Monday, October 14, 2019

Harrier, snipe, and sparrow

Time to throw the birds back in Ohio Birds and Biodiversity! I needed some solo bird therapy this morning, having had precious little time to observe and photograph the feathered crowd this fall. So it was off to a tried and true local hotspot, Battelle Darby Metro Park and its huge and successful prairie restoration. This place never lets me down, and it didn't today.

A female northern harrier wings past, just as she glimpsed me concealed in a natural blind of cattails. Prior to spotting the interloper, she had her head canted downwards, watching for voles. I saw one other female, and a striking gray adult male. Note the hawk's owl-like facial disk. The bright buffy tones mark her as a juvenile.

Dapper and sleek, a neatly marked Savannah sparrow pauses briefly atop a snag in a cattail marsh. This sparrow favors open country, but is not named for the plant community of widely scattered trees (which is properly spelled "savanna"). Rather, its common name is derived from the city in Georgia, where pioneer ornithologist Alexander Wilson took the first specimen.

We are at the peak of migration for Savannah sparrows, and I saw perhaps 75 of them this morning.

A juvenile Wilson's snipe, its plumage fresh and crisp, blends well with the punky duff of a drawn down cattail marsh. This species blends astonishingly well with its haunts. I first picked up a few snipe as they flew by, then flushed a few others. After settling into a particularly good snipe honey hole and carefully watching, I gained a better estimate of their numbers. I tallied nearly 50, but as I saw only a fragment of the available habitat I'm sure many others were present.

All told, a wonderful three hours afield on a cold clear October morning.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Old birch log with maple leaf

Red maple leaf, on old white birch log. Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, today.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Fall foliage along the Dead River

Colorful fall foliage along the Dead River, just west of Marquette, this morning. Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Today was the first full day of our Upper Peninsula photo tour, and we shot a diversity of subjects. Scenes like this, a gorgeous kettle lake bog, tree tunnels, a rocky Lake Superior beach, and a couple of interesting waterfalls. Much more to come...

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Fall colors along glacial lake

As always, click the photo to enlarge

Maples in various hues and the ghostly trunks of white birch punctuate a background of white pine. Fall color is starting to come on strong in the north country. Big Twin Lake, Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, yesterday. Just to show that big telephotos can make good landscape lenses, this image was made with the Canon 400mm f/2.8 II, at f/9, 1/40, ISO 200. Tripod-mounted, of course, and shot in live view with 2-second timer delay to eliminate any operator-induced movement.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Black Trumpets

The black trumpet, Craterellus fallax, an amazing mushroom. Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, provides the backdrop. The mushroom numbers and diversity up here right now are astonishing! Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, today. We scouted extensively in the Hiawatha today, finding scads of gorgeous landscapes and other interesting subjects, such as this fungus.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Woodland path, with bridge

The path to Grand Sable Dunes, where 300 foot tall sand cliffs cascade into Lake Superior. Grand Marais, Upper Peninsula, Michigan, this afternoon.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Lighthouse, and Spruce Grouse

Debbie and I are up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, scouting in advance of our photo workshop which begins on Sunday. Nine great people will connect with us in Marquette, and off we'll go to see waterfalls, lighthouses, fall color and lots of other showy highlights.

I left Columbus yesterday bright and early, where it later hit a high of about 92F. Big difference in temps up here, where yesterday's high was 50F. At the tip of Whitefish Point at sunrise this morning, it was a raw 43F with strong winds off Lake Superior and spitting rain. Good photos were made nonetheless.

Late yesterday, while driving back a seldom-used sandy lane to Crisp Point Lighthouse, we encountered this hen spruce grouse poking around on the edge of the road. She fluttered up into the low boughs of a nearby spruce, and watched us carefully. The "fool hen" as they are sometimes known, sat tamely and allowed us to make many images. She was still there when we left. Just down the road was a young black bear, but it skittered off before cameras could be activated.

This was our destination, Crisp Point Lighthouse on Lake Superior. Debbie made this beautiful image and kindly allowed me to use it. Haven't yet had a chance to do anything with my images. The colorful sunset we hoped for did not materialize, but it's still an incredibly showy spot and well off the beaten path. On the way out, a snowshoe hare darted across the road.

More to follow...

Harrier, snipe, and sparrow

Time to throw the birds back in Ohio Birds and Biodiversity! I needed some solo bird therapy this morning, having had precious little time ...