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

Getting along

It’s early (for me) on a Sunday morning as I try to get caught up with my postings. It’s been hot and muggy here all week, with on and off rain showers, and occasional thunder showers. My plan was to get a walk in early before it became too hot, but there’s another line of showers headed this way, so I’ll work on this until the rain moves past me.

After all the whining that I did about the long, cold winter we had here, I swore that I wouldn’t whine about the summer heat. I’ll stick to that, and whine about the humidity instead. 😉 It’s been like being in a sauna around here this past week, with high temperatures approaching 85 degrees (30 C), and we had over 4 inches (100 mm) of rain.

There were at least two days when it rained the entire time I was out walking, and another day or two when it sprinkled while I walked, but I came home dripping wet every day. If it wasn’t raining, I was sweating so much that it may as well have been raining.

Yesterday was the worst so far, my plan was to visit two small nature preserves near Grand Haven, Michigan in the morning, then spend the afternoon in the shade around Lost Lake in Muskegon State Park.

My first stop was the Hofma Nature Preserve, because there have been sedge wrens spotted there, and I need photos of them for the My Photo Life List project. The Hofma Nature Preserve is a small (100 acres or so) preserve just south of the city of Grand Haven. I heard the sedge wrens, along with marsh wrens, but despite my sitting near where one was singing as I baked in the sun for a couple of hours, I can’t say for sure that I ever saw one of the wrens.

The wrens stayed down in the vegetation, and while I did see flashes of brown in the area where I heard them singing, the brown flashes may have been swamp sparrows or other species of birds. I did shoot a few pictures of flowers and insects that will appear in a later post, but my only bird of the day was a swamp sparrow singing.

Swamp sparrow singing

Swamp sparrow singing

Because of the haze in the air, that photo isn’t as sharp as it should have been, so maybe it’s just as well that I never had a chance to photograph the wrens.

My second stop was the Kitchel-Lindquist Dunes Preserve, which is on the north shore of the Grand River where it flows into Lake Michigan. It’s another small preserve, but I thought that I’d get photos of purple martins there, and possibly other species as well.

It was cooler there when I parked my vehicle, the breeze, what little there was of it, coming off the cool waters of Lake Michigan felt good. But, I walked just a few hundred yards, gave up, and turned around. It was just too hot and steamy for me to trudge through the loose sand of sand dunes when the dunes blocked the breeze.

I saw the purple martins, but didn’t even try to photograph them, conditions were just too bad to expect that the images would have been good enough to use. I did shoot a barn swallow…

Barn swallow

Barn swallow

…and these plains puccoon….

Plains Puccoon, Lithospermum caroliniense

Plains Puccoon, Lithospermum caroliniense

 

Plains Puccoon, Lithospermum caroliniense

Plains Puccoon, Lithospermum caroliniense

I thought about shooting a few landscape shots of the beaches there, but conditions were too bad for them to have been any good.

I had planned on going to Lost Lake, but as I thought about it, I decided not to bother, as it was just too hot and steamy anywhere but right on the Lake Michigan beaches, and they were extremely crowded with all the other people escaping the heat. The haze from all the moisture in the air would have made any photos other than close-ups unusable anyway.

It wasn’t a wasted day though, I did find those two smaller preserves, and both are worth returning to when the weather is more suitable.  And, fighting the crowds in Grand Haven, I have decided not to fight the crowds over the Fourth of July weekend, I’ll stay closer to home, and avoid the traffic of a holiday weekend. There’s plenty of flowers to photograph around here, and a few birds as well.

So, the rest of this post will be of things that I saw this past week around here while I was walking, starting with the deer, turkey, and squirrel together as promised.

Whitetail doe, fawns, turkey, and fox squirrel

Whitetail doe, fawns, turkey, and fox squirrel

Mom was keeping an eye on me as she was chewing her cud, the fawns were wandering around looking for goodies to munch, as was the squirrel, while the turkey did some preening.

Whitetail doe, fawns, turkey, and fox squirrel

Whitetail doe, fawns, turkey, and fox squirrel

At one point, the turkey decided to stretch its wings, scaring the crap out of one of the fawns and the squirrel.

Whitetail doe, fawns, turkey, and fox squirrel

Whitetail doe, fawns, turkey, and fox squirrel

After that, mom kept an eye on the turkey as much as she did me.

Whitetail doe, fawns, turkey, and fox squirrel

Whitetail doe, fawns, turkey, and fox squirrel

Whitetail deer often give birth to twin fawns, when they do, they are most often one of each sex. I’m not positive, but this looks like a male to me, I’ll call him junior, and after the turkey scared him, he gave the turkey a nasty look…

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

…then, looked around for more goodies to munch.

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

Mom and sis kept a close eye on junior.

Whitetail doe and fawn

Whitetail doe and fawn

Then, mom decided it was time to head back into cover, with sis following close at her heels.

Whitetail doe and fawns

Whitetail doe and fawns

Junior had found something that must have tasted really good.

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

But, one soft bleat from mom, and he decided that minding mom was more important than food.

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

Next up are the photos of the blue jays. I spotted this one sitting on the fence.

Blue jay

Blue jay

The jay flew down to snatch an earthworm.

Blue jay in flight

Blue jay in flight

Then, struck a couple of poses for me.

Blue jay

Blue jay

Blue jay

Blue jay

The squeamish may want to look away as the next few photos show the jay eating the worm.

Blue jay

Blue jay

The worm fought back valiantly…

Blue jay

Blue jay

..but the worm was soon consumed.

Blue jay

Blue jay

My image of the blue jay flying may not have been good, but I did catch it hopping around while looking for more food.

Blue jay

Blue jay

The jay flew back up to the fence where it was joined by first one of its young…

Blue jays

Blue jays

…then a second offspring.

Blue jays

Blue jays

I was hoping to get photos of the jay feeding its young, but a passing jogger caused them to move back into the woods.

I hate to end this with bad photos, but I may as well use these up, a male Baltimore oriole in action.

Male Baltimore oriole

Male Baltimore oriole

The oriole spotted an insect on nearby vegetation, and hovered while plucking the bug.

Male Baltimore oriole in flight

Male Baltimore oriole in flight

Then, spotting an even better catch, the oriole strapped on the jet-pack….

Male Baltimore oriole in flight

Male Baltimore oriole in flight

…to catch a caterpillar before it could hide.

Male Baltimore oriole

Male Baltimore oriole

Oh what the heck, I’ll throw in two photos of a young cottontail rabbit to end this post. If I can’t end it with a great photo, I may as well end it with a cute one.

Young Cottontail rabbit

Young Cottontail rabbit

Young Cottontail rabbit

Young Cottontail rabbit

I still have a few photos left over, mostly flowers and insects, but I’m not sure how many of them will end up getting put into a post other than flowers I saw at the Hofma Preserve, since they are not flowers that I see everyday. The same is true of the insects, they are quite common, but I do have images of a damselfly trying to eat a mosquito, and I’m sure that I know who every one will be rooting for in that battle. 😉

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

 

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18 responses

  1. Jetpack–LOL! Love these family albums! Keep ’em coming!!!

    June 29, 2014 at 10:06 am

    • Thanks! I seem to usually catch birds in flight with their wings folded, how, I don’t know. I’ll keep the family shots coming until fall at least.

      June 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm

  2. Wonderful wild life pictures, you are so clever.

    June 29, 2014 at 10:48 am

    • Thank you Susan!

      June 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm

  3. I have also made a vow to not complain about the heat this summer, after the winter we had, so now I say I am merely “commenting” on it, not complaining! LOL

    Great series of the deer, fawns, turkey and squirrel. I really enjoyed it! And I had no idea that blue jays ate earth worms!

    Loved the last bunny pics. We have soooooooo many of them in our yard – they drive the beagles crazy! They are so cute!

    June 29, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    • Thanks Amy! I don’t know how it’s been on your side of the state, but we went from snow to 85 degrees in two weeks. The humidity has been even worse.

      I think that blue jays will eat anything that doesn’t eat them first.

      June 29, 2014 at 1:10 pm

  4. They say that your humidity will be here by Wednesday and I’m not looking forward to 70 degree dew points but, as you say, it beats snow.
    I like the shots of the deer and friends, and the eyes on that rabbit are amazing.

    June 29, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    • Oh no, it’s not my humidity! If I had any say, it would have been long gone. 😉

      You can remind me that I said this next winter, but I would take a light dusting of snow over 75 degree dewpoints any day, as long as the snow doesn’t get two feet deep or last for five months like it did last winter.

      June 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm

  5. I’m not so sure about your definition of a “bad photo”. I thought the action sequence of the oriole was marvelous!

    June 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    • Thank you! It was a gloomy day, so the lighting was bad. That meant that I had to shoot at high ISO settings, meaning lots of sensor noise and a slow shutter speed, so the shots are a bit blurry.

      June 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm

  6. Love the deer sequence and the cute pictures really were cute.

    June 29, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    • Thanks Tom! Everybody loves a bunny.

      June 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm

  7. I liked the photo of the hopping blue jay and the wildlife sequences are really great.

    June 30, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    • Thank you Clare!

      July 1, 2014 at 1:05 am

  8. OUTSTANDING series of the deer, fawns, turkey and squirrel. Priceless, especially mom giving the turkey the eye. That must have been magical for you there as it unfolded.

    July 1, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    • Thanks! I don’t want to sound jaded, but this wasn’t the first time that I witnessed something like that, deer turkeys, and squirrels are all very common in Michigan. Watching them interact is one of the ways that I learned how to act as if I were just another species of critter, and join the group to get close to them.

      As it was unfolding, I was more worried about having the proper lens(es) and getting the photos than anything else.

      July 2, 2014 at 1:10 am

  9. simply magnifique… your deer have reminded mre of these ones:
    http://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/shiretoko-national-park-hokkaido-japan/
    * * *
    glad to have come across your awesome blog via Michel Thomas… my very best, tons of inspiration and friendly greetings, cheers! 🙂 Mélanie

    July 3, 2014 at 3:54 am

    • Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment! I hope that you’ll enjoy future posts just as much.

      July 3, 2014 at 9:17 am