green

One of the larger clearings

One of the larger clearings

What most of my day looked like

What most of my day looked like

The birds were taking full advantage of all that greenery and doing their best to hide.

Female hairy woodpecker

Female hairy woodpecker

Female Wilson's warbler

Female Wilson’s warbler

White breasted nuthatch

White breasted nuthatch

The birds even had a scout spying on me to let the rest of them know where I was.

The lookout

The lookout

Since the birds didn’t want to cooperate, and I wasn’t finding many flowers, I turned to fungi and oddities. I had to use the flash on this first one.

Unidentified fungal object

Unidentified fungal object

While taking a break, I looked down to see these on the bottom of a leaf. I’m not sure if they are tiny mushrooms, or some other type of growth.

Unidentified fungal objects?

Unidentified fungal objects?

This one was large enough that I had no problem seeing it.

Unidentified fungal object

Unidentified fungal object

I saw what I thought was a gall on a leaf at first glance, but closer inspection showed me that it was a beech nut that had fallen, and the stem of the “nut” had impaled the leaf seen here.

Beechnut

Beech nut

That must happen regularly, as I found another on a lower leaf.

Beechnut

Beech nut

At one point as I was walking along Sand Creek, I saw a leaf floating downstream, of course I had to shoot it.

Floating leaf

Floating leaf

I stood there for a while, hoping for a red leaf to come floating towards me, instead, I got another yellow one, with two water striders hitching a ride.

Floating leaf and waterstriders

Floating leaf and water striders

Now for the last photo from today. I spotted an interesting fungus from a distance, and knew that I had to get a photo of it. Where it was growing presented a bit of a problem, but I looked the situation over, set-up my tripod for the best angle on some very uneven ground, and started to line the camera up. There were some weeds in the way, so I started pulling them out of the ground to get them out of the way. I was about to reach for another of the weeds when I noticed that it had three leaves. Oh-oh!

I checked the ones I had pulled, three leaves.

I don’t think that I’m allergic to poison ivy, but I wasn’t sure if the weeds I had been pulling were poison ivy, poison oak, or something else. No way that I was going to lay down in whatever it was for a photo, it was bad enough that I was standing in a patch of the three leaved weeds.

Unidentified fungal object

Unidentified fungal object

I took one shot, and got the heck out of there. BTW, that was shot at a full second as far as the shutter speed, that’s how dark it was there in the shade.

I went over to the creek and rinsed my hands off as well as I could with plain water, I don’t know if that prevented me from having a reaction to whatever the three leaved plants were, or if they are harmless to begin with.

All in all, a pretty good day, I really enjoyed the cooler weather today, and there really weren’t very many people at Aman Park today. That surprised me, it can be very crowded on the weekends. I didn’t get any spectacular photos, but I got a few good ones, a few interesting ones, and a few fun ones, what more could I ask for?

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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19 responses

  1. That park is beautiful at any time of year. I think that red berry might be an Indian strawberry (Potentilla indica.) In this case “Indian” means the country, not Native American because it is an introduced plant. I’ve heard that the berry tastes like watermelon.
    I don’t think your 3 leaved plant was poison ivy, but I’m not sure what it was. The fungus it was growing in looks like chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus.) It’s considered a delicacy by mushroom hunters. I wish I knew what those little button shaped ones on the oak leaves were-they look real interesting. Nice shots!

    September 15, 2013 at 8:11 am

    • Thanks!

      I don’t think that the berry was Indian Strawberry, the plants were about a foot tall, and grew in clusters. But, I could be wrong, I usually am. I swear that I saw those berries on your blog at one time, but couldn’t find them last night when I checked. I may have confused them with partridge berries.

      There are none of the three leaved plants in the photo, the leaves looked somewhat similar to oak leaves, but they were smooth as were the stems, so I thought that I was OK, but no reason to take chances.

      I wish that I had taken better photos of the tiny button shaped what ever they were on the leaf. But, that was towards the end of a long day.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:22 am

      • Nope, those aren’t Idian strawberries if they grow that tall. I can’t remember ever seeing another berry like it.

        September 15, 2013 at 7:15 pm

  2. Wow – those up-close shots are really amazing! I’m so enjoying watching the progression of your photography!

    September 15, 2013 at 8:44 am

    • Thanks! If you were to see some of the slides or prints that I took in the days of film, you wouldn’t see that much difference between them and what you’re seeing now. I got sidetracked for a while.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  3. I’m glad that you got one nice nuthatch shot among all the fungus and flowers. They were very good though.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    • Thanks Tom, I’ll see if I can get a few more of the nuthaches to pose.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm

  4. I keep a bar of the anti-itch soap handy around here because I’ve been unpleasantly surprised a few times and I *know* there’s poison ivy lurking in our ‘hood. Sigh. Love the pix of the leaves and the warbler. Enjoy the fall weather!

    September 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    • Thanks, I’ve never gotten the rash from poison ivy, I hope that I can continue to say that. The weather here is great, it felt good to wear a jacket today.

      September 15, 2013 at 1:43 pm

  5. This time of year our poison oak is easier to spot as it’s one of the few plants whose leaves turn red around here. Luckily we don’t have the ivy variety.

    September 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm

  6. Beautiful set of your photographs…

    September 17, 2013 at 5:46 am

    • Thank you!

      September 17, 2013 at 9:35 am

  7. A pleasant early autumn day! I believe the 2nd flower down is Heart-Leaved (or Arrow-Leaved) Aster.

    September 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    • Thanks, it was a good day

      September 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

  8. Pingback: My Week, the good life! | Quiet Solo Pursuits

  9. Oh I miss being out on the trail. Thanks for taking me on your adventure.

    September 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    • Thanks again Emily!

      September 28, 2013 at 8:16 am

  10. Yes, lots of really good ones! The way the foliage looks on the Worm-eating Warbler shot is so interesting too. The beech not photo – great one! Love the lookout.

    September 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    • Thank you!

      September 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm