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

Easter Sunday 2014 Part I

Sunday

It’s Easter Sunday, and I was up at dawn to greet the morning. That has me looking forward to my vacation, when not only will I be up before dawn, but I’ll be outside with either a camera of fly rod in hand as the sun pops up over the horizon. Two weeks of peace and quiet, just me and the critters.

It;s probably not good for me to spend so much time alone, but I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really fit in with human society. Actually, I’ve known that for some time, but for some reason, I feel compelled to try from time to time.

The group that went on the “nature walk” yesterday were mostly photographers first, and nature lovers second, or were using the walk as an excuse to shoot photos. I’m more of a nature lover first, who tries to convey my love of nature through my photos.

I love birds, but, I don’t want to sit in a blind behind a 20 power spotting scope all day trying to rack up big numbers, or impress others with the rare bird that I managed to see. Yes, I like getting a lifer from time to time, but as long as I’m around the birds and can watch and listen to even the common species singing, that’s really all that I need.

I love fishing, but my goal is not to land more or bigger fish than any one else, it’s my time to relax and become one with the river that I’m fishing in, and the nature that surrounds the river. If I land fish, or a big one, that’s nice, but as long as I’m out there standing in a river, it’s enough to make it a great day.

I love walking in the woods, but my goal isn’t to cover a set distance, or to complete it in as little time as possible, I want to stroll around taking in the nature that surrounds me. At the end of the day, I want to remember what I’ve seen, heard, and smelled, not how far or fast I went.

I was going to go on at length on these topics, as well as nature and my views on religion, but I don’t have the time to type all of that. For you see, I went to Aman Park early this morning to check on the progress of the wildflowers, and things are coming along just fine, next weekend should be spectacular! I knew that it was going to be a long day, so I carried just the new 300 mm prime lens with the extender. I’ll add very few of the images that I shot there today, because I’ll get even better ones next weekend when I take my tripod and the Tokina macro lens and do things right.

I did just a short loop at Aman Park, then, I went back to the Millennium Park where I was yesterday to do some more “exploring” there. As I said in my last post, I could see areas that I thought would hold wildlife, but they were some distance from the parking lot. I looked for a parking lot closer to the less developed part of the park, but they don’t allow parking in the parking lot that I wanted to park in, go figure.

So, I went back to the main parking lot from where I started yesterday, and walked the mile and a half across the butt ugly part of the park to get to the woods and wetlands. Of course, that meant a mile and a half back to the parking lot again once I was done walking around the good part of the park. So that was three miles just to get to and from where I would have otherwise started my walk. Needless to say, I carried just the new lens again, which actually worked out well. I have no idea how far that I walked in total between the two parks, but it was enough so that my legs are telling me to take it easy tomorrow!

My opinion of Millennium Park has changed some, I got quite a few good photos there today, but I’m not going to walk the three miles back and forth across an old gravel pit to get to the good parts, at least not very often, not when I can get photos of the same species without that boring walk at other places.

Anyway, for the photos. I’ll start with a few from Aman Park first.

Harbinger of spring?

Harbinger of spring?

Red squirrel eating breakfast

Red squirrel eating breakfast

Moss

Moss

Black morph of the grey squirrel

Black morph of the grey squirrel

Black morph of the grey squirrel

Black morph of the grey squirrel

Snowdrop?

Snowdrop?

Bloodroot?

Bloodroot?

Interesting patterns on a log

Interesting patterns on a log

??

??

Harbinger of spring?

Harbinger of spring?

???

???

???

???

???

???

Sycamore seeds?

Sycamore seeds?

Sycamore seeds?

Sycamore seeds?

Old habits are hard to break. For years, up until I began this blog really, I never really cared what the names of most flowers were, I just knew that they were pretty, and that I liked them. I’m trying to get better at identifying them, but the small spring flowers are like the small wading birds, they all look-alike to me. 😉

On top of that, my memory isn’t what it used to be either. I know that I could scroll through the posts that Allen, who does the New Hampshire Garden Solutions blog has done in past years to refresh my memory, but I don’t have the time or energy to do so tonight.

I really am trying to be ruthless in not posting too many photos, but, that’s not working out too well. For one thing, it seems as if everyday when I go out, I come back with better photos than the day before. Or, I come back with photos that may not be great, but they are of interesting behavior on the part of some bird or other critter.

Hardly a day goes by now that I don’t at least think about going back to the beginning of the project that I’m working on to photograph every species of bird regularly seen in Michigan and start over. But, I won’t. I do have some better photos of double crested cormorants to put into the post that I’ve already done on that species, as you are about to see.

Double crested cormorant

Double crested cormorant

How they are able to perch on tree limbs with those giant webbed feet is beyond me, and when one turned around while perched, it looked as if it might fall.

Double crested cormorant

Double crested cormorant

Double crested cormorant

Double crested cormorant

Notice his buddy paying no attention to what’s going on in that last one.

Double crested cormorant

Double crested cormorant

Whew! Both feet firmly holding on to the limb again. I’m so proud of myself!

Double crested cormorant

Double crested cormorant

Double crested cormorant

Double crested cormorant

This goose and the ducks were watching to see if the cormorant would fall.

Canada goose and ring-necked ducks

Canada goose and ring-necked ducks

I got some fair flying waterfowl images.

Mallards in flight

Mallards in flight

The male lesser scaup was showing off for the female, she looks totally unimpressed!

Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup

More fair flying waterfowl photos.

Double crested cormorant in flight

Double crested cormorant in flight

Double crested cormorant in flight

Double crested cormorant in flight

And, a red-tailed hawk made a couple of passes over me.

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

I don’t think that a hawk would take on a cormorant, but this cormorant wasn’t taking any chances, he kicked it into high gear!

Double crested cormorant in flight

Double crested cormorant in flight

Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup

You may have noticed that I titled this one part one, I still have many photos from today that I’d like to post. Some are poor quality, of a pair of chickadees doing their mating dance, but I’ve never posted photos of chickadees doing their mating dance, so I’ll have to include them in Part II, along with the best mallard photo that I’ve ever gotten.

So, that’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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23 responses

  1. Wow… Wow… Wow! Just letting you know… your photos are appreciated! Beautiful! Thank You for sharing!

    April 21, 2014 at 12:39 am

    • Thanks Nancy, I’m glad that you enjoyed it!

      April 21, 2014 at 9:06 am

  2. Thank you for this post ! Here one has the best chance to see a squirrel right in a big city, like Francfort or Wiesbaden, especially in small silent streets with trees asides, and front gardens, in many of the parks, which are sometimes surrounded by a huge traffic 🙂
    Cheers and have a splendit Easter holiday.
    Michel

    April 21, 2014 at 3:29 am

    • Thanks Michel, and a belated Happy Easter to you as well!

      April 21, 2014 at 9:07 am

  3. Lots of wonderful pictures but I liked the squirrels best.

    April 21, 2014 at 4:07 am

    • Thanks Susan! It’s funny, I almost deleted the squirrels because I’ve posted so many of them in the past, it’s a good thing that I included them.

      April 21, 2014 at 9:08 am

  4. Great shots of the Cormorants. I believe the “???” flowers are all Rue Anemone.

    April 21, 2014 at 6:08 am

    • Thanks Robert!

      April 21, 2014 at 9:09 am

  5. You can tell when someone who loves nature has taken photos because that love of the subject comes through in the photos. Cormorants in trees, for example. Most people would think, big deal.
    I think those are harbinger of spring blossoms and your first ?? flower is a white hepatica. I say that because it has a very hairy stem. You have at least 2 shots of hepatica and the others could be rue anemone but I can’t see the leaves to know for sure.
    Those do look like sycamore seed pods but it seems like they’re falling later than usual there.

    April 21, 2014 at 6:45 am

    • Thanks Allen! You wouldn’t believe how many people asked me what the cormorants were as I was standing there taking photos of them and the ducks.

      It’s good to see the first spring flowers, no matter what they are. 😉 I’ll try to do better with the ID, but I was dead tired last night, too much time enjoying some great spring weather.

      April 21, 2014 at 9:12 am

  6. I love the whole series of the cormorants. I have never seen one perching before – fascinating!

    I find that one downfall of living in the technology age is that life is too often lived from behind a screen of some sort. I see this with parents, who are so busy taking photos on their smart phone and immediately posting them to facebook or other social media that they are not really interacting with their kids and living the life they are shooting. I feel this can often be true of us bloggers. It’s easy to get caught up in getting a good picture for our blog and miss out on what we are actually doing at the moment. I was reminded of this for myself this past weekend. I was trying so hard to figure out my camera, get nice photos, tell the story, that it’s easy to miss just BEING IN THE MOMENT and enjoying nature in its basic form – the colors, smells, sounds. Thanks for the reminder, Jerry. Also, thank you for your blog, I learn so much from you and find I try to imitate what you are so successful at doing.

    April 21, 2014 at 10:47 am

    • Thanks Amy! I try to not only get good photos, but to also show wildlife in action, and how critters live.

      I’m lucky enough to be able to spend time outside everyday, and shoot so many photos that operating the camera becomes second nature to me, and so I can still pay attention to what’s going on around me.

      Today, I was thinking along the same lines as what you wrote, watching young mothers so engrossed in their smartphones that their kids could be dying a horrible death right in front of them, but they wouldn’t know, unless some one sent them a text alert to check on their kid.

      April 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      • 😀 Yes, I’ve seen that before as well. Recently one of our preschool moms took her daughter to a dance competition. I lost count of how many photos she posted straight to facebook – her daughter at the breakfast buffet, her daughter in the pool, her daughter in the elevator, her daughter in the gift shop, etc, etc. I wanted to scream PUT THE PHONE DOWN and just enjoy your time with your daughter!

        I love how you show nature in action, and also how your always give information so that I learn something new with every post.

        April 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      • Ugh * you * always give information. 🙂 I need an edit button.

        April 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

  7. I love this time of year as all the flowers are starting to pop. Glad to see Spring has sprung after the winter you’ve endured. From your first couple of paragraphs sounds like you’d fit in in the RVing world…..everyone does there own thing, their own way, without competition. There’s a love of nature that’s shared.

    April 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    • Thanks Ingrid, I’m going to bore every one to death with all the flower photos I’m going to be shooting after this winter.

      April 22, 2014 at 2:09 am

  8. Really good photos again. Lots of people just like birds/flowers/insects etc and don’t need to know what they’re called – they are just glad they are there. Others have to know what everything is called and everything about them. I’m afraid I am more the latter than the former and it’s getting worse as I get older. As for not fitting in – I think it is better to be true to one’s self and be enthusiastic about hobbies/interests and so on than be one of these cynical ‘clones’ that abound these days who sneer and laugh at people who have interests and skills. Or like the majority of people who are only interested in shopping or having a better house or car than their neighbours and find nature boring. They are the people who are missing out on life no matter what they say. There are lots of people like you who prefer peace and quiet and the outdoors but because they enjoy their own company as you do, you never realise how many there are around you. You would fit in with these people I know.

    April 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    • Thank you Clare! I just ahve to face the fact that I am who I am, and that I’ll never quite fit in regular society. That’s okay, I like my life the way it is.

      April 22, 2014 at 3:23 am

  9. Pingback: Easter Sunday 2014 Part II | Quiet Solo Pursuits

  10. One of the things I have appreciated about your blog over time is your affinity for, and consideration of, the wildlife you photograph. The many instances this winter where you expressed concern for to stressing the few birds that were out and about in the extreme cold come to mind. So, it wasn’t surprising to see you articulate your philosophy in today’s post where you wrote this: “The group that went on the “nature walk” yesterday were mostly photographers first, and nature lovers second, or were using the walk as an excuse to shoot photos. I’m more of a nature lover first, who tries to convey my love of nature through my photos.” I agree wholeheartedly with your way of thinking. There are many VERY FINE photographers around, even on WordPress, who only care about “getting the shot,” and pay little attention to the well-being of the animals or birds. Some have directly contributed to the deaths of their photographic subjects by getting too close and personal too often, thereby interrupting feeding activities. Their interruptions have led to the starvation of fledglings, but those photographers were either too uneducated to realize the cost of their photographs, or too selfish to care. Sigh.

    April 29, 2014 at 11:41 am

    • Thank you very much for the kind words! I look at it this way, the critters are my friends, and I certainly don’t want to harm them. They reward my friendship and concern for them by posing nicely for my camera when I want to take their picture. People are always asking me how I get so close to so many birds, to me, it’s rather easy, I become part of nature when in nature.

      April 30, 2014 at 2:55 am

      • You’re welcome. Very well said: “… I become part of nature when in nature.” as it should be, for all.

        April 30, 2014 at 9:50 am

      • Thank you!

        May 1, 2014 at 2:45 am