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

It’s the most wonderful time of the year Part II!

Every bit of free time that I get, I’ve been out shooting more photos, putting me even farther behind in my postings. By a quirk of the calendar, I had three days off for Memorial Day, and shot close to 1,000 photos in those three days. That’s easy to do with the 7D Mk II, even shooting in low-speed burst mode, when there are lots of flying birds around. I’ve been fine tuning my settings, and while I still have a way to go yet, whether I shoot one bird at a time…

Male mallard in flight

Male mallard in flight

…or flocks of medium size birds….

Rock doves (pigeons) in flight

Rock doves (pigeons) in flight

…or small birds in  a flock…

Dunlin in flight

Dunlin in flight

…large single birds….

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

…or single small birds…

Purple martin in flight

Purple martin in flight

…the 7D has a setting to get them all.

The purple martin reminds me of another reason that I’ve been out as much as possible, it’s spring, and spring is the best time of year for birding. The purple martins were a photo life list lifer for me, as were all of the following birds.

Black-billed cuckoo

Black-billed cuckoo

Northern bobwhite quail

Northern bobwhite quail

Brewer's blackbird

Brewer’s blackbird

Common tern in flight

Common tern in flight

Grasshopper sparrow

Grasshopper sparrow

Northern rough-winged swallow

Northern rough-winged swallow

Male orchard oriole

Male orchard oriole

Vesper sparrow

Vesper sparrow

That’s nine more species that I’ve gotten photos of, and there may be one or two that I’m forgetting as I type this. Not a bad spring, since I was over 200 species to start with, and there’s still some time left.

Then, there’s the flowers, new one almost every day it seems.

Redbuds in the rain

Redbuds in the rain

Bradford pear? in the rain

Bradford pear? in the rain

Crabapple

Crabapple

Crabapple

Crabapple

That was a HDR image, even by tweaking in Lightroom, I couldn’t get a shot that looked that good. Which reminds me, I’ve been playing with more HDR images, just to learn the software better.

HDR landscape

HDR landscape

Pickerel Lake in HDR

Pickerel Lake in HDR

Pickerel Lake in HDR

Pickerel Lake in HDR

Nothing special, but I am improving the final images over what the camera could produce in one shot.

More new life is appearing.

Canada goose and goslings

Canada goose and goslings

Whitetail deer and fawn

Whitetail deer and fawn

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

The fawn was so young that it could barely walk, so I didn’t press to get a better shot, mom was having a fit as it was.

I’ve been getting better photos of some old favorites.

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Green heron

Green heron

Eastern phoebe

Eastern phoebe

Killdeer on her nest

Killdeer on her nest

Sora eating a snail

Sora eating a snail

And, there’s often humorous things that I find to shoot.

Raccoon, just hanging out

Raccoon, just hanging out

Raccoon, just hanging out

Raccoon, just hanging out

Red-winged blackbird "hawk surfing"

Red-winged blackbird “hawk surfing”

Oh, and there’s always new flowers!

Lupine

Lupine

Lots of lupine

Lots of lupine

 

May apple

May apple

May apple

May apple

Iris

Iris

Iris

Iris

Even the insects are beginning to appear.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

You know that it’s spring in west Michigan when all the ice is finally off the Great Lakes, and the lighthouses!

Grand Haven lighthouse at sunrise

Grand Haven lighthouse at sunrise

After my last (very) lengthy post, I decided to do just photos for the most part for this one, I doubt if any one will mind. 😉

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

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50 responses

  1. Great post Great photos.

    May 27, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    • Thank you Victor!

      May 28, 2015 at 12:01 am

  2. Love the May Apple flower! Not an easy one to get.

    May 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    • Thanks Bob! Actually, that May apple was easy to get, it was growing on top of a bank and out in the open.

      May 28, 2015 at 12:02 am

  3. Those are great shots of the birds and that does look like a Bradford pear. The smell would have been a giveaway because Bradford pear flowers really reek!
    I wonder if that raccoon had been stealing bird eggs. He had a guilty look on his face.
    Your lupines are far ahead of ours. I haven’t seen a single one yet.
    Excellent shots of the dragonfly and monarch butterfly!

    May 27, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    • Thank you Allen! It’s difficult to smell some of the flowers what with all the honeysuckle blooming around here, it overpowers just about everything else.

      I doubt if anything had been using that nesting box, it’s the wrong size and type for where it’s located, but a raccoon would steal any eggs if they were there. I think that the coon was looking for a dry place to rest for a while.

      I haven’t seen many dragonflies yet this year, so I was surprised to see the monarch this early.

      May 28, 2015 at 12:10 am

  4. As long as the pictures are this good, I don’t mind the lack of words too much.

    May 27, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    • Thank you very much Tom!

      May 28, 2015 at 12:02 am

  5. Great post!!!, and I never saw something like a “Red-winged blackbird ‘hawk surfing'”.
    Cheers,
    Michel 🙂

    May 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    • Thank you Michel! The red-winged blackbirds are fearless when attacking predators.

      May 28, 2015 at 12:03 am

  6. TPJ

    I can see you like your new mkII. Nice photos, thanks.

    May 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    • Thank you very much! I love the auto-focusing of the 7D Mk II, but it does have a few downsides, like battery life.

      May 28, 2015 at 12:04 am

      • TPJ

        I noticed the battery life also. Changing focus points could have been easier too. Final shots are great!

        May 28, 2015 at 7:17 am

      • Thank you very much! I could go an entire week without charging the battery of my 60D, I’m pushing it going two days with the 7D. I said the same thing about changing the focus points, but I’ll eventually make use of the custom settings to have my most used auto-focus settings available quickly.

        May 28, 2015 at 4:30 pm

  7. Wonderful photos!

    May 27, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      May 28, 2015 at 12:05 am

  8. The Northern rough-winged swallow is simply too cute! The raccoon cracked me up! Actually, I loved all the photos! (and luckily had very little time to be doing much reading.)

    May 27, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    • Thank you Gunta! I had a few extra hours off from work, so I just slapped this post together using some of my better shots of late.

      May 28, 2015 at 12:06 am

  9. Wow! So many beautiful shots of birds and other critters I never see here. Springtime is so wonderful there. Looks like you’re turning into an insect whisperer too, Jerry. 😉 Now that I’ve seen what your spring is like I can see why you found the extra long winter challenging. There is so much colour and abundant life in your spring. There is really not much difference in my landscape when spring arrives here. You would appreciate the change of season much more in Michigan. The wildflowers are magnificent. Loved the lighthouse shot.

    May 28, 2015 at 3:09 am

    • Thank you Jane! I think that it’s because of our long cold winters that spring seems so magnificent here! I’m not really an insect whisperer, I have a long lens that focus close, although I have some dragonfly photos coming that may prove you’re right on that count.

      May 28, 2015 at 4:26 pm

  10. An absolute feast of wonderful images my favourite being the great blue heron in flight, what a majestic sight.

    May 28, 2015 at 3:47 am

    • Thank you Susan! I’m just getting started with the flying birds, hopefully there’ll be more herons soon.

      May 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm

  11. Wow, wow, wow! So many awesome photos here and how exciting for you to get so many species in a weekend!! (I’ll try not to be jealous!)

    So funny that you would post a photo of a black-billed cuckoo! Mark was reading one of the field guides over the weekend and realized that we should be able to see them. We both found that fact incredible as neither one of us thought that would be a northern species! Now that you have shot one, I will have to keep a more vigilante watch!!

    So sweet to see the fawn. I had hoped to spot one up north, but we didn’t see any at all. (Actually, we didn’t see many deer, so maybe they were all back in with their newborns.)

    May 28, 2015 at 7:33 am

    • Thank you Amy! You have to remember, I was a very good hunter back in my youth, and I use those skills to hunt down birds with the camera these days.
      Yes, you should be able to find a cuckoo, if not up north, then around home. I found “mine” in a tree along side the road that runs past my apartment complex.

      The does are just starting to give birth around here now, I have some photos of an obviously pregnant doe from last week, and a fawn this week.

      May 28, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      • You are NOT going to believe this, but when I got home tonight from taking the dogs to the groomer, Mark was mowing the lawn. He got off the lawn mower and came over and told me he found a dead bird in the front yard that had been hit by a car and that he had no idea what it was, he had never seen this kind of bird before. He went and got the carcass and brought it over and I said “IT’S A CUCKOO!!” Sure enough, we looked it up in our field guide and it was a yellow-billed cuckoo. And I can’t even put it on my list because it was dead!! So sad that it got hit by a car! 😦 It is just so freaky that we see one after having the discussion this weekend and then me seeing your photo! Weird how things happen like that. But now I know they ARE around here!

        May 28, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      • I’m sorry to hear that the cuckoo was killed, but it’s great that you know that they are around now. If there was one of them, there’s sure to be more.

        May 29, 2015 at 12:04 am

  12. Wonderful batch of photos. The one that really struck me was the rock doves in flight. There was such a huge variety of color! Thinking that you probably didn’t notice that until you looked at your image. Also loved the fawn and the goslings. What? No puppy??

    May 28, 2015 at 7:54 am

    • Thank you Judy! Actually, their color is what prompted me to start shooting, the photo I included was my favorite, because the flock lined up almost perfectly with the shape of the clouds in the background. I would love to photograph dogs, but their owners would think that I was a pervert if I did.

      May 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      • We’d love a good photo of Jezzy sometime. Maybe we can exchange a great dinner for a photo?

        May 28, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      • I’d take photos of your dog for nothing, I’m not much of an eater.

        May 29, 2015 at 12:03 am

  13. Wow, beautiful photos, thank you for sharing.

    May 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    • Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment!

      May 28, 2015 at 4:36 pm

  14. Beyond inspiring. Sheer pleasure. Thank you!

    May 28, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    • Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment!

      May 28, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      • My pleasure. Superb blog.

        May 28, 2015 at 4:41 pm

  15. Nenkin Seikatsu

    I want to believe that the blackbird had simply discovered a more energy efficient method for traveling long distances.

    May 29, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    • Thank you for the comment, and the chuckle! The blackbirds are very territorial and attack any and every large bird that comes close to their nest.

      May 30, 2015 at 12:12 am

      • Nenkin Seikatsu

        I didn’t know they were so aggressive.

        May 31, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      • Red-winged blackbirds will attack almost anything that enters their territory, any raptor, crows, whitetail deer, and even humans.

        June 1, 2015 at 5:16 am

  16. Absolutely beautiful! An excellent post Jerry! Congratulations on all the lifers too.

    May 29, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare!

      May 30, 2015 at 12:13 am

      • My pleasure!

        May 30, 2015 at 9:18 am

  17. Love the Hawk Surfing Red Wing Blackbird the most!

    May 30, 2015 at 10:43 am

    • Thank you very much Babsje!

      May 30, 2015 at 5:43 pm

  18. Delightful photo gallery, thanks so much.

    May 30, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    • Thank you Jet!

      May 30, 2015 at 5:43 pm

  19. Great pictures !!!!!

    May 31, 2015 at 1:44 am

    • Thank you Nancy!

      June 1, 2015 at 5:14 am

  20. Love that hawk surfer! We’ve seen a bunch of those guys around here lately, too!!! PS, that last pic may be the best–gorgeous!

    June 3, 2015 at 6:53 am

    • Thank you Lori! It’s remarkable how photogenic lighthouses are.

      June 3, 2015 at 4:42 pm