Saturday, May 24, 2014

Some scenes from northern Michigan

A beaver-assisted wetland in Presque Isle County, Michigan. Such wetlands are full of biodiversity, and quite common in this region.

I've been in northern Michigan for nearly ten days, most of it spent leading forays from the Nettie Bay Lodge. We've had lots of luck: huge warbler migrations, great experiences with secretive species such as American Bittern and rails, interesting porcupine encounters, and much more. My bird trip list is 175 species or thereabouts, so far.

Time for blogging has been sparse, as have good Internet connections. Sorry if you've messaged me in some way and I haven't responded. I'll try and catch up on that stuff soon.

Leatherleaf, Chamaedaphne calyculata. This elfin shrublet is a member of the heath family, and often forms vast stands in northern bogs. Such sites are often termed "Leatherleaf Bogs". The tiny white flowers are bell-shaped and important to various insect pollinators.

Gorgeous and impossibly diminutive, a pine elfin, Callophrys niphon, rests on warm sun-drenched sands in a jack pine forest. Kirtland's Warblers provided the background music.

An incredibly vivid patch of bird's-eye primrose, Primula mistassinica, fairly glows from a wet meadow along the shores of Lake Huron. This is a very early wildflower of spring, and would normally be past by now. But like much of the Midwest, spring is about two weeks behind up here, and the tardy season allowed us to enjoy such early harbingers of spring such as this primrose.

A Magnolia Warbler stares at your narrator. These striped lemon and black beauties have been plentiful, as have many others of the warbler clan. I've seen about 30 species and probably thousands of individuals. The warbler migrations in shoreline Lake Huron hotspots have been especially robust this year.

I'm rounding out the trip with a few days at the extreme northern tip of the lower peninsula, in the shadow of the mighty Mackinac Bridge. This feat of human engineering spans the Straits of Mackinac, linking Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. There are fantastic habitats in this area that support a wealth of flora and fauna, and we may add another day trip to this region next year.

We don't yet have the dates selected for next year's Nettie Bay trips, but it'll be sometime in late May, though. If you're potentially interested, feel free to contact me, or Nettie Bay Lodge to reserve space.  CLICK HERE for info about the lodge.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Wow-that Magnolia warbler is stunning!