Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Northern Michigan, in a few random photos

As I've done for the past seven or eight years, I'm at NettieBay Lodge in northern Michigan's Presque Isle County. From this serene spot on the shores of Lake Nettie, we embark on natural history tours throughout the area's diverse landscapes. From dry jack pine plains reverberating with the songs of Kirtland's warblers to the cool shorelines of Lake Huron, we see a ton of interesting stuff.

I've been scouting since Monday afternoon, prior to the arrival of our first group this afternoon, and found a lot. Following are a few photos in utterly random order from the scouting forays.

We'll decide the dates of next year's NettieBay excursions soon, but they be in late May and there'll probably be two trips. Each one will be a half-day on either end, and two full days between. That's time to cover a lot of ground and see many, many things. For info about NettieBay, info about our trips, and contact info if you'd like to reserve a spot, GO HERE.

An extroverted mourning warbler poses nicely on a stump. He was singing from exposed perches right before my eyes for about 20 minutes, and was still doing so when I left. I found about six territorial males today in the Pigeon River Country State Wildlife Area. Mournings are pretty common there. So are golden-winged warblers. I found about eight singing males today.

A black-banded orange moth, Epelis truncataria, poses briefly on Grayling sands. These pretty little day-flyers are especially abundant this year in Kirtland's warbler country; the vast jack pine plains of Michigan's northern lower peninsula.

Doobie the lodge cat trots over to see your narrator. She is an especially extroverted feline and enjoys seeing what people are up to. On her own terms, of course.

Up close with a Blanding's turtle. The lemon-throated reptiles are pretty common up here. I found this one wandering overland and headed towards a road. Even though traffic is sparse indeed here, I carried the turtle to the other side of the road, after spending a bit of time on its level.

Looking much like a spring azure butterfly, tiny bluish spring moths, Lomographa semiclarata, are also quite abundant in the jack pines, intermixing with the aforementioned black-banded orange moths.

This is one of the Lake Nettie common loons, as soon from the lodge's pontoon boat. Loons are often curious about the boat and will approach closely. Thanks to our pilot, Vinnie Baideme, who skillfully maneuvered the craft to place the loon and us in a patch of colorfully reflected foliage.

An eastern kingbird tees up on a mullein stalk. Kingbirds are common here, and always fun to watch as they hawk for large insects, including dragonflies.

After a bit of effort, I was able to catch the kingbird in flight on an aerial attack on some hapless insect.

That's all for now, but more Michigan material will undoubtedly follow.

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