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

Spring vacation 2014, the 4th day

It was raining lightly off and on when I woke up on Wednesday morning, another very dark and dreary day. As I drank my coffee, I pondered where I should go and what I should do, as I hoped that the weather would improve. I was surprised by the rain after the sunset the night before, but I was in northern Michigan, where it doesn’t take much for it to rain.

Being near  the “tip of the mitt” as the area is known, a small area of land surrounded by two of the Great Lakes, it is a maritime climate there.

Anyway, I did my morning tour around the campground and came up with these photos, starting with a red squirrel’s antics.

Red squirrel

Red squirrel

Red squirrel

Red squirrel

Red squirrel

Red squirrel

I had seen and heard bird calls coming from a marsh behind my campsite, so checking the marsh out, I found this.

Solitary sandpiper

Solitary sandpiper

Returning to my campsite for more coffee, I found that a pair of geese were thinking of joining me.

Canada goose

Canada goose

I looked towards the river and saw a pair of common mergansers headed downstream and set off after them, hoping to get to a bend in the river before they did. On the way, I spotted this wood duck, but since he had seen me, I thought my best option was to continue after the mergansers, and then to try to sneak up on the wood duck later, after he had settled down.

Male wood duck

Male wood duck

In the very poor light, this was my best image of one of the mergansers.

Male common merganser

Male common merganser

But when I stepped into an opening for that photo, the wood duck saw me again, and took off, so I never did get a better photo.

But, the geese were still feeding in my campsite.

Canada goose and my Forester

Canada goose and my Forester

Here’s the rest of the photos from the morning.

Black-throated green warbler

Black-throated green warbler

Yellow-rumped wabler

Yellow-rumped warbler

Juvenile male American redstart taking flight

Juvenile male American redstart taking flight

Blue jay

Blue jay

While hiking the Mason Tract the day before, I learned that there is a dirt road that runs parallel to the pathway and that there are several points where there are parking areas where the pathway and road come very close together. I had chosen one of those points to turn around at the day before, and that’s where I picked up from on this day.

I did the last three miles (and back) of the Mason tract pathway, I didn’t do the Thayer’s Creek loop, as it was closed due to high water over the bridge that spans Thayer’s Creek, or at least that’s what the signs said.

Once again, I saw just one other person the entire time that I was hiking and sitting, it was if I had the entire Mason Tract to myself! I did even more sitting than on the previous day as well, since the weather had improved a little over the day before, it was almost sunny for short periods of time.

Unidentified fluttering object

Unidentified fluttering object

Garter snake

Garter snake

Eastern chipmunk

Eastern chipmunk

Nashville warbler

Nashville warbler

Nashville warbler

Nashville warbler

Blackburnian warbler

Blackburnian warbler

Unidentified flitting object

Unidentified flitting object

Colt's foot

Colt’s foot

It looked like a dandelion to me, but the stem looked different, and there were no leaves at the base, so I believe that I have seen my first colt’s foot.

Swainson's thrush

Swainson’s thrush

Swainson's thrush

Swainson’s thrush

Sedge?

Sedge?

Unidentified

Unidentified

Black and white warbler

Black and white warbler

Black and white warbler

Black and white warbler

Oven bird

Oven bird

Hepatica

Hepatica

Porcupine

Porcupine

Porcupine

Porcupine

Porcupine

Porcupine

Brown thrasher

Brown thrasher

Male rose-breasted grosbeak

Male rose-breasted grosbeak

Turkey vulture

Turkey vulture

I think that you can see that the clouds had really thickened up again by the time that I had finished my hike for the day. On my way back to my campsite, I listened to the weather forecast for the next few days, and every station had the same forecast, rain and snow for the next three days. It even sprinkled a little on my way back to the campground.

So, I wimped out, when I arrived back at Goose Creek where I was staying, I packed up and headed home. I had already spent three days in rainy weather, and even though I don’t mind hiking in the rain, and the temperatures weren’t going to be much below freezing, three more days of gloomy weather were not what I had been looking forward to. I knew that I wasn’t going to spend the entire two weeks of my vacation camping, so it seemed like a good time to come home, shower, and resupply for my next trip north.

Which, as this is published, I will be on. I’m getting ready to leave as soon as I finish this, I’ll be spending a few days near Alpena, Michigan chasing birds, then go from there as the mood strikes me.

In fact, I feel as if I should apologize for the quality of this post, as I am rushing through it so that I can be on my way. I’ll respond to comments when I return home.

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

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16 responses

  1. Who knew porcupines climbed trees? A shame the weather wasn’t more pleasant, but you still seem to be enjoying yourself.

    May 22, 2014 at 1:39 am

    • Thanks! Porkies climb trees all the time, that’s where their food is, but you’d think that nature would have designed them as better tree climbers.

      May 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

  2. Wonderful pictures, I loved the antics of the red squirrels. Hope weather improves.

    May 22, 2014 at 3:24 am

    • Thanks Susan, the weather did improve, more photos coming soon!

      May 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

  3. Very nice shot of the Oven Bird!

    I’ve struggled with what to do with severely backlit shots like birds in the tops of trees on overcast days and have found that Adobe Lightroom provides a good solution as it allow you to brighten shadowed areas only and it works on jpegs . If you try to compensate in the camera you will blow out everything else. There may be other programs that do the same thing. See link for one of your pics that I lightened the shadow values on; https://www.flickr.com/photos/29523907@N05/14057110559/

    We enjoy your posts, keep it up!

    Bob

    May 22, 2014 at 6:58 am

    • Thanks Bob! I appreciate the suggestions, but I don’t do any post-processing other than cropping.

      May 25, 2014 at 8:56 am

  4. I love the photos of the squirrel with the pine cone as big as its head. Hope the rest of your holiday is enjoyable

    May 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    • Thanks Clare, it’s been a wonderful two weeks so far!

      May 25, 2014 at 8:56 am

  5. It looks to me like you got a lot of great photos in spite of the weather. That is a sedge flowering-possibly Pennsylvania sedge.
    It isn’t often that you run into a porcupine. I wonder how much human exposure the birds and animals get up there.
    Hope the second half of the vacation has better weather.

    May 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    • Thanks Allen! In northern Michigan, porkies are all over the place, I saw several on this trip, most of them crossing roads. The critters up there are left to themselves for 9 months from fall to spring, then the crowds arrive for the summers.

      May 25, 2014 at 8:59 am

  6. You have very sharp eyes as well as good camera technique.

    May 22, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    • Thanks Tom, the good Lord did bless me with excellent eyesight!

      May 25, 2014 at 8:59 am

  7. Porcupine in a tree?! How cool!!!

    May 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

    • Thanks! That’s where porkies feed most of the time, in trees.

      May 25, 2014 at 9:04 am

      • Never knew that! ‘Course, I’ve never seen one in the wild, either. Wouldn’t mind, as long as it’s from a proper distance. 🙂

        May 26, 2014 at 7:36 am

      • Porkies are slow, dim witted, and harmless, you’re more likely to trip over one than have one attack.

        May 26, 2014 at 8:27 am