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Wildlife

Wild Kingdom

Had a visit from my local Bachelor Band of bucks the other day.

There were four fine looking individuals.

The next day, a family of turkeys stopped by. They are pretty camera shy, and started moving away as soon they sensed my presence. The thrill of seeing wildlife in my own backyard never gets old!


Visitors

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I often see Turkey Vultures flying over my property.  They are not the prettiest bird, but are so graceful in flight, I enjoy having them around.

They rarely come close enough to be photographed, so I was very surprised when this one landed on my line post the other day.  He did not stay long, but I managed to get a couple of shots.

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This Dragonfly rested on my window screen one chilly morning.  He stayed until the day warmed up, so I had a rare opportunity to get some closeup shots.

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At this time of year, turtles come out of the ponds to lay their eggs.  I found this one on my lawn last week.  I have come across a couple of good sized ‘snappers’ lately, but I make sure to keep my distance from them!

 


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!


August 10, 2017

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Cooler, drier weather has allowed us to venture into the woods for some of our walks. On a very still morning, parts of the lake looked like a reflecting pool.

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We had a little taste of Fall last week, which I really did not mind, as the mosquitoes and deer fly were less active, allowing me to work outside in peace.

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I often come across a toad in or near my barn, and the cats, fortunately do not seem to bother them.  This fine specimen has to be the biggest one I have ever seen!

The numbers on the ruler don’t show up well in the photo, but he measured almost six inches long.


Turtle Sightings

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Turtles are on the move.  It must be time for them to lay their eggs.  I spotted this one trying to do so in the middle of my front lawn.  Seems the digging was a little too hard there and she made her way over to the side lawn.  I left her in peace, so I’m not sure if she was successful over there or not.

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Came across this Snapper in the Park the other day.  Always careful to keep my distance from these big guys!

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I found this one at the beach.  Not sure if it was a snapper or not, but was careful not to get too close.


Visitors

img_3747Bunnies are not very welcome visitors to my garden.  For one thing, they tend to eat my flowers, and they also make the dog bark.

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I was lucky enough to spot two rabbits on the front lawn the other day before Abbie was aware of them, and I couldn’t resist trying snap a few photos.

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A more welcome visitor was the Garter Snake I spotted on my front steps one morning.  Although many people find them creepy, I know they are harmless and beneficial and was happy for the opportunity to photograph one.

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This little guy was not happy to be photographed however, and quickly found a place to hide, slipping between the boards to disappear from sight.


Signs of Summer

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I was feeling a bit blue a couple of weeks ago, and decided one more trip to the nursery might lift my spirits.  Hard to feel sad among all the beautiful blooms.

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Spotted this Tree Frog on my window the other night.  A sure sign of Summer.  He will leave sticky footprints on the window, but I really don’t mind. 🙂

 

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Dame’s Rocket is making a fine showing in the woods and along the roadsides.  Our ever fickle weather has turned very hot today, with the promise of possible storms this afternoon.  A couple of days ago, I was running the furnace.  Looks like today we will be switching back to AC!  Gotta love Michigan! 🙂


Cold Snap

IMG_3313Well, the cold weather finally did catch up with us, and we were in the deep freeze for a while.  The lake in the Park finally froze over, and we even had some ice fisherman out there the other day.

The Canada Geese stuck around through December, but seem to have deserted us now.  I have not seen or heard any for some time.IMG_3315

I finally did get to try out my new snowshoes, and they worked well on the few inches of snow we had a couple of weeks ago.

Most of the snow is gone now, as we are back to milder temperatures for a few days.  We feel fortunate to have missed the big storm which has crippled the Northeast.

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This Titmouse looks like he is feeling the cold as he patiently waits for his turn at the feeder.  But February is just around the corner, and the days are noticeably longer, so Spring is not so very far away!


Grey Days

IMG_3283As predicted, our December has been unusually mild.  The downside is, it has been rather cloudy and gloomy, which has not encouraged me to get out with my camera.

Without snow on the ground, everything looks rather dull and colorless at the moment.  We caught the edge of a storm system on Monday, but what fell was sleet and rain, rather than snow, and did not make for good photos.

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Our bird feeder has been attracting the usual customers, and I did manage to get a couple of photos of a Titmouse and a Goldfinch today.

Our daughter, son-in-law, granddaughters, and Willow the Greyhound came for a visit over Christmas, and left yesterday.  The house seems very quiet without them!

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As usual, we will see the New Year in at home, and will probably be in bed before midnight.  We are early risers, and late nights just don’t agree with us any more! Sign of Old Age I guess! 🙂


A Rare Sight

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Bald Eagle

As the number of Bald Eagles increases, we see them in our area once in a while.  Several times I have seen one circling high in the sky, only the flash of a white tail making identification possible.  So we were very excited to spot one yesterday, right on our own road.

It was being harassed by a crow when I spotted it out of the corner of my eye as I drove by, and as I slowed down to get a better look, it dropped low and flew right ahead of us down the road, landing in a tree, where we were able to stop to get a good look at it.

Today, we spotted it again, feeding on a dead deer carcass close to the road.  This time I did have a camera with me, and although it is not a great shot it is the first I have ever taken of a Bald Eagle in the wild, so it just has to go on the blog!

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Our barn cats, Otis and Boo get along so well together, and when the weather gets chilly, they snuggle together keeping each other warm.  It looks like I do need to supply them with a slightly larger bed though! 🙂


November 6, 2015

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I see lots of berries of various kinds around right now.  This is often thought to be a sign of a severe Winter to come.  I sure hope not.  The last two record-breaking Winters about did me in, and I was hoping for a bit of a break this year!

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No complaints about the weather the last week or so.  We have been enjoying summer-like temperatures and lots of sunshine.  It is cooling off now, but the ten-day forecast doesn’t look too terrible.

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Our barbecue grill gave up the ghost this summer, and we replaced it.  Trouble is, we couldn’t get rid of the old one right away, as it has been home to a Tree Frog.  He hangs out most days under the side burner cover.  He is safe from predators in there, and the metal lid amplifies his mating call!  Smart little guy! 🙂

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Came across this fine big Toad outside the back door a couple of weeks ago, and he was good enough to pose for me.  Always good to have these bug-eating creatures around.


October Mornings

IMG_3162Much as I hate to see colder weather bearing down on us, October is one of my favorite months.  I have needed a jacket, and even gloves for some of the morning walks, but it is so exciting to see the changes each day brings. 

IMG_3169The lower angle of the sun, gives a special quality to the light, which is a photographer’s delight.IMG_3166The last few days have been quite windy, and I am hoping we don’t lose too many leaves from the trees before Fall color reaches its peak.IMG_3180_1

My husband came across this scary looking fellow in the garage the other night.  Considered using my Macro lens, but didn’t care to get that close!


A welcome break

IMG_3153As expected, our unseasonably warm weather did not last.  A series of cold, wet and windy days has prompted me to leave the camera at home, so I have been neglecting the blog.IMG_3155  Today, the sun peeked out at last and I was able to get a few nice shots on our walk.IMG_3131The Canada Geese are gathering in larger and larger flocks by the lake.  When we arrive at the Park in the morning, hundreds of them occupy the beach, picnic areas and parking lot.  They are not happy to see us, and soon take to the air with loud complaints, and head out, probably to neighboring corn fields.  They will need to build up their strength before they head South.

Robins are gathering together too, and will leave us soon.  Our recent stretch of rainy days is supplying them with lots of worms, so they will probably stick around for a while yet.IMG_3150More cloudy days are in the forecast, but so far today is sunny, so we will enjoy it while it lasts.


Wild Visitors

IMG_3021_1Something spooked the horses the other day, so I stepped outside to see what had startled them.  Turned out to be a buck and doe grazing next to the barn.  Went back for the camera and managed to snap a few photos before they spotted me.

Busted!

Busted!

Tried to sneak a little closer, but the doe spotted me and gave the alarm.  In seconds they both melted into the trees out of sight.

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Our next visitor was this Tree Frog.  He was about to climb the window in search of bugs attracted to the light.

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I found this grasshopper when I was watering the Impatiens on the deck.  Was surprised he stuck around long enough for photos, but it was quite early, and perhaps he wasn’t quite awake!

After about a week of Fall-like weather, we are back to Summer temperatures again.  The last couple of days have been hot and humid with more of the same forecast for the rest of the week.


Peek-a-Boo!

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

Spotted a Painted Turtle on the lawn the other day, and hurried outside with my camera.  

Years ago, I spotted our Collie playing with what looked like a rock, picking it up and tossing it in air, having a fine old time.  When I went out to see what he was up to, it turned out to be a very unhappy turtle!  Thank goodness, Collies have gentle mouths and the turtle was unharmed, but it must have been quite a wild ride for him!

I persuaded Rusty to part with his ‘toy’, placed it right side up on the lawn, and within a few minutes, it went on about its business, none the worse for the ordeal!

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Our cool, wet Summer seems to be agreeing with the Impatiens on the deck, and they are just about overflowing the pots with colorful blooms.

 

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

Last week, it was warm enough for us to run the air conditioning for a few days.  Now we are getting a taste of Fall, and I have had to turn on the furnace a couple of times!  It is quite dark when I go down to feed the horses at 6 a.m., especially if it is cloudy as it has been lately.  It is supposed to warm up later in the week.  I hope so.  I do enjoy Autumn, but I am not ready to let go of Summer just yet!


Thistle and Bee

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The Thistle is another flower we work so hard to keep out of our lawn and garden, we rarely stop to appreciate its beauty.  The bees and Goldfinches love them, so I was pleased to find some growing next to the lake on our morning walk.

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Came across a Bumblebee when photographing the thistle blooms, and he was kind enough to stick around till I got some good shots.

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Two Summers ago, Bumblebees built a nest in our barn.  I was concerned they would pose problems for us, and did some online searches.  The first few pages only offered ways to kill them, but with some help from a beekeeper friend, I was able to learn that they are non-aggressive and would pose no risk to us or our animals.  Also, they would not return to the same nest next year, so I did not have to worry about the nest growing larger each year.

Sure enough, they did not return to the barn the following summer, but did build just inside our garage.  This year they are somewhere under the deck outside our back door. This door is in constant use, but the bees don’t seem at all concerned about us as we go in and out, and have not caused us any problems.  With the shortage of honeybees, I am happy to have them around to pollinate my flowers. 🙂


Fur and Feathers

Cotton-Tail

Cotton-Tail

I have learned I am not patient enough to be much of a wildlife photographer, but sometimes I get lucky.  This rabbit has made its home under the spruce trees in our front garden, and was not the least bothered by me and my camera as I snapped away.

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A few weeks ago, we came upon this family of Canada Geese and I managed a few shots before they swam away, complaining loudly at being disturbed.  The babies are all grown up now, and hard to distinguish from the parents.

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The Grape Jelly we put out for the Orioles has also been attracting a pair of Purple Finches, and the male was kind enough to pose for me the other day.

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It looks like the Orioles have had a successful breeding season.  The whole family is coming to the jelly now, lining up politely to wait for a turn.  

Our Hummingbird feeder is doing a brisk trade too, but they are just too quick for me!

  


Swan Sighting

Tundra Swan

The campground in the Park was almost deserted on Monday, so Brian and I took our walk there.  When I spotted a swan on the lake, I thought it would be one of the Mute Swans we often see there, but when I was able to get a closer look, I realized it was a Tundra Swan.  Have never seen one in the wild before.

I went back later in the morning with my telephoto lens and managed to get some decent shots of it.  It involved some scrambling through the woods and balancing on a downed tree, but I thought it was worth it! 🙂

It should be in migration now, and I wonder what it is doing here all alone, and if it will be able to continue its journey after resting up for a few days.IMG_4069Came across some more Rue Anemone on the trail along with plenty of Skunk Cabbage.  Seems to be a lot of that around this Spring.

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

Spotted some Marsh Marigolds in bloom yesterday, but didn’t have my camera with me.  The forest floor is getting greener by the day, and soon there will be lots of wildflowers.  Temperatures are still dropping below freezing at night, but these delicate plants must be a lot tougher than they look!


More Signs of Life

IMG_2638We have been enjoying some warmer temperatures, and lots of sunshine the last few days.  Unfortunately, that is going to change tomorrow, and the rest of the week is expected to be wet and chilly, with overnight temps dropping below freezing again.

New Leaves

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Tender new leaves are appearing here and there, and we came across some Turtles sunning themselves on Friday.  That must feel so good after a Winter spent at the bottom of an icy pond!

Sunning Turtles

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I came across these lovely blue flowers growing in somebody’s lawn.  Not sure if they are wild or cultivated, but they certainly were a beautiful sight.IMG_2649


Frosty Noses

Frosty NoseWe are still in the grip of Arctic Air, but the forecast promises some relief soon.  After only about an hour outside, the horses’ noses and whiskers were covered in frost.  They don’t seem to mind, and, like the barn cats soak up as much sunshine as they can.

The barn cats, Boo and Otis have been spending much time cuddled up together on top of the hay, and are growing quite fat.  I am giving them extra food, as the calories help generate heat, and they have a carpeted Kitty Condo to curl up in at night.

The days are growing noticeably longer, and on a sunny day, it stays light till well past six o’clock.  This will allow me to adjust feeding time for the horses so they come in later at night.  The less time they spend cooped up in their stalls, the better for their aging joints.

Fox Tracks

Fox Tracks

Whenever there is fresh snow overnight, I see many Fox tracks, both in the Park and across our own front yard.  Abbie always finds them quite fascinating and would stop to examine each and every print if I had the patience to allow it! 🙂

Snowy Nest

Snowy Nest

Once the leaves are gone, I am often surprised to spot bird nests located quite close to human activity.  I found this one right next to the road in the Park, and must have walked by it many times this Summer, never knowing it was there.

 


This and That

Maple Leaves

Maple Leaves

I have been too busy to take many photos lately, so I took a look through my archives for something to post.

Squirrel

Squirrel

Squirrels are busy storing their Winter supplies.  I came across this little fellow at For-Mar Arboretum late in September.  He was tame enough for me to get a decent shot of him, even without a long lens.IMG_2333

This was taken just a few weeks ago, before the rain and wind stripped most of the leaves away.

Temperatures will be dropping into the 20’s overnight for at least the coming week, and areas to the west of us are under a snow advisory.  Nothing measurable forecast for us at the moment, but I expect we will probably be shoveling before long! 😦


Dark October

Reflected TreesAfter a seemingly endless stretch of dark and gloomy days, the sun made a brief appearance yesterday, so I took my camera with me to the Park.  Most of the leaves are gone now, but a few splashes of color remain here and there.The lake was clear and still, giving me some beautiful reflections to photograph.

Geese in Flight

Geese in Flight

Canada Geese have been gathering in the Park in larger and larger flocks as the weather grows colder.  When we arrive, they begin to move away, muttering and complaining among themselves, until they take flight creating quite a racket as they call out to each other.  If our unseasonably cold weather continues, they will soon be heading South, and I think these short flights help them build the fitness and endurance they will need for their long journey.IMG_2367Family health issues have kept me away from the blog lately, but I am hoping to be able to start posting regularly again soon.


First Frosts

Frosted Leaf

Frosted Leaf

A couple of heavy frosts have brought more color to the trees.  Unfortunately, rain and gloomy weather has made for less than optimal photo ops.  According to the ten-day forecast, it might be Sunday before we see the sun again.

 

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Before the rain set in, I visited For-Mar Arboretum in Burton, and enjoyed a very nice walk there.  Hope to get back there again before the leaves are all gone.

Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys

Our resident flock of Wild Turkeys has taken to visiting one of our pastures almost every day.  It is not easy to get good photos of them, as they quickly melt into the brush if I get too close, but we enjoy watching them.  I noticed one of them is a different color than the rest.  She is mostly grey rather than brown – some kind of recessive gene I would guess.


A New Season

 

Egret

Egret

I have been a bit neglectful of the blog lately.  As Brian’s health issues become more complex and serious, our lives have become a seemingly endless round of doctor visits, medical tests and infuriating encounters with Phone Trees!

I have managed to keep up with my photography.  It helps me to live in the moment and take what joy I can from each day.IMG_2146

Great Egrets used to be a rare sight in our area, but we are seeing them quite often now.  They are easily spooked, but I have managed to capture a few shots of one over the summer.

Green Heron

Green Heron

I have also been lucky enough to get some decent shots of a Green Heron – another very challenging subject, and one we don’t see very often in our area.

Just three more weeks before Fall officially begins.  Sometimes, if it has been a particularly hot and humid Summer, I am quite content to see it end, but this year, after a brutal Winter and a very late Spring, I don’t feel quite ready for the colder weather to begin.  Fall is one of my favorite seasons, with the wonderful colors and the end of Mosquitoes and Deer Flies, but this year, I am hoping the warm weather will linger a bit longer.