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April 18

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Quite a few Common Mergansers visiting the Lake, but they are quite camera-shy.

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Finally managed to get a few photos before they all flew away.

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Skunk Cabbage is finally beginning to appear in the woods.  Everything is going to be late this year.

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These Wild Turkeys usually hang out in my ‘Back Forty’, but the other day they decided to visit my neighbor’s chickens!

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Visitors

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I spotted this pair of Tundra, or Whistling Swans on the lake in the Park the other day.  They are probably just visiting on their way north, as they do not usually nest this far south.

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There were quite a few Wood Ducks around too and some Common Mergansers, but too far away for photos.

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I wonder if the Robins are considering heading south again, as the weather is still much more like Winter than Spring here! I wonder what they are finding to eat.

A year ago I posted photos of Forsythia in bloom, and Lilacs budding out.  Nothing like that around this year!  It seems Winter just doesn’t want to let go! Freezing rain forecast here for the weekend. 😦

And Still Waiting

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I was hoping April would be kinder to us than March has been, but this was the scene which greeted me this morning!

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I am grateful that my African Violets are blooming, as it will be a long time before we see anything blooming outdoors!

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This one has been with me many years and is once more outgrowing its pot.  I am dragging my feet at re-potting, always afraid of doing more harm than good, but will have to do something soon.

Still Waiting!

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March in Michigan is such a frustrating month!  The weather will smile on us with warm, sunny days, then suddenly turn and dump another load of snow on us, putting us back in the Deep Freeze again.

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Suffering a bad case of Cabin Fever, I took a drive to Port Huron the other day to spend a little time enjoying Lake Michigan.  I had hoped to take a nice walk by the Bluewater Bridge, but the icy wind blowing off the Lake discouraged that.  I did manage to snap a few photos of a duck I did not recognize near the shore.

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My trusty Field Guide identified it as a female Oldsquaw or Long-Tailed Duck. They are not native to Michigan, so must have stopped in on their way North.

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The chilly temperatures help to keep my bird-feeder busy, and I managed some nice shots of this female Cardinal.

More From Chicago

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The Park is full of Redwing Blackbirds, Robins, Canada Geese, and I can even hear Sandhill Cranes off in the distance.  All welcome signs of Spring, but Mother Nature just doesn’t seem to get the message.  We are once more knee-deep in snow, and the forecast is not promising.

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To cheer myself a bit, I have started some comfort food in the crock pot, and spent some time enjoying the photos from my visit to Chicago Botanical Gardens.

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Clocks move forward this weekend, which is a pain, but at least the two I never got around to changing in the Fall will now be right!

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Orchid Display

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Last weekend I was invited to visit a friend in Chicago, and she took me to Chicago Botanical Gardens to check out their wonderful Orchid display.

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With over 74 images downloaded, I am having a difficult time choosing which ones to post.

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While I enjoyed the beautiful blooms, my itchy winter skin enjoyed the heat and humidity of their temporary home. 🙂

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The mild, sunny day even allowed us to take a stroll outside, enjoying the sound of the newly returned Redwing Blackbirds and Canada Geese.  Glad we made the most of it, as we are knee-deep in snow again now!  😦

Flood Stage

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Unseasonably warm weather and heavy rain brought the lake in the Park to flood stage this week.  The spillway had become a rapids this morning.

The first photo was taken just 3 weeks ago at roughly the same spot.

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It is fortunate that the rangers lower the level of the lake for the winter.  It would be overflowing its banks otherwise.  As it is, it is up several feet.

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The rain is finally moving out, and most of the snow is gone.  Temperatures will be above freezing in the daytime for at least a week, so I am hoping things will dry up some before the next freeze.  The warmer temperatures are welcome, but not all the mud and slop we are dealing with now!

 

A Big Surprise

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One of the photos in my last blog was taken during a hike my daughter and I took on the aptly named Castle Rock Trail.

When my age and the altitude caught up with me, I sat down to rest, taking time to study and photograph these impressive edifices.

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Suddenly I caught a glimpse of movement, way at the top of the rock-face and realized people were climbing way up there.  Fascinated, and somewhat horrified, I zoomed to get a better look.

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I soon realized they were actually on their way down.  How they got up there in the first place is a mystery to me!

Change of Pace

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I just can’t bring myself to post yet more snow pictures, so I dug back in my Archives to find some scenes from a trip my daughter and I took to Utah in April 2014.

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As a child I loved John Wayne westerns (still do)  and have always longed to ride a horse across the desert.   Our stay at Red Cliffs Lodge near Moab gave us the opportunity to do just that, and it was everything I had hoped for!

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Going through these photos I can almost feel the hot sun on my skin, which helps to lift my spirits on this cold, snowy day!

Ups and Downs

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As tired as I am of cold and snow, the Park was beautiful as the sun rose on a fresh snowfall last weekend.

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The outflow from the lake in the Park is about the only open water around now.  All of the lakes and ponds and even some of the streams and rivers are frozen over.

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One of my African Violets is blooming, adding a welcome bright spot to my dining room.

The days are slowly lengthening as the sun moves closer, and when temperatures rise above freezing for a day or two, it’s hard not to think about Spring, but I know it is just a tease.  We have a long way to go yet!

 

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