Posted on August 19, 2017
Last week we spent a few days in Michigan in the Rifle River Recreation Area not far from the town of West Branch on the northeast side of the lower peninsula. With a number of excellent hiking trails, and lakes that don’t allow motors, it’s an excellent place for nature viewing. The lack of boat generated wakes on Devoe Lake means that Loons nest there. To the best of our knowledge it’s the closest location from central Ohio where nesting Loons can be seen. There are also Bald Eagles, Osprey as well as other birds to enjoy. When out exploring one is also treated to dragonflies and butterflies, as well as a number wildflowers not seen in central Ohio. Not far from the park is the AuSable River and the adjacent National Forest create even more opportunities for paddling and outdoor adventure.
We could spend hours watching loons. A quiet paddle on Devoe Lake allows one to observe them as they go about their day.
A view from the canoe.
Bald Eagles are sometimes seen flying overhead as we observe the loons with their young. If they get too close the adult loons create quite a commotion!
Other birds of prey also frequent the area.
Early morning solitude near our campsite.
Most birds were seen from the canoe as we made our way along the shoreline of Devoe and Grebe Lakes, as well as Loud Pond on the Au Sable River.
While hiking, especially this time of year, birds usually give way to the wildflowers and interesting types of fungus.
Dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies were seen as we enjoyed the wildflowers included one butterfly not typically seen in central Ohio.
A sense of place.
Shall we go for a hike or paddle? The decision is often made based on the weather conditions. Wind and choppy water make canoe photography with long lenses almost impossible. However, should conditions permit we’re usually not disappointed be the flowers seen as we paddle!
Sometimes when hiking you don’t have to look real close to be overwhelmed by the beauty.
No post would be complete without touching on some of the reptiles and amphibians seen. Seeing the skink was a surprise.
While fishing along the Au Sable River upstream of Loud Pond, a Mink is sighted!
We spend a lot of time looking and exploring but sometimes there’s a lot to be said for just being there.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this very incomplete sample of things that can be seen and experienced in the Rifle River Recreation Area.
The beauty is, the more time spent in nature the more you will see, the more you see the more you will want to understand and soon you’ll be carried away by the wonder and magic of it all.
As always thanks for stopping by!
Should you wish, prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Michigan, Michigan State Parks, Paddling and Nature Photography, Rifle River Recreation Area Tagged: American Copper, American White Water Lily, Appalachian Brown, Bad-wing Moths, Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, Belted Kingfisher, Broad-leaved Arrowhead, bullfrog, Burr Reed, Canada Darner, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm, Canon 80D Sigma 150-600mm lens, Cardinal Flower, Caspian Tern, Common Loon, Common Wood Nymph, Coral Fungus, Crab Spider, Doll's Eyes, Dragon Hunter, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Five-lined Skink, Foam Flower, Fringed Loosestrife, Garter Snake, Grass-of-Parnassus, Great Spangled Fritillary, Green Heron, Hawkweed, Indian Pipe, Katydid, Kingbird, Knapweed, Meadow Sweet, mink, Monarch Butterfly, Ontario Lobelia, Osprey, Painted Turtle, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 100-400mm, Pelecinid Wasp, Pickerel Weed, Picture Plant, Red-spotted Purple, Robber Fly, Ruby Meadowhawk, Small Mouth Bass, Spotted Sandpiper, Spotted Spreadwing, St John's Wort, Swamp Smartweed, Trumpeter Swan, Turtlehead, Vesper Bluet, Virgin's Bower, Water Shield, Wood Frog, Yellow Pond Lilly
Posted on August 21, 2016
Every summer for the last number of years in the company of friends I’ve made a fishing pilgrimage to the Rifle River Recreation Area in Michigan. On this year’s trip, like most recently, many fish were caught and released. Only six hours north of our home in central Ohio, it’s a special place where nesting Loons can be seen. While paddling it’s not uncommon to have one surface nearby or to see other wildlife not far away. The Loons are unique in their nesting requirements and are certainly there because no motors are allowed on any of the lakes in the park. If you want to fish, or just explore, it must be under your own power.
Areas of the country that are privileged to have four seasons, unfold like a flower in spring and summer only to experience a fiery death during the shorter, colder, red, and yellow days of fall. Devoe Lake is such a place, where the beauty of spring and summer is not ours for long, where for a brief time under blue skys and puffy white clouds one witnesses the sights and sounds of birds, insects, and wildflowers as life is celebrated. A place where a quiet observer may see a Loon attentively feeding her young as dragonflies, or even a Bald Eagle, fly overhead and where a Kingbird and Green Heron may be seen perched in a tree at waters edge while somewhere further down the lake the raucous call of a Kingfisher is heard.
Return just a few months later and this unique beauty will be gone. No wildflowers will grace the shoreline of the lake. Rain, whether falling quietly or pounding to accompaniment of lightning and the sound of thunder, will have given way to the silence of the seasons first snow. At night the call of the Eastern Whip-poor-will will not be heard. The lake’s blue surface will not dance to the beat of an ever changing breeze and Painted Turtles will not cruise the clear depths below your canoe. It will be quiet except for the wind as it moves through now bare branches. The sky will more often be gray and the water now solid, unmoving, and partially covered in white, will reflect it’s color.
No matter the season Devoe Lake gives of it’s beauty sparingly and then takes it away leaving one to wait restlessly for another year. The fleeting days of summer are no exception.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, kayak fishing, Michigan, Michigan State Parks, nature writing, photography, Rifle River Recreation Area, Wildflowers Tagged: Bald Eagle, Bluegill, Common Loon, Devoe Lake, Eastern Kingbird, Grass-of-Parnassus, Green Heron, Hornbeck Canoe, Large Mouth Bass, Red-spotted Purple
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