Day two of my vacation
Warning! There’s no way that I can stay under my self-imposed limit for photos in one post although I will try to keep them as short as I can. If I included all the photos that I would like, I’d be blogging about my vacation until July.
As early as I went to bed the night before, I thought that I’d be up well before sunrise, but that wasn’t the case. When I woke up and looked out of my tent, I could see that the sun was about ready to rise, and that it was quite chilly out there.
One thing about being near the Great Lakes, you learn a lot about microclimates in a hurry. When I checked the thermometer in my almost brand new pretty blue Subaru, it read 33 degrees (1 C), but that was still much warmer than it was a few miles inland away from the relatively warm water of Lake Huron, which was about 40 degrees (4.4 C) while I was up there. There was a hard freeze inland. Conversely, during the warmth of the afternoon, a breeze off from the lake felt chilly, so I was constantly adding or removing layers of clothing depending on how close to Lake Huron I was, and which way the wind was blowing at the time.
Anyway, I got dressed, fired up the camp stove to brew coffee, then set-up to shoot the sunrise.
But, I liked this close up better…
…as well as the early morning sunlight streaming through the pines in my campsite.
As I drank my coffee, I waited for the flocks of warblers to pass through my campsite as they had in previous years, but that didn’t happen this year. So, I decided to walk down to the point where I had seen so many birds in previous years. Along the way, I shot this blue-headed vireo…
…and this black-throated green warbler…
…as well as another song sparrow.
Down at the point, the only shorebird that I found was this killdeer…
…but the common terns kept me amused as one tried to steal a fish from another…
…I think that the one on the stump was teasing the other…
…which let the one on the stump know that it didn’t like to be teased.
The common terns gave me lots of practice shooting birds in flight over the course of the week!
What I really needed was practice shooting smaller birds that don’t stay in any one spot for very long, like the warblers. That was especially true when I was using the 300 mm L series lens with the 1.4 X tele-converter behind it, I was missing more birds than what I managed to get good photos of. I can’t tell you how many times there were when the camera and lens finally focused, on a branch bouncing around because the bird that had been there had moved on.
It wasn’t just the warblers, but they were the worst. Here’s a short video to show you how things normally go for me.
I think that sums it up quite well!
I could go on at length about the advantages and disadvantages on my lenses, but I won’t. I’ll only say that over the week, I used the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) when I thought that I’d be chasing small birds in good light, and that I used the 300 mm lens and tele-converter when I thought that I’d be shooting birds in flight or in low light. The Beast may not produce the best images, but it has a nose for birds and can find and focus on them much more quickly than my other set-up.
Here are the birds that I got on my second pass through the campground.
I then decided to drive to Isaacson Bay on the other side of Alpena. Things have changed a lot there also, what used to be acres of mudflats for shorebirds are now underwater, with the bay coming right up to the road in many places. Still, I found plenty to photograph there, starting with these flowers that I thought were bluets, but now I’m not sure.
There was a pair of sandhill cranes there, but they had the sun behind them, so I’m only going to post one photo of one of them.
I found a large number of the threatened dwarf lake iris…
But before I could try for a better photo of them, I got sidetracked by a bumblebee feeding on the nectar of bearberry flowers (Thanks Allen!)…
…at one point, the bumblebee fell off from the flowers…
…but recovered to return to feeding once more.
I remembered to shoot two more photos of the dwarf lake iris.
The dwarf lake iris only grow in a few places around the Great Lakes, which is why they are a threatened species of flower.
Then, I returned to my vehicle and grabbed the Beast to shoot a few more warblers.
Since they’re so colorful and I rarely see them, I think a few more photos of them would be a good thing.
Did I say that there were American redstarts everywhere?
When a turkey vulture flew over, I tried using the settings that I use with the 300 mm lens on the Beast, it worked quite well.
All those (and many, many more) were shot as I walked along the road that runs next to Isaacson Bay.
It was now mid-afternoon, so I decided to check out Island Park in Alpena, which is part of the Alpena Nature Sanctuary. The first thing that I noticed is that they have built a new covered bridge to use to get to the island.
I found the black terns, but they kept their distance, so this photo isn’t that good.
I was also surprised to see a deer crossing the river in town in the middle of the day.
There were tree swallows everywhere.
I meant to note which tree these catkins grew from, but I’ve forgotten already.
This male? chickadee was guarding a hollow tree…
…while the female? gathered moss to line a nest she was building in the hollow tree.
It’s been a while since I posted any photos of mallards.
That was it for Island Park on that day, I grabbed dinner in town, then returned to the campground to walk it off.
I started by shooting a couple of photos of the swamps in or near the campground.
I think you can see why I think that the skeeters would be bad in the summer there.
This was the evening that I saw the least weasel.
She jumped down off from the log, and I thought that she was gone. No, she popped back up in another spot…
…and struck a few poses for me…
…it was then that I decided that I should turn the camera to portrait orientation, but as soon as I moved, she was off again. For the next ten to fifteen minutes, we played a game where she would stick her head out someplace along the log, but as soon as she heard the IS and auto-focus of the camera whirling…
She was off before the shutter could fire and catch her standing still. I have a dozen photos like that last one, she was quick, as quick as any critter I’ve ever seen! I wondered later if the way she acted, appearing in the open for a second or two, was to keep me from finding her young which may have been nearby?
The three remaining photos from the day seem anti-climatic, but too good not to post.
With hardly a cloud in the sky, I doubted if the sunset that evening would be worth photographing, and with the temperature plummeting, I turned in early that night as well.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!