Posted on September 12, 2022
August brings quiet to nature in northern Michigan. The song and movement of birds in the nearby brush or forest canopy is less. At times not much seems to be stirring. But later, as we paddle a lake framed in lily pads, a faithful kingfisher proves us wrong as it continues about its business noisily taking flite from a nearby shore.
King birds, a constant menace to emerging dragonflies in June, are seldom seen now. Insects, particularly mosquitoes, are also not as common, and along with them the warblers that they attract.
It is a time of year that one is often treated to views of young life.
Stopping for a moment in the quiet of the season draws one into the magic of the north woods.
During the short nights of June one can often hear the haunting call of a loon. In late August, with its longer cooler nights, the voice of an owl or the howl of a coyote can be heard, but only occasional is it accompanied by a loon.
Gliding silently over “glass” we are drawn into wondering, what will be seen ahead?
Flowers appear in late summer, like the beautiful Grass of Parnassus growing at water’s edge. Further along the wooded shore, if one looks closely, Bottle Gentian may also quietly announce its presence.
It seems that the more time one spends in the woods the more one feels it’s embrace.
With the sights, sounds, and fragrance of flowers and trees, being in nature on foot or in a canoe more profoundly unites us with something greater. As we breathe deeply, and muscles work to embrace the challenge of the place, we are taken deeper into that reality. Perhaps we can only truly arrive at such a place using the resources within.
Sometimes one is sure one knows what something is. A closer examination of the below dragonflies teaches that one must look closely. They are each unique.
While hiking we’ve learned to be on the lookout for fungi. They often pop up when least expected and often cheerfully announce their presence next to the trail. Others, with distant foreboding, peer out from the darkness of the dense woods and speak of mystery.
Whether in the canoe, on the trail, or sitting quietly at one’s campsite, nature speaks through the reality of the moment. It is constantly changing, responding to light that silhouettes then illuminates, wind that sculpts the water’s blank surface or plays in leaves high overhead then leaves them still, then with little warning, the sound of distant thunder is heard, and the faint whisper of light rain grows ever louder. In those moments, if we allow it, change will occur within. If we are lucky, we’ll never be the same.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Au Sable River, canoeing, Central Ohio Nature, Michigan, Michigan State Parks, Rifle River Recreation Area, Wildflowers Tagged: Autumn Meadowhawk, Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Bolete, Bottle Gentian, Calico Aster, Cardinal Flower, Common Loon, Crown-tipped Coral Fungus, Grass-of-Parnassus, Jewelweed, Red-winged Blackbird, Turtlehead, Water Lily, White-faced Meadowhawk, Wood Duck, Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Posted on April 11, 2022
So far this spring it’s been colder than normal and rainy. Migrating birds and the resident wildflowers that would have enchanted us in the first week of April continue to be illusive.
A couple of days ago we returned from a local metro park with just the barest of photographic evidence that spring is actually here. Today, as I write this, snowflakes can be seen outside the window fortunately disappearing on contact with the ground.
But despite the disappointments in the field something that we’ve not previously experienced was taking place much closer to home. From time to time during spring migration our very urban front yard has been a stopover for some fairly exotic migrants that stay at most an hour or two before moving on. However, recently we observed a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker foraging for food in our Sweetgum tree and it continued to do so for four consecutive days and counting! This male bird seemed to spend the whole day in the tree because just about any time we looked out there it was. Where it spent the night, we cannot say. We were astounded!
Why the bird hung around for such a long period of time we cannot say. Perhaps its normal behavior and just something we’ve never experienced. The mystery remains.
One evening while we watched the sapsucker, a little higher up in the same tree another bird caught our eye. It was in the middle of dinner!
Sometimes after paying our dues with long hikes though the seemingly barren early spring woods nature comes to us. Go figure.
In nature it would seem that there is always a lot more going on than we know.
Thanks for stopping by.
Posted on December 17, 2020
Opening the door this time of year and venturing out into nature isn’t something most of us feel compelled to do. The landscape certainly doesn’t perk one’s curiosity. The wildlife that may be seen, which includes birds for the most part, have often migrated further south.
However, with it’s lack of leaf cover, the landscape offers one good reason to pass through the door and see what’s still in the neighborhood or what may have moved in from further north. With their endearing behavior and colors that are often a cheerful contrast to their surroundings, birds are a welcome part of the December woods.
In recent days some really special birds have graced us with their presence.
Perhaps the most noteworthy was a immature Snowy Owl that had travelled from the north country to hang out in central Ohio. They typically eat voles, lemmings, and other small rodents as well as birds so a shortage of such goodies further north is undoubtedly the reason for the visit. Seeing one this close to Columbus is rare.
Time spent in nature seldom disappoints. The observant eye will always find something that inspires and rewards. One only needs to open the door.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir Park Tagged: American Cardinal, American Kestrel, Brown Creeper, Bufflehead, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, Great Blue Heron, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red-tailed Hawk, Snowy Owl, Song Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch, White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Posted on July 14, 2019
It’s that time of year again when we travel 6.5 hours north from our home in central Ohio to the Rifle River Recreation Area. Usually we enjoy checking out different areas for new adventures but this park’s unique beauty keeps us coming back. Whether paddling on the park lakes or hiking the trails there is always something to discover. From one week to the next different wildflowers can be seen. Spring warbler activity is complimented by the evening call of a Whippoorwill or Barred Owl and there’s always the distant call of a loon on Devoe Lake.
(click on images for a closer look)
This year’s late June visit meant that in addition to increased warbler activity we’d also see blooming lady slippers and pitcher plants. Of course there would also be more mosquitoes to deal with and they’re always particularly pesky when one crouches down to study a flower or take a photograph.
My wife was nice enough to contribute the bulk of the pictures for this post as much of my time was spent fishing. However, to start the post off on a curious note I did notice something interesting one afternoon while hiking.
When my wife wasn’t hiking and I wasn’t trying to catch a fish we did a fair amount of exploring by canoe.
One day as we drove back to our campsite after a morning paddle we came upon an unusual discovery in the middle of the road.
However, perhaps the most unusual thing seen during our week long stay was the bird spotted while hiking along Weir Road.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t give special mention to the Ovenbirds and Yellowbellied Sapsuckers that entertained us each day at our campsite.
While on the subject of birds, while hiking a park trail my wife was excited to see a Black Billed Cuckoo. It was a life bird for her.
Finally, below is a summary of other things seen as we explored the park trails.
As each day passes nature evolves. A wishful thought would be to spend one week each month in a place such as Rifle River Rec Area. Then one would truly appreciate it’s wonder. Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Au Sable River, Central Ohio Nature, Michigan, Michigan State Parks, Nature Photography, Paddling and Nature Photography, Rifle River Recreation Area, Wildflowers Tagged: American Redstart, American Robin, American White Water Lily, Black Billed Cuckoo, Black Shouldered Spinyleg, Blanding's Turtle, Bunch Berry, Cedar Waxwing, Chaulk-fronted Corporal Dragonfly, Common Loon, Coral Fungus, Dead Man's Fingers, Delaware Skipper, Dot-tailed Whiteface, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Eastern Wood Pewee, Elfin Skimmer, Four-Spotted Skimmer, Green Heron, Hawkweed, Indian Pipe, King Bird, Large Mouth Bass, Little Wood Satyr, mink, Ovenbird, Painted Turtle, Pitcher Plant, Red-spotted Purple, River Jewelwing, Sheep Laurel, Showy Lady's Slipper, Spotted Thyris Moth, Trumpeter Swan, Walleye, White-breasted Nuthatch, Wild Columbine, Wild Geranium, Wood Frog, Yellow Goats Beard, Yellow Lady's Slipper, Yellow Pond Lilly, Yellow-bellied sapsucker
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