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

The pleasure is all mine!

It’s finally full-blown spring here in West Michigan, there are flowers blooming…

Apple blossoms

Apple blossoms

…the trees are beginning to leaf out…

Maple leaves

Maple leaves

…and there are birds singing everywhere!

Male rose-breasted grosbeak singing

Male rose-breasted grosbeak singing

I don’t have very much time to work on this post, I’ve been stuck working much longer hours at work than I would like, and, I’m trying to get ready for my week up north.

It looks like the weather will be cool, with the temperature at night dropping down to near freezing the first few days. That’s okay though, it will keep the bugs at bay. The main thing is that next week looks relatively dry, with just one day of rain. I can handle that, in fact, I’ll enjoy it immensely!

I’m not going to leave until Monday, that way I’ll miss the snow and sleet in the forecast for this weekend, and I’ll be able to leisurely pack on Sunday, rather than trying to rush after having worked Saturday. I’ll probably start home next Sunday, which will give me Monday to unpack and do my laundry and other mundane tasks around home before returning to work.

By the way, the apple blossoms and leaves were shot around home here last Monday, the grosbeak was shot at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve last Sunday. Here are the photos that I also had left from Sunday. You may remember the photo of the baby bunny from my last post, I think that these next two photos are of its parents.

Adult cottontail rabbit 1

Adult cottontail rabbit 1

 

Adult cottontail rabbit 2

Adult cottontail rabbit 2

I saw this snail on a partially submerged log, and was hoping that a rail or other bird would find it a tasty lunchtime treat, but no luck there.

Snail

Snail

The Baltimore orioles are back!

Baltimore oriole

Baltimore oriole

Have I said how much I love the Canon 7D Mk II? I had been shooting the eastern phoebe from the last post, when I turned around to see this northern harrier being driven out of the area by red-winged blackbirds. By simply changing which rear auto-focus button I used, I was able to get a very good shot of the phoebe…

Eastern phoebe

Eastern phoebe

…and instantly switch settings to get this very good shot of the harrier, which has a full crop. It had obviously just eaten lunch and was looking for a spot where it could digest its meal in peace.

Northern harrier in flight

Northern harrier in flight

Once the hawk had passed, I went back to the portrait button to catch this cardinal that was trying to lay low while the hawk was in the area.

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

If I had known that this chipmunk was going to start running just as I pressed the shutter release, I could have gotten a better photo, they are very quick little critters.

Eastern chipmunk on the run

Eastern chipmunk on the run

Finally, the white crowned sparrows are passing through, here’s one munching on the seeds of a poplar tree.

White crowned sparrow eating poplar seeds

White crowned sparrow eating poplar seeds

Okay, now then, for the photos from around home on Monday.

Sumac leaves opening

Sumac leaves opening

 

Redbud flowers

Redbud flowers

These next flowers look to be in the viburnum family, but I’m not sure, the bush is in some one’s yard that I walk past on my way to the park.

Unidentified flowering object

Unidentified flowering object

The shagbark hickory leaves were just beginning to open, much like a flower, and every bit as beautiful.

Shagbark hickory leaves opening

Shagbark hickory leaves opening

I went for a short walk after work on Friday, and shot these next two.

Shagbark hickory leaves

Shagbark hickory leaves

 

Shagbark hickory leaves

Shagbark hickory leaves

The brightly colored leaves of the red osier dogwood bushes could be mistaken for flowers from a distance.

Red osier dogwood bushes

Red osier dogwood bushes

Standing close to these apple blossoms, I was able to take in their fresh, clean scent, one of the surest signs of spring to me.

Apple blossoms

Apple blossoms

In my last post, I noted that I had finally seen an adult male orchard oriole around home, when for the past three years all I had seen were females and juveniles. Well, here’s the male.

Adult male orchard oriole

Adult male orchard oriole

I also got to hear him singing, it’s a much different song than the Baltimore oriole’s song, much prettier.

Adult male orchard oriole singing

Adult male orchard oriole singing

 

Adult male orchard oriole

Adult male orchard oriole

Speaking of birds singing, here’s a goldfinch doing just that.

Male American goldfinch singing

Male American goldfinch singing

And, a male Baltimore oriole doing the same.

Male Baltimore oriole singing

Male Baltimore oriole singing

They must not fight over territories the way that some male birds do, for I saw two in the same tree, and prepared to catch the battle if it happened, it never did.

Male Baltimore orioles

Male Baltimore orioles

They circled each other at a distance, occasionally singing, but there was no battle.

As I was working to get that poor photo, one of our resident hawks flew overhead.

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

I didn’t make it to Aman Park for the trillium this spring, nor did I fight the crowds for the Tulip Time festival in Holland, Michigan. I did find one tulip in the park though.

One lonely tulip

One lonely tulip

And on Friday, I shot these two of another lone tulip.

Lone red tulip

Lone red tulip

 

Lone red tulip

Lone red tulip

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this vacation next week! I keep interrupting my work on this post to check out places to go and things to see. One of the things that I’d like to do is bring my kayak and paddle the Alpena Nature Sanctuary. The Thunder Bay River flows through it, and there are marshes and islands spread out in the 500 acre lake formed by a dam on the river. I remember wishing I had my kayak with me when I visited the park on the edge of the sanctuary, and I also remember seeing and photographing several new to me species of birds there. They even have a path marked by buoys through the marshes and the channels between islands for people who are directionally challenged.

The weather forecast is looking good, after this weekend. My work schedule will play to my advantage for a change. They’re going to have lake enhanced snow showers this weekend, with it beginning to warm up on Monday. I have to work on Saturday, I’ll pack on Sunday afternoon, then head up on Monday. There’s only one day when rain is forecast, but the temperatures should be pleasantly cool, with some sunshine for all the other days. If I get really lucky, there will be a calm day when I can also paddle along the Lake Huron shore from my campsite down around the point where I saw many eagles and shorebirds, but couldn’t get to on foot.

I have some other plans, but not to the extent that I usually do. This vacation is going to be about relaxing, and getting my legs back in shape. I’m going to spend more time in the campground, and less time zipping from place to place trying to see everything that there is to see. For now though, I had better get back to the photos.

Six spotted tiger beetle

Six spotted tiger beetle

 

Lilac

Lilac

I have no idea what this next flower is, other than very pretty. For the first time, I noticed it growing along the road, and the plant looks like it is a vine.

Unidentified flowering object

Unidentified flowering object

I’d say from both the flowers and the leaves that this is a wild strawberry, but I could be wrong.

Wild strawberry?

Wild strawberry?

I have no idea what this is.

Another unidentified flowering object

Another unidentified flowering object

 

Wild geranium

Wild geranium

 

Wood anemones?

Wood anemones?

 

Flowering crab 1

Flowering crab 1

 

Flowering crab 2

Flowering crab 2

 

Flowering crab 3

Flowering crab 3

 

Speedwell?

Speedwell?

Well, that’s it, I have stuff to do in the next two days so that I’ll be ready to leave on Monday!

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

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33 responses

  1. Jerry, you have here a very impressive collection of photos of birds, animals, flowers, insects. I admire your skills and your determination to go to the spots where you can photograph them. Good luck on your upcoming trip, and have fun.

    May 13, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    • Thank you very much! I just love being outdoors, I would be even if I didn’t bring a camera with me.

      May 13, 2016 at 11:26 pm

  2. I am glad Spring has finally arrived there, too.
    Have a safe trip!

    May 13, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    • Thank you very much Cornell!

      May 13, 2016 at 11:26 pm

  3. Glad to see spring has arrived just in time for your vacation!

    May 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    • Thank you very much Bob! I guess that it’s spring, but with snow in the forecast, it’s hard to tell. πŸ˜‰

      May 13, 2016 at 11:27 pm

  4. Beautiful photos, full of colours. Spring has sprung!

    May 13, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    • Thank you very much! I love spring, my favorite time of the year.

      May 13, 2016 at 11:27 pm

  5. Jerry, this sure was a feel-good, Spring Is Here kind of post. Your shots of the shagbark hickory leaves unfurling are very sexy – it’s a great combination of colors and shapes. I wasn’t aware that these even existed in Michigan, since I’ve only seen them in more southern states.

    Snow! Even if it’s only some kind of goofy Lake effect thing, it’s still pretty nasty to think about on May.

    Have a great vacation. When camping, I would ALWAYS choose cold over bugs!

    May 13, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    • Thank you very much Judy! Yes, we have shagbark hickory in Michigan, but you may have to look to find it in all the other trees. πŸ˜‰ After this weekend, the forecast is for a slow warm up next week, no bugs, no sweating! Then it gets hot, just when I get back home, sounds good to me.

      May 13, 2016 at 11:30 pm

  6. Beautiful shots, after a long winter all the more welcome!

    May 13, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    • Thank you very much Belinda! You’re not kidding, this winter was mild, but it stretched out an extra month, so spring is very welcome this year!

      May 13, 2016 at 11:31 pm

  7. All the flowers bloom in the spring and they are all gone in about 20 days and that is so sad.

    May 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    • Thank you very much Carl! You’re right, some flowers are gone all too soon, but there will be others to replace them!

      May 13, 2016 at 11:32 pm

  8. Gosh I guess our cold wet weather set us back more than I thought, because spring there is way ahead of spring here. I haven’t seen lilacs, apples, or shagbark hickory yet.
    Those white flowers do look like wood anemones and the small yellow flowers on a branch look like they might be spicebush (Lindera benzoin,) but I’m not positive. The small striped blue flower is speedwell but I can’t say which one. I think the single white flower might be wild strawberry and the white flower head is definitely some type of viburnum, but I can’t say which one.
    The shots of the crabapple blossoms are excellent and so are the red osiers.
    I hope you have a great time on your vacation and can bring back plenty of photos!

    May 13, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! Thanks to your blog, and the database in Lightroom that lets me record what flowers that I see, I’m getting a little better at identifying some of them. πŸ˜‰ It’s too bad that spring has been delayed there even more than it has been here, I think that it’s about to change though. I hope that you’re able to get out and enjoy it when it happens!

      May 14, 2016 at 12:16 am

  9. Have fun on your vacation and I hope the snow this weekend doesn’t last long.
    I love all the colourful birds you managed to photograph for this post.

    May 13, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare! The snow will be gone before I get to where I’m going, and the weather from then on looks very good. If things go as planned, I should bring back many different colorful warbler photos, one of my main reasons for going when and where I am.

      May 13, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      • I look forward to that! Have a great time.

        May 14, 2016 at 5:08 pm

  10. Anonymous

    The last flower is indeed a speedwell.

    May 13, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      May 13, 2016 at 11:50 pm

  11. Nenkinseikatsu

    The last flower is a speedwell.

    May 13, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      May 13, 2016 at 11:50 pm

  12. awesome all

    May 13, 2016 at 11:27 pm

  13. I love looking at nature through your eyes and your camera lens. Thanks for the rabbit and the chipmunk too.

    May 14, 2016 at 5:08 am

    • Thank you very much Susan! It was very kind of you to say that.

      May 14, 2016 at 11:46 am

  14. Your beautiful birds are as colourful as your spring flowers- Spring has definitely arrived! Wonderful photos of them all. Happy Holidays!

    May 14, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    • Thank you very much! You’re right, spring has definitely arrived, and I’m enjoying it as much as I can.

      May 14, 2016 at 4:36 pm

  15. The photos are beautiful, Jerry, all of them! Your weather looks to be about 3 weeks to a month behind ours in the Cascade foothills at about 800 ft. Apple, plum, cherry and pear blossoms have long gone and many small fruits are growing. The blueberries should start turning color in a couple of weeks.

    May 14, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia! You’re so lucky to live in an area where spring comes earlier than here.

      May 15, 2016 at 4:37 am

  16. Nice to see spring busting out in your neck of the woods. Have a great vacation. Can’t wait to see what you come back with.

    May 14, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    • Thank you very much Gunta! This time, it won’t matter what I come back with, my plans are to relax and enjoy a week away from work.

      May 15, 2016 at 4:36 am

      • I like that plan very much!

        May 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm