Saturday, May 18, 2013

Northern Michigan

A massive fen buffers a wild portion of the Lake Huron shoreline in Michigan's Presque Isle County. Once again, I am up in the northeast corner of the Lower Peninsula, in one of the state's most diverse counties and enjoying myself immensely. This is my fourth year up here, leading trips in collaboration with NettieBay Lodge.

Like everywhere else, spring is late to arrive, but that means that we've caught the peak of some early bloomers, such as this stunning Bird's-eye Primrose, Primula mistassinica. This diminutive wildflower grows in cold calcareous gravels of the Lake Huron shoreline, in association with other interesting flora.

The birds have been beyond fabulous, and I've seen nearly 140 species since my arrival last Wednesday. There'll be plenty more to come, too. Today, our group caught a fabulous group of migrant warblers; at one point six species shared the crown of a Red Pine, creating a scene right out of a plate from a field guide.

Above, one of Lake Nettie's resident loons rotates its eggs. She, as you can see, is not immune to the various midges and other insects that are part of the North Woods package. These loons are worth the price of admission alone. They know us - or at least Mark and Jackie, the lodge's owners - and we can boat out to their nesting island without causing any disturbance. Their tameness towards us permits fabulous photo ops, and I'll hope to share more loon pics later.

More pics and stories to follow, as time allows.

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