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

If only I had known

The forecast was for clear skies, and as I left my apartment yesterday before dawn, I didn’t see a cloud blocking any of the stars. I had slept in later than has been my regular routine, as my shift at work is changing starting this evening. For at least the next few months, I’ll be starting work at 5 PM, rather than 2 AM, so that means there will be fewer sunrise photos here for a while, but there may be sunsets at times. It wasn’t until I was approaching the Muskegon County wastewater facility, and the first light of dawn was breaking to the east, that I saw that there were a few clouds to the east to produce this kind of sunrise.

The first light of the day

The first light of the day

I zoomed in a little, hoping that you’d be able to see the numerous ducks that have arrived as they head south for the winter, but that didn’t work.

There's hundreds of ducks there, honestly

There are hundreds of ducks there, honestly

Those two were shot towards the north end of the storage lagoon, near where the wastewater is treated, and if I had included anything along the edge of the lagoon to create a leading line, it would have been of the equipment and machinery, not great subjects for a photo. So, even with the light constantly changing, I decided that I had to get to a better spot from which to capture the glorious light show that was unfolding before my eyes.

Sunrise over the lagoon

Sunrise over the lagoon

I could resist doing a cloudscape or two, but I’ll only include one.

Cloudscape

Cloudscape

If I had known that there would be that type of sunrise, I would have gone to Grand Haven, and climbed the stairs to shoot the sunrise from the North Ottawa Dunes Nature Preserve, rather than the same old same old.

However, things went very well going to the wastewater facility to start the day, I got two more lifers as far as species of birds, a female blackpoll warbler…

Female blackpoll warbler

Female blackpoll warbler

 

Female blackpoll warbler

Female blackpoll warbler

…and sanderlings.

Sanderling

Sanderling

 

Sanderlings

Sanderlings

 

Sanderling

Sanderling

I also found a couple of other species that I don’t often see, so here are two of my snapshots of them.

Wilson's snipe

Wilson’s snipe

 

Juvenile black-bellied plover

Juvenile black-bellied plover

Neither of those birds would move to let me get better shots of them, sorry about that, you’ll have to forward any complaints to the birds for not being more cooperative.

I’m getting ahead of myself, back when I was shooting the cloudscapes at sunrise, I also shot these.

Flying duck at dawn

Flying duck at dawn

 

Flying ducks at dawn

Flying ducks at dawn

 

Northern shoveler at dawn

Northern shoveler at dawn

 

Geese flying into the sunrise

Geese flying into the sunrise

It’s too bad that the geese don’t show up in that photo in its small size here in my blog.

Northern shoveler in the pink light of dawn

Northern shoveler in the pink light of dawn

It was soon light enough to try to get a good photo of one of the hundreds of killdeer there while they were flying.

Killdeer in flight

Killdeer in flight

One thing led to another…

Killdeer landing

Killdeer landing

…and I became obsessed with the killdeer and their reflections on the water…

Killdeer and rocks

Killdeer and rocks

…there were plenty of opportunities for me to play…

Killdeer flock in flight

Killdeer flock in flight

…too bad I can’t control the bird’s actions 😉 …

Killdeer flock in flight

Killdeer flock in flight

…and I liked how three birds became one, but their reflection gave them away.

Killdeer flock in flight

Killdeer flock in flight

As many killdeer as were there, there were even more starlings.

Starlings in flight

Starlings in flight

I paused shooting flying birds for a second to shoot this…

Dew on grass seeds

Dew on grass seeds

…but then I just had to shoot one more killdeer testing the water.

Killdeer testing the water

Killdeer testing the water

The American pipits have arrived as they journey to their winter home.

American pipit

American pipit

 

American pipit

American pipit

I like this next photo, even though I did everything wrong, and knew that I was doing so when I shot it.

Spotted sandpiper on the rocks

Spotted sandpiper on the rocks

I also tried to find a way to show you how many swallows were there, as some were perched on the power lines as others came and went.

A few of the thousands of swallows seen

A few of the thousands of swallows seen

A few hundred of the thousands of ruddy ducks that will stop at the wastewater facility this fall have arrived, here’s a male…

Male ruddy duck

Male ruddy duck

….and a female.

Female ruddy duck

Female ruddy duck

Just for the heck of it, here’s a blue-winged teal.

Blue-winged teal

Blue-winged teal

Some one liked the earlier photos of dew covered spider webs that I posted, so I spent a little time shooting a few more of them.

Dew covered spider web

Dew covered spider web

 

Dew covered spider web

Dew covered spider web

I was also able to test the 300 mm lens with the doubler behind it out on a great blue heron.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

I also put that same combination to use for a few photos of a Cooper’s hawk…

Cooper's hawk

Cooper’s hawk

 

Cooper's hawk

Cooper’s hawk

…being harassed by a murder of crows…

American crow

American crow

 

American crow

American crow

 

American crow

American crow

None of those were cropped, which would normally be a good thing, however the shortcoming of it is that I wasn’t able to get any of the action shots as the crows would dive bomb the hawk, or the hawk retaliating towards the crows.

I did get a shot of the hawk looking at me to ask if it didn’t have enough trouble with the crows, and did I really need to be bothering it too?

Cooper's hawk

Cooper’s hawk

Well, I suppose that’s enough of another big batch of snapshots that I’ve posted, so it’s time to wrap this one up.

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

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30 responses

  1. Brilliant post! Congratulations on the two lifers! The colour of the sky and it’s reflection in the water was unbelievable and the kildeer shots were extremely good.

    September 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare! I’ll miss the sunrises working my new schedule, but the good news is that I’ll be photographing other things instead for a while.

      September 23, 2015 at 9:54 am

      • Hope your new schedule goes well.

        September 23, 2015 at 4:52 pm

  2. I loved the spotted sandpiper on the rocks even if you didn’t think you shot it correctly and the dawn skies were a wonder to behold.

    September 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    • Thank you very much Susan! We’re so lucky to live in a world that puts on displays like that sunrise, it makes life worth living.

      September 23, 2015 at 9:56 am

  3. Great shots. Hard to pick a favorite. Can’t figure out what you thought you did wrong with the spotted sandpiper on the rocks. I thought it was a wonderful shot.

    September 22, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    • Thank you very much Gunta! What I did wrong with the sandpiper I’ll explain in the next post.

      September 23, 2015 at 9:57 am

  4. Beautiful collection of photographs. Your photography has really improved. Great captures.

    September 22, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    • Thank you very much Ingrid!

      September 23, 2015 at 9:57 am

  5. The shots of the sunrise are really beautiful. I wish I’d see some like that here-maybe we have them and I just don’t see them.
    I like that chubby little warbler too. It looks like sweet, cheery bird.
    I also like the spider’s web shots. I’ve never had anything like that on my blog because that’s another thing I never see here. It seems odd that I don’t.
    Nice shots of the crows too!

    September 22, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    • Thanks Allen! You can see why I’ve always enjoyed sunrises, my favorite time of the day. Thinking about your comment, maybe the sunrises are so good at Muskegon because it is at the west side of a large flat plain, with no hills (or mountains) to the east to affect the sunlight as the sun approaches the horizon. Now that I have the female blackpoll warbler, I need a male, they look similar to a chickadee, with a black cap. It may be geography that’s the reason that you don’t see the dew covered spider webs in New Hampshire, there’s more than ample moisture in Michigan for nature to work with to create dew on most mornings here.

      September 23, 2015 at 10:04 am

  6. selah

    that sunrise is amazing, as is the variety of birds you are able to shoot..

    September 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    • Thank you very much Selah!

      September 23, 2015 at 10:04 am

  7. Splendid set of sunrises. I look forward to your sunsets.

    September 22, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    • Thanks Tom! I doubt if my sunset photos will be as good, as it’s usually windier here towards sunset than at sunrise, so there won’t be bodies of glass smooth water to reflect the colors at sunset.

      September 23, 2015 at 10:06 am

      • That’s a pity.

        September 23, 2015 at 7:13 pm

  8. Enjoyed the sunrise

    September 22, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      September 23, 2015 at 10:06 am

  9. The sunrises are beautiful Jerry, and I’m sure the sunsets you will be seeing more of will be gorgeous as well. Yes, those colorful moments don’t often last very long and one has to be waiting to catch them. I like the killdeer flying over water and their reflections giving them away as two birds. All great photos, Jerry. What a beautiful place you live in!

    September 22, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia! One great thing about photography, you can store your memories forever.

      September 23, 2015 at 10:08 am

  10. Nenkin Seikatsu

    Wonderful photos of the sunrise!

    September 22, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      September 23, 2015 at 10:08 am

  11. Stunning sunrises, Jerry, and a most impressive collection overall. It may “only” be a wastewater facility but there is so much more wildlife and beautiful scenery there than many of the wetlands I go to! I think we should rename it so it doesn’t have a stigma attached. Jerry’s Sanctuary? Feather Lake? There is a place here which is a decommissioned power station and the man-made lakes around it are just starting to attract more birdlife. It is wonderful to see such an area be a habitat for critters. I hope your body can get used to the change of shift quickly. I think I would find those hours very difficult to cope with. I’m looking forward to some sunsets though if you get a chance to capture some. I hope you stay safe on those roads.

    September 23, 2015 at 7:23 am

    • Thank you very much Jane! The Muskegon County wastewater facility was one of the first in this country to be built to use nature to purify the water. It was also built on a relatively small part of state owned land originally set aside for hunting. Therefore, in order to build the facility where it is, Muskegon County had to agree to take extra steps to make the facility as wildlife friendly as they could, and they’ve done a spectacular job of it. Nature is a wondrous thing, leave it undisturbed for even a few years, and it will begin taking back what man took from it in the first place.

      September 23, 2015 at 10:17 am

  12. Spectacular album, you have some really spectacular images. Love the eclectic subjects you chose for your shots.

    September 24, 2015 at 1:15 am

    • Thank you very much Charlie! Just a typical weekend day for me.

      September 24, 2015 at 3:51 am

  13. Your photos are always beautiful and works of art, Jerry, even though they may not capture all what your eyes perceive. Mind’s Eye always makes the most perfect shots, as long as we can hang onto the memories. The photographer helps keep those memories alive. Thank you for sharing the very beautiful place in which you live.

    September 29, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia. I must lead a more memorable life than I thought, as I often come home with 5 to 700 memories. 😉

      September 30, 2015 at 2:49 pm

  14. Your camera lens sure does love that morning light, Jerry.

    I think it was me who liked your spider web photos previously, and these two are beauties. Especially like the second one.

    Two more lifers is impressive for one morning’s work. You must be getting to the point where you’re not going to stumble across new ones, but will have to go hunt them down.

    Lastly, happy to see shorebirds again, especially the Wilson’s snipe.

    Fun post.

    September 30, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    • Thank you very much Judy! One of these days, I’ll have to spend an hour or so shooting spider webs there at Muskegon, there are acres of them.

      I will have to hunt a few down eventually, but as long as I continue to go places where the birds congregate during migration, I’ll stumble on quite a few more yet. I still have almost 100 species to go.

      October 1, 2015 at 3:10 am