Brad and I hiked yesterday and parts of the ground looked like they were moving as hundreds of these little toads hopped about.
Huge crayfish (by Michigan standards…maybe 7 inches)
Speckled May Apple? I’ve never seen this coloration before?
Cute snail/ terrible garden pest
I finally have a garden again and it’s a wonderful feeling.
Green Heron and a frog.
The heron only had the the frog by the end of a leg and brought it to the dock for safer eating. If it dropped the frog the heron wouldn’t lose it in the water.
A meaty frog meal.
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
This guy has a penis and spiders don’t. He also doesn’t have a segmented head or produce silk like spiders. It’s not a spider.
A patch of trillium along the trails. The woods were brown and covered in leaves just two weeks ago and are now green and full of wildflowers and a lot of thorns.
Trillium, the state wildflower in Michigan.
In the garden.
Redbud tree blooms.
Bleeding hearts. The next night we had a freeze that killed all these flowers.
One of my favorite trees
A cardinal nest.
There’s finally an egg in the cardinal nest.
Newly hatched Cardinal
Pregnant deer…. see how the belly protrudes below her middle?
Some of the first wildflowers spotted in the woods.
The last bluebird egg in the first laid clutch sits on the ground destroyed. It is now legal for me to remove the nesting material from the nest box. It’s illegal to destroy a viable song bird’s nest.
A few days later there was a new clutch of bluebird eggs laid.
Female Eastern Bluebird guarding her nest.
Eastern Bluebird fledgings
Sometimes I’m driving down the road and I’ll see a horse, a donkey and a goat hanging out.
Or catch sight of a bird nesting on my way home from work and have to stop for a quick picture.
A leaping deer.
Three robin eggs.
Catching some down time in the park.
Had a great visit to the Skeba’s farm on Lake Leelanau.
We found some morel mushrooms.
And we found a fawn too.
Jack in the Pulpit
I haven’t fed the birds the past few weeks in hopes of staying focused. What? What are we talking about?…..
I had a few days off from work and couldn’t stand starving the birds to death another second.
They line up in the deck rail and stare at me.
So I fed them. And then I feel compelled to take pictures of them. And then nothing productive gets done.
Another Downy Woodpecker.
Female Red Cardinals. When the weather turns cold birds are competitive feeders. They’ll spend a lot of time chasing each other away from a food source, even when there is plenty of other food to eat. Since it’s cold and these two are hanging out together, they are likely a mother and daughter combo. Male cardinals feed females seeds as part of their spring mating ritual and then change to complete dick heads in the winter and aggressively chase the females away from a food source.
I don’t have a name for this sparrow, but know what page it’s on in my field guide.
I moved my stack of 20 field guides I usually keep on my nightstand. My thought was that I don’t have time to indulge in taking nature photos and identifying migrating birds this fall. (:
Tyrant, the red squirrel that calls my yard and walnut trees home, has been busy bringing nuts into my shed a few hours a day.
Last winter I watched Tyrant spend hours and hours chasing larger squirrels away from the drift of walnut trees out back. I assumed Tyrant was male because this chasing behavior seemed aggressive and futile and I judged it as masculine. I also named the squirrel Tyrant at this time. This squirrel really seemed the jump-on-your- face-and-eat-it-off type of critter. When spring came I realized I was a judgmental idiot as soon as I spotted Tyrant’s six huge lactating boobs hanging out of her fur.
Last year Tyrant used the woodpile for winter shelter and food storage. The pile was a horrible choice for a shelter since the wind blows directly at the logs and its kind of a cramped space.
Now she’s back to stock piling winter treats and has moved from the drafty woodpile to my shed. I had “face the squirrel” on my to do list for a few weeks. A few friends mentioned, “You have got to kill it/get rid of it. Those things are trouble.” I didn’t have any intention of killing Tyrant, but knew I should check the well-being of my shed. I was shocked when I opened the shed to investigate and/or get my face eaten off by Tyrant, figuring I’d see a trashed mess of red squirrel destruction. Instead this is what I saw…..
Tyrant’s nuts stacked neatly in my empty flower pots. For the love she’s neater than me!
She also had a little nest in the most protected corner furthest away from where the winter wind blows. Now I know a lot of readers have an Aunt whose house was terrorized by a red squirrel eating through the screen and gorging themselves on appliance wires, or perhaps a cousin who had a red squirrel fill his attic to the rooftop with shit after biting their baby’s leg, but I’m letting Tyrant hang out in my shed this winter. She’s neater than I am so really, the way I see it, I should invite her to live inside and get her started on whipping this place into shape. I’m not too worried about Tyrant’s new shelter. She is just looking for food, water and shelter for the winter, which she now has secured neatly in my shed. I’m confident she is not going to branch out into gnawing weed whacker string because she saw it done on a reality show or that’ll she’ll try to create a larger home by destroying the shed windows because she read about it in a fancy glossy magazine.
A lovely sunrise I watched on a run through my best friend’s orchard.
Chickadee hanging out on the deck.
See the cool pattern on this grasshopper’s leg?
See how the cool leg pattern is missing on the other side of this grasshopper? I bet a million dollars a bird snatched its leg and the rest of the grasshopper got away.
bright color in the garden……
A Great Blue Heron downtown Grand Rapids in the Grand River. (lower middle)
Last week we lost summer’s hour of dusk and the nights turned cool. The lack of daylight combined with cooler temperatures starts the leaves’ colorful death cycle.
I spent the weekend in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at my cousin’s wedding. I also picked up some art from the artist Dominic Fredianelli, who along with my cousin, is in the movie Where Soldiers Come From.
It’s REBAL with an A in a rebellious fashion. It was a tight squeeze in my vehicle since it’s 8ft. x 4ft.
It’s down to the last few weeks to enjoy the trails at Cannonsburg State Game Area. Luckily there are several other local trail systems closed to hunting. All spring and summer I stuff any trash I come across in the woods into my shirt. Most of the trash is shotgun slugs. It’s time to give my boobs a break.
A mushroom in Cannonsburg State Game Area
Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Tomatoes from the garden
seriously click to enlarge….way worth it.
ASTOUNDING AND IMPRESSIVE
Speaking of poop, an amazing number of people stumble onto my blog looking for information on turkey poop. (welcome to my blog) Michigan’s fall turkey hunt is almost here so if you successfully drew a license I can let you know where a large flock of turkeys hang out in the Cannonsburg State Game Area.
Sunlight through a hole eaten by a Monarch caterpillar in a milkweed leaf.
***Light and Joy and Peace Abide in Me***
A newly hatched Monarch caterpillar and the leaf of a burning bush. The last batch of monarchs will live longer than a few weeks and travel 1,000’s of miles to warm breeding grounds in Mexico. I found three little ones in the garden yesterday and so far only one is missing.
A Great Blue Heron peeking.
FLYING….Check out the talons and meaty thighs…probably tastes like pond muck though.
A mixed flock of Cedar Waxwings and House Finches fluttering and chattering.