Skip to main content

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.


Sue said…
Wow-that Magnolia warbler is stunning!

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Snowy owl photography tactics - and things NOT to do

A gorgeous juvenile female snowy owl briefly catches your narrator with its piercing gaze. It's doing its Linda Blair/Exorcist trick - twisting its head 180 degrees to look straight behind. Owls have 14 neck vertebrae - double our number - which allows them such flexibility.

These visitors from the high arctic have irrupted big time into Ohio and adjacent regions, with new birds coming to light nearly every day. Probably 80 or so have thus far been reported in the state, and some of them have stuck around favored spots and become local celebrities.

I went to visit one of these birds this morning - the animal above, which was found last Friday by Doug Overacker and Julie Karlson at C.J. Brown Reservoir near Springfield. In the four days since its discovery, many people have visited as is nearly always the case when one of these white wonders appears near a large population center or is otherwise very accessible.

And as is always the case, people want to photograph the owls. And th…