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

Easter Sunday 2014 Part II

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.

I posted the first batch of photos in a post yesterday, which you can see here. You can also follow that link if you’d like to read where and how I shot many of these photos, but the short story is that I went for a long hike in Kent County, Michigan’s Millennium Park. For the most part, the following photos are self-explanatory, so few words will be needed. I’ll start with what I think is the best photo of mallards that I have ever taken, and I’ve taken a lot.

Mallards

Mallards

On the other end of the quality scale are these photos of a pair of chickadees doing their “mating dance”. Both the male and female will perch, begin chirping loudly, as they first spread their wings, then begin flapping furiously, not to fly, but to display to one another. I’m sorry for the quality of these photos, but the chickadees picked a shady spot to perform their dance.

Black-capped chickadee mating dance

Black-capped chickadee mating dance

Black-capped chickadee mating dance

Black-capped chickadee mating dance

Black-capped chickadee mating dance

Black-capped chickadee mating dance

Millennium Park has several working oil wells within the park, here’s an interesting photo, of a mute swan feeding in front of one of the working wells.

Mute swan and oil well

Mute swan and oil well

I won’t include my thoughts on this, I’ll leave it for you to ponder.

A short distance away, I found a flock of blue-winged teal back in a swamp, but I was only able to get bad photos, like this one.

Male Blue-winged teal

Male Blue-winged teal

I was able to watch a robin building her nest. First, she brings a beak full of dried grass to the nest….

American robin building a nest

American robin building a nest

…takes a look around to see if she’s being watched…..

American robin building a nest

American robin building a nest

…then, she lowers herself into the nest as she spins around to distribute the dried grass around the inside of the nest.

American robin building a nest

American robin building a nest

Later, she’ll add mud to the inside of the nest to hold the grass together.

The next photo isn’t very good, but I’m using it to remind me to say that brown creepers sing a beautiful little song, which is what this one was doing as it raced up the tree limb.

Brown creeper singing

Brown creeper singing

Here’s a few for Mr. Tootlepedal.

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatch

I’m not sure, but I think that the nuthatch was checking to see if the end of my lens was a hollow log.

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatch

Then, it struck a pose for me.

White-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted nuthatch

I found a pair of blue-winged teal not in a swamp.

Male blue-winged teal

Male blue-winged teal

Female blue-winged teal

Female blue-winged teal

Male blue-winged teal

Male blue-winged teal

While I was sitting on a log taking a break, I heard a noise behind me, and turned to see this butterfly stalking me!

Part of a butterfly

Part of a butterfly

When it saw that it had been noticed, it broke off its attack, and flitted off to find another victim instead. 😉

Here’s a couple of photos of muskrats.

Muskrat with lunch

Muskrat with lunch

Muskrat drying itself

Muskrat drying itself

After being so close to a kingfisher on Saturday, I was hoping to get close to one on this day, but it was back to photographing one from across a pond.

Female belted kingfisher

Female belted kingfisher

I was able to practice my bird in flight photography, and from the looks of these photos, I need all the practice that I can get.

Double-crested cormorants in synchronized flight

Double-crested cormorants in synchronized flight

Ring-necked duck in flight

Ring-necked duck in flight

Ring-necked ducks in flight

Ring-necked ducks in flight

Bufflehead duck dive bombing a goose

Bufflehead duck dive bombing a goose

Bufflehead ducks in flight

Bufflehead ducks in flight

Bufflehead ducks in flight

Bufflehead ducks in flight

Bufflehead ducks in flight

Bufflehead ducks in flight

I’m going to wrap this up with a good photo, a cottonwood tree catkin.

Cottonwood tree catkin

Cottonwood tree catkin

I have two photos of a mystery bird that I was going to post, it’s a large wading bird with a long bill, and larger than a yellowlegs or any other wading birds that I’m familiar with, it has a bright white rump, but I haven’t been able to ID it yet.

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

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23 responses

  1. Great post!

    April 22, 2014 at 10:23 am

    • Thanks Victor!

      April 23, 2014 at 2:58 am

  2. Loved the post. Let us see the mystery birds and maybe we can help you ID it. 🙂

    April 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    • Thanks Bob, glad to see that you stopped by again. The mystery bird was the size and shape of a nighthawk, but was tan with very long legs trailing behind it in flight, and a bill that looked to be 5 to 6 inches long. The only distinguishing marks that I could see in the poor photos that I shot was the white patch on the bird’s rump. Whatever it was, I’ll track it down again one of these days.

      April 23, 2014 at 3:01 am

  3. That’s not a bad shot of the kingfisher considering it was taken from across a pond, but I think the mallards and the cottonwood catkins are my favorites.

    April 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    • Thanks Allen, kingfishers are tough to get close to, and I should have put a little more effort into the photos of the catkins, but they were the last thing that I saw as I was loading my stuff into my car.

      April 23, 2014 at 3:02 am

  4. “Double-crested cormorants in synchronized flight”: wonderful picture !! I always wondered how they do this 🙂

    April 22, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    • Thanks! I think that they fly like that to reduce wind resistance, like geese that fly in a “V” formation.

      April 23, 2014 at 3:03 am

  5. The robin building her nest and the nuthatch photos are my favourites.

    April 22, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    • Thank you Clare!

      April 23, 2014 at 3:04 am

  6. You certainly have the ability to see a lot of wildlife as well as take fine photos.

    April 22, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    • Thanks Tom, the good Lord did bless me with great eyesight, something that I am very grateful for!

      April 23, 2014 at 3:05 am

  7. You got nothing to complain about with that synchronized cormorant flight. Marvelous. Could not find any blue on the blue-winged teal. Is it one of those that needs certain lighting to show color? All in all a very successful outing. The buffleheads crack me up with the spread feet as they land or dive bomb!

    April 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    • Thanks, you’re too kind! The male blue winged teal have a small blue patch on their wings, similar to a mallard, and that they often hide. It is most visible in flight, but that pair wouldn’t take off for me.

      April 23, 2014 at 3:07 am

  8. There’s something so sweet about a robin building her nest! I really enjoyed that series of photos. Also, that first shot of the mallards – the colors are incredible! Had to brag on you and share it with the hubs. 🙂 I told him how you don’t do any post-photo enhancing (like I have to do), that you think that’s cheating. He agreed. With my limited abilities, I HAVE to. LOL Was quite amused by the buffleheads, too.

    April 22, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    • Thanks! I know that I’m being overly stubborn about not doing any post-processing other than cropping, but I’m firmly convinced that if I use great equipment, and use it to its fullest potential, then my photos shouldn’t need to be edited.

      April 23, 2014 at 3:18 am

  9. Although I’ve never given it much thought, I was surprised to see that the buffleheads have their legs all splayed out in flight. Is it the angle, or is that the way all ducks fly?

    Really going to miss your posts while you’re on vacation, but knowing that you’ll have a lot to play ‘catch-up’ with will make it all better.

    April 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    • Thanks Judy! I’ll have plenty of photos to share from my vacation, I’m sure of it.

      I caught the buffleheads as they were fooling around, not really going very far when they flew, so they never tucked their legs in like they do in serious flight. That’s one of the reasons for so many photos, I liked their big red feet too.

      April 23, 2014 at 3:21 am

  10. Love all the duck pix!!! And the swan! BTW, don’t you love that spring song of the chickadee, too? Thx for sharing!

    April 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

    • Thank you Lori! I love chickadees any time of the year, they can cheer up the darkest winter day.

      April 24, 2014 at 2:05 am

  11. Great post and what a fabulous day of watching! I saw my first brown creeper on Easter Sunday – was super excited!

    April 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    • Thank you! Once you’ve seen a brown creeper, they become easier to see from then on, at least that’s how it worked for me.

      April 24, 2014 at 2:06 am

      • Yeah I totally get that!

        April 24, 2014 at 10:41 am