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

From Pickerel Lake, before the 7D Mk II

I haven’t had much time to post lately, or even time to get out and shoot a few photos.  It’s a Friday evening, after I worked 60 hours this week, including another overnight run. So, I still don’t have much time.

What I’m going to do is just post the photos from a hike that I did a few weeks ago around the Pickerel Lake Nature Preserve, and from two wetland areas that I stopped at closer to home that same day. Just photos for the most part, with few words.

Moss?

Moss?

Moss?

Moss?

Moss and lichens

Moss and lichens

The spore bearing parts of a moss

The spore bearing parts of a moss

The spore bearing parts of a moss

The spore bearing parts of a moss

Pussy willow

Pussy willow

Pie-billed grebe

Pie-billed grebe

Pie-billed grebe

Pie-billed grebe

Male mallard in flight

Male mallard in flight

Male mallard in flight

Male mallard in flight

Tree swallow

Tree swallow

Male northern flicker displaying for a female

Male northern flicker displaying for a female

My luck with wood ducks had been getting better, I actually got a few good photos of one recently. However, things reverted back to normal for this one.

Male wood duck

Male wood duck

As I was trying to get into position to get a better shot of it, I spooked its mate, which was checking out possible nesting sites, and when she took off, so did he.

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Red-winged blackbird

Red-winged blackbird

Canada goose

Canada goose

Moss?

Moss?

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

Fox sparrow hiding

Fox sparrow hiding

Here’s a series of photos of a downy woodpecker finding and eating its lunch.

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker finding food

Downy woodpecker licking its lips

Downy woodpecker licking its lips

I played peek-a-boo with a grey squirrel for a while. It decided not to come out any more with the big bad photographer hanging around.

Grey squirrel hiding

Grey squirrel hiding

Song sparrow

Song sparrow

You can see that it had become overcast while I was walking around Pickerel Lake. Almost as soon as I started home, the sun came out. So, I stopped at a wetland area just a few miles from home, where a couple of species of rare birds had been seen earlier that week. I didn’t see any of the rare birds, but there were these two sandhill cranes with the Canada geese there.

Sandhill cranes and geese

Sandhill cranes and geese

My next stop was another wetlands area, not far from the first. I was quite surprised to walk up on a another pair of cranes, these photos weren’t cropped at all, I was that close to the cranes. However, you can see how well that the cranes blend in with the vegetation.

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill crane

Sandhill crane

I spooked a small wading bird, and as it flew off, this heron followed, my first great blue heron of the spring, and I got just a few poor photos of it.

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

The same holds true for the first kingfisher of the spring, a bad photo of it.

Belted kingfisher in flight

Belted kingfisher in flight

I did better with the ducks and geese.

Mallards in flight

Mallards in flight

Mallards and one male northern shoveler in flight

Mallards and one male northern shoveler in flight

Canada goose in flight

Canada goose in flight

Any one who has tried to photograph small birds in the brush will be able to relate to this next series. With a small flock of golden-crowned kinglets near me, I picked a spot to stand where I thought that I had the best chance of getting a good, clear shot of one of the kinglets.

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Most of the time, this happened. By the time I got the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) swung around to get one of the kinglets in the viewfinder, it was already on its way to its next perch.

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Or, hiding behind the branches.

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

Golden-crowned kinglet being difficult

I finally chased one until it had to take a short break to rest up, but then, I was shooting almost straight up at it. Not really, I just lucked out, almost, it’s hard to tell which species this is from this view. But, I’ll take it.

Golden-crowned kinglet tired out from avoiding the camera

Golden-crowned kinglet tired out from avoiding the camera

Ducks are much easier.

Ring-necked ducks

Ring-necked ducks

Ring-necked ducks in flight

Ring-necked ducks in flight

Male mallard in flight

Male mallard in flight

And finally, a newly remodeled barn, just because.

A really red barn

A really red barn

All of the photos in this post were shot with the Canon 60D bodies I have had for a while now, and various lenses, mostly the Beast and the Tokina 100 mm macro lens. As you are probably aware of, I have since purchased a Canon 7D Mk II camera, and I have a few photos from it from when I’ve had a chance to get out. I will say that the 7D produces slightly better images than the 60D, but not by much, as this was from one of the 60D bodies.

Daffodil

Daffodil

It seems like everything was coming together at the same time, that all my practicing and testing was beginning to pay off. I’m getting better photos than ever from the 60D bodies…

Hepatica

Hepatica

…and adding the capabilities of the 7D Mk II is like icing on the cake.

Black-capped chickadee with a pine seed

Black-capped chickadee with a pine seed

I still have too many photos saved for one more post, I have more from around home, plus many from another trip to Muskegon to share when I get the chance.

Right now, I’m going to eat breakfast, then head to Muskegon to see what I can find there.

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

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20 responses

  1. Hi Jerry,
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful collection after working such long hours. I’m sure your readers appreciate the visual treats and knowing you are are still alive. Those roads can be crazy dangerous. 🙂
    Loved the close-ups of the moss, lichens and whatever those little plants may be. I wish I knew more about identifying them. I’m really fond of these things and recently spent about an hour just photographing lichen at an old graveyard! Also liked seeing the pussy willow which we don’t have here.
    The sandhill cranes would be extremely hard to see if they didn’t have those little red bits on their heads. The rest of the bird certainly blends in! Great that you could get so close to them.
    Had to laugh at you tiring out the kinglet. I tried to photograph a swallowtail butterfly that was flapping about laying eggs on stalks today using that technique but it tired me out way before I could get a good shot!
    Our barns don’t look that shape and certainly are rarely that colour. Looks more like a mansion!
    I hope you enjoy your time off.

    April 25, 2015 at 6:40 am

    • Thank you very much Jane! Yes, I’m still alive and kicking, despite the long work hours.

      I can’t identify any mosses or lichens other than British soldier lichens, only because they’re different than most lichens. But, I still love seeing them, even if I can’t ID them.

      I think that I got so close to the cranes because they thought that I wouldn’t be able to see them, sure fooled them, didn’t I?

      Sometimes I have the patience to outlast the smaller birds, but not always. My arms get tired throwing the heavy camera and end around.

      That barn is a typical shape here, but the owners just put metal siding and roofing on it, rather than trying to repair the old wood material that was rotting away.

      April 25, 2015 at 8:13 pm

  2. Enjoyed your shots of the moss and lichen. Great capture of the Tree Swallow.

    April 25, 2015 at 6:45 am

    • Thank you very much Bob!

      April 25, 2015 at 8:13 pm

  3. Thanks for the downy woodpecker sequence. Love the shots you manage to get of all the birds and critters enjoying a meal.

    I usually don’t care too much for squirrels, but have to admit that the hiding squirrel is terrific. It should keep your squirrel fans off your back for another week or so.

    Hope work eases us a bit as the weather gets nicer.

    April 25, 2015 at 7:45 am

    • Thank you Judy! The secret is that it’s easier to photograph wildlife while eating, it keeps them busy while I sneak a little closer. 😉

      I love squirrels as photo subjects, each one has its own personality, like mallards do.

      I wouldn’t be working quite as much, but I just bought a new computer and camera, that left my bank account a little low. 😉

      April 25, 2015 at 8:17 pm

  4. I like that shot of the red winged blackbird and the squirrel is too cute.
    Yes, all of those are mosses. You’ve got quite a selection there.
    I saw a downy woodpecker the other day that let me take all the shots I wanted as long as I stayed just out of the range of my lens. If I stepped closer he’d fly just far enough away to be out of range so I was thinking he’d probably read the manual for my camera.
    Nice shot of the hepatica. That’s a flower that I’ve searched for many years for and haven’t found yet.
    I hope you have some luck with the birds today.

    April 25, 2015 at 8:22 am

    • Thanks Allen, on several counts. I had no idea that there were so many different mosses until I began following your blog. I have no idea what they are, but they’re interesting, and I love places where mosses grow.

      I think that all birds now the exact range of all cameras and lenses on the market, they all do a good job of staying just out of range.

      I’ve started taking the UV filter off from the macro lens when I use it, the images seem much sharper than with the filter.

      I had some luck with birds, but the weather wasn’t the greatest, maybe tomorrow I’ll do mostly flowers.

      April 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm

  5. Those are mosses, and beautiful photos, all of them. There is a good book on them, “Forests of Lilliput; The Realm of Mosses and Lichens” by John Hardesty

    April 25, 2015 at 11:13 am

    • Thank you Lavinia! I should pick up several books, like the one that you mentioned. I don’t have time to read them at home, but I do while sitting at loading docks waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

      April 25, 2015 at 8:24 pm

  6. So many beautiful pictures, my favourites the Mallard in flight and the Downy Woodpecker series.

    April 25, 2015 at 11:30 am

    • Thank you very much Susan!

      April 25, 2015 at 8:25 pm

  7. Lovely to see your sandhill cranes. How lucky you are to see them so close to where you are.

    April 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    • Thanks Gunta! It is great to live in an area where it’s common to hear them flying over my apartment on occasion.

      April 25, 2015 at 8:32 pm

  8. TPJ

    Thanks for taking me along on the trip.

    April 25, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    • Thanks, and you’re welcome!

      April 25, 2015 at 8:32 pm

  9. I loved the shy squirrel and the chickadee shots were very good too.

    April 25, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    • Thanks Tom! There’s more of both coming to a post near you soon. 😉

      April 25, 2015 at 8:33 pm

  10. Loved all the macros, especially the pussy willow which is my perennial favorite and such short lived it’s hard to find for me. I’m always thrilled when I have that one time per spring when I see the soft catkins!

    April 26, 2015 at 9:03 am

    • Thank you very much Amy! Pussy willows were one of my mom’s favorites as well, I worked extra hard to get that one right.

      April 26, 2015 at 5:10 pm