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

Ready or not, it’s coming!

Fall that is, I’m seeing more signs every day that summer is winding down and is about ready to give way to fall. It’s been a wonderful summer so far, no real heat waves, we haven’t even made 90 degrees (32 C) at all this year, although we’ve come close a few times. We’ve been in a weather pattern with great, but warm weekends, the cold fronts have come through on Mondays or Tuesdays, which have resulted in cool, pleasant conditions during the work week. We could use some rain, but overall, I have no complaints with the weather.

As summer is winding down, the fall bird migration is picking up in intensity. I’ve seen fewer summer resident species with each passing week for the past month, and from the birding reports, more of the species that spend the summer north of here are being spotted as they work their way south.

Every week, new flowers are blooming, and a few leaves are even beginning to change color, so while it’s quieter around here without the songs of the birds, it is getting more colorful to the eye.

Unidentified sunflowers

Unidentified sunflowers

Unidentified sunflower

Unidentified sunflower

I think that I have done a good job of not going crazy and getting as close to things as I can with the Tokina macro lens so far, that may change.

Unidentified sunflower

Unidentified sunflower

Unidentified sunflower

Unidentified sunflower

I purposely stayed farther away from these flowers to show the leaves of the plants the flowers are on.

Unidentified ground cover

Unidentified ground cover

It’s quite remarkable, almost every time I point the Tokina at flowers, I see insects that I didn’t see with the naked eye.

Swamp milkweed and spider

Swamp milkweed and spider

I’m not sure what that was, it seems to have too many legs to be even a spider, which aren’t technically insects, even though most of us lump them in with insects. I tried for a better shot, but the bug was better at hiding than most birds are.

Swamp milkweed and spider

Swamp milkweed and spider

Looking for an excuse to use my new 10-18 mm lens, I shot this.

Maple tree

Maple tree

That lens is everything that it’s cracked up to be, maybe more! Being all plastic, it feels like a toy, but it’s as sharp as a tack. I was sitting on the ground less than ten feet (3 M) from the trunk of the tree in that photo and was able to get the entire tree in the frame, I even had to zoom in a little. Really surprising is how well it works as a near macro lens. In a future post, I’ll have close-up photos of a teasel flower taken with that lens. Oh what the heck, I’ll throw them in now even though it will make this post longer than I intended.

Teasel flower

Teasel flower

Teasel flower

Teasel flower

The only complaint that I have with the 10-18 mm lens is that even with the aperture wide open, as it was in the last photo, the depth of field is too great. 😉 Oh, and for the record, both of those images were cropped, but not as much as you may think. Like I said, it surprised me just how well that lens performs close-up!

The next few were shot with one of three lenses, the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm), 300 mm prime, or the Tokina 100 mm macro lens.

Fall abstract

Fall abstract

Seal all

Seal all

Unidentified pink flowers

Unidentified pink flowers

Orange jewelweed

Orange jewelweed

Don't know but should

Don’t know but should

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Queen Anne’s lace

Fall abstract 2

Fall abstract 2

Queen Anne's lace

Queen Anne’s lace

Goldenrod

Goldenrod

Boneset

Boneset

Cardinal flowers

Cardinal flowers

Cardinal flowers

Cardinal flowers

It sure is nice to have right lens for the job! That’s especially true for the birds, and there are a few left around here.

Adult and juvenile cedar waxwing

Adult and juvenile cedar waxwing

Juvenile cedar waxwing

Juvenile cedar waxwing

While the juvenile waxwing looks like an adult, I had no trouble identifying it as a juvenile by the way it was begging its parents for food.

Here’s a short series of a juvenile downy woodpecker finding food for itself.

Juvenile downy woodpecker looking for lunch

Juvenile downy woodpecker looking for lunch

Juvenile downy woodpecker finding lunch

Juvenile downy woodpecker finding lunch

Juvenile downy woodpecker finding lunch

Juvenile downy woodpecker finding lunch

Juvenile downy woodpecker

Juvenile downy woodpecker

Next up, a pair of a pair of mourning doves.

Mourning doves

Mourning doves

Mourning doves

Mourning doves

The barn swallows are still around to amuse me.

IMG_7667

Barn swallow yoga

And for me to amuse them.

IMG_7672

Barn swallows keeping an eye on me

The cardinals stick around all year, so I shouldn’t be posting these now, but what the heck.

IMG_7700

Female northern cardinal

IMG_7926

Female northern cardinal

IMG_7715

Male northern cardinal

IMG_7931

Female northern cardinal

This little song sparrow was following me around and talking to me.

IMG_7701

Song sparrow

We had a pleasant conversation.

IMG_7702

Song sparrow

The sparrow was wondering what I was doing.

IMG_7705

Song sparrow

I tried to explain what photographs are, I’m not sure that the sparrow quite grasped what I was telling it.

IMG_7707

Song sparrow

I interrupted this robin’s preening session.

IMG_7932

American robin

And finally, one more cardinal.

IMG_7943

Male northern cardinal

Well, that’s all I have to say for this one. Tomorrow, I’ll be going to Muskegon to attempt to track down some migrating birds, especially shorebirds. I goofed on some of my identifications in the posts I’ve done so far, and/or mixed up the photos as I saved them to folders to be saved until I posted them.

Some one was kind enough to let me know, so I hope to be able to get the correct photos soon. I goofed on the ID of the stilt sandpiper, although it’s been so long ago that I’m not sure what happened. My post on Baird’s sandpipers has photos of semipalmated sandpipers, but I have a folder of photos labeled as that species, however the photos in the folder are of Baird’s sandpipers. I think that as I was trying to sort and saved the photos from a day when I shot almost 500 photos, that I sent the wrong photos to the folders that I had set-up. I’ll get it fixed soon.

In the meantime, that’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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26 responses

  1. I was at Bombay Hook NWR today, and was noticing the transition in the seasons also. LOTS of shorebirds with fall plumage. Even saw a lot of Monarch Butterflies – that was a real gift. Looks like you’re having fun with your lens. Gorgeous flower shots!

    August 9, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    • Thanks Judy! The bird reports that I see for west Michigan say the same thing, the shorebirds are here in numbers. It’s that time of year, they go by so quickly now. 😉

      August 9, 2014 at 11:52 pm

  2. I loved the maple tree and the fall abstract shows what an artist you are.

    August 10, 2014 at 3:48 am

    • Thanks Susan! I’m not the artist, God or nature, whichever you prefer, is the artist. I just shoot photos of the artwork that I see as I go.

      August 10, 2014 at 8:33 am

  3. I think that first unidentified yellow flower might be a golden eye (Heliomeris). There are several different ones, so I’m not sure which one it is. Possibly showy golden eye.
    The second one looks like moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia). I’m not sure about that little pink one, but it’s a beauty.
    I thought you’d be out shooting landscapes with that wide angle lens, not macros!
    I love seeing the fall colors but wish they wouldn’t get here quite so quickly.
    I like the shots of the woodpecker on mullein. Was he confused or just eating the seeds?

    August 10, 2014 at 8:19 am

    • Thank you Allen! You were right about the moneywort, I was able to look that one up. I tried looking up the golden eye, but I need to increase my vocabulary before I can understand what the heck the person who wrote that article I looked at was talking about. 😦 I took several years of biology in school, why do scientists feel the need to make up new words all the time? 😉

      That 10-18 mm lens is quite the piece of glass! It will be great for landscapes when I get somewhere that there are landscapes worth shooting, but that lens also focuses down to around 8 inches. With the huge depth of field that comes with a lens so short, it makes it great for close ups of larger subjects like flowers, patches of lichens, and probably mushrooms as well. I need to try that last one out, but I’m sure that it will work well. Somehow, the engineers at Canon designed all the distortion that you normally get with an ultra-wide angle lens out of that lens, so things look normal. I was actually a little disappointed about that at first, I was going for the fisheye lens look, but can’t get it, the lens is too good.

      The woodpecker was pulling grubs out of the mullein, I should have cropped one of the photos down so people could have seen the grub better.

      August 10, 2014 at 9:08 am

      • Those big words that scientists use mean a lot to another scientist, but I try to keep as many as I can out of my blog.
        I’d like to try that lens on landscapes too. Someday, maybe.

        August 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

  4. The flower shots are lovely as are the abstract photos too. I liked the song sparrow sequence – such a nice expression on its face!

    August 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

    • Thank you Clare! The sparrow was too cute not to use several photos of it.

      August 10, 2014 at 11:14 pm

  5. That certainly looks like a really useful lens.

    August 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    • Thanks Tom! I’ve never had a lens that wide before, it’s going to be fun learning what it can do.

      August 10, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      • I have got one on Pocketcam and it certainly opens up possibilities.

        August 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm

  6. I think your blog explains why the birds suddenly disappeared from my yard this week.

    August 10, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    • Thank you! It’s that time of the year, some birds have already started south, others are assembling in large flocks to begin their journey.

      August 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm

  7. I’ve been away far too long – there are some really nice flower macros here, and I’m always happy to see a photo of a Cedar Waxwing.

    August 10, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    • Thank you! Nice to have you back!

      August 10, 2014 at 11:23 pm

  8. Great, GREAT flower and bird photos here!! Those cardinal flowers — STUNNING!!! And I loved the sparrow sequence and the cardinals and the swallows. I’ve seen some swallows recently but they didn’t sit still long enough for photographs!

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Queen Ann’s lace with that pink ting around the borders. That’s really pretty. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that.

    August 10, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    • Thanks Amy! I have a difficult time with flowers that bloom in groups of flowers as the cardinal flowers do, I hope to do better when the flowers toward the top of the plant open. Of the thousands of Queen Anne’s lace that I see blooming right now, only one plant is producing the pink tinged flowers, so they must be rare.

      August 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm

  9. I got a chuckle out of your conversation with the sparrow. No wonder you get such great bird shots. You know their language! Some of our leaves here are turning brown instead of the normal colors. I’m wondering if it’s because of the drought.

    August 11, 2014 at 3:01 am

    • Thanks! Now you know my secret. 😉 We had a bad (for Michigan) drought here a few years back, and the leaves did go straight to brown on many trees that year, sorry.

      August 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

  10. Lovely photos! Methinks the new lens is doing well, and the photographer too, of course.

    August 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

    • Thank you Cynthia!

      August 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

  11. Oh man, if fall is right around the corner, that means winter is not (gulp!) far behind! Didya have to mention that already!!! Great pix, btw. Love those cedar waxwings!!!

    August 12, 2014 at 4:00 am

    • Thank you Lori! Try as we may, we can’t change the changing of the seasons! 😉

      August 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm

  12. Always love your floral captures. Can’t believe summer is heading towards the end. At least we’ve got migration season starting for us.

    August 12, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    • Thank you! Try as we may, we can’ change the changing of the seasons!

      August 13, 2014 at 2:36 am