Here in mid-Michigan, I have come across a variety of little creatures. I thought I would share some of them with everyone. I tend to love all aspects of nature.
When most people view an opossum in the wild, they see an ugly rat-like creature. When I view an opossum in the wild, I see a fascinating creature with ancestral ties going back to the times of the dinosaur.
Truthfully, the opossum is not even related to the rat family. The little grey creatures receive a bad reputation just based on their appearance. The opossum is actually a marsupial. (For those who do not remember or need a refresher, a marsupial is simply a pouched mammal).
The slow-moving creature is the only marsupial in North America which I found to be an interesting fact. Just like, I found the fact that there are around 65 species of opossums world-wide. But, only one type is located in Michigan and all of North America: the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis Virginiana).
A nocturnal animal, I usually view them late at night. I have one that comes up on my porch; I enjoy watching her with the pale light from the porch.
Opossums hiss and growl when they feel threatened but they are actually a gentle creature avoiding conflict. In fact, “playing opossum” or “playing dead” is one of their best defenses against conflict. The little creatures will act dead in order to ward off predators.
Eat mostly insects, berries and fruits (I notice the one that visits my feeder loves the day old popcorn that I put out).
An opossum can be up to 21 inches long with an additional 10 to 20 inches with the tail.
One of the fascinating facts, I recently learned about opossums is they like to eat ticks. I am always worried about ticks getting on my pets and me. So, the little gray opossum with the cute pink nose may eat as many ticks as she wants when she visits my yard.
The one thing I have not witnessed in the wild is a mother opossum with her babies. I really would like to photograph them.
“Beautiful But Cold” is the only way I could describe today. Even with the sun peaking through at various times throughout the day, the temps never made their way out of the teens. With the wind chill factored in, the air felt even colder.
The wild birds seem to spend extra time at the feeders which were wonderful to watch this morning.
The evening air was crisp but I could not resist the view. I with my little puppy, Gizmo in tow went out for a few minutes. I snapped about 50 pics when I decided the air was just too much for me. (I really need to invest in some new outdoor wear. Thank goodness for REI). Gizmo did not hesitate when I asked if he was ready to go in.
We both have been enjoying the rest of the evening by the fireplace.
Today, January 10, 2016, is Save the Eagles Day. The day is dedicated to the conservation and protection of these majestic birds. Here in Michigan (and all of North American from what I understand), the two species of Eagles are the Golden Eagle and the Bald Eagle. I have been fortunate enough to view both of these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. I have only been able to photograph the Bald Eagle. But I still have time to get more photos of both birds. I actually investing in another lens just for this reason.
These large birds of prey are beautiful to view out in the wild. Catching a glimpse of one in a tree or swooping down to catch their prey is a wonderful sight to witness. A Bald Eagle can actually reach speeds of 100 mph while trying to catch their prey. I find that fact to be absolutely amazing. Not to mention the wing span can be up to seven feet wide. I guess, you can tell why I love to watch these wonderful birds down on the river flats. In fact, my neighbor informed me of a pair down on the Maple River today.
If you get a chance, you should take the time to sit and watch the Eagles in their natural surroundings. You will find the experience breathtaking.
The fog has definitely rolled into mid-Michigan this evening. I can feel a dampness in the air as the weather slowly warms above freezing. Depending on the news outlet, we will receive between 5 to 10 inches of snow within the next two days. I am wondering if the dense fog is just the prelude to the coming snow storm. I know there is an old weather tale that states, ““For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall.” But I do not know if the fog actually is an indicator of an upcoming snow storm.
Michigan has seen a mild winter so far. A really good snow storm is just a matter of time. I guess, we will find out tonight. The snow is reported to begin after 1 a.m. I have nowhere to go for the next couple of days. I can just spend extra time working on my book. And, of course, go out and take pictures of the newly fallen snow.
Until next time…..peace.
P.S. A special shout out to my father who celebrates his 70th birthday today.
Today, January 5, 2016, is National Bird Day. I love the fact that entire day is dedicated to these fine feathered little creatures. I love watching birds. I have been slowly researching the different migratory birds that frequent Michigan.
Truthfully, I enjoy watching all wildlife. But bird watching can be done from my dining room table when the Michigan temperatures drop. I have come to the conclusion they all have unique characteristics that act almost as a way to communicate with one another and all other living beings.
Right outside my porch, the tiny Sparrows are always visible. They spend most of the time at the feeder, especially in the winter. I have come to the conclusion they get their way by sitting on the nearby branch and staring at me. I know, they are probably not watching me. When the feeders are empty, I believe they sit there just to make me feel extremely guilty. Many people do not like the Sparrows, I enjoy watching them as they flutter around my feeders.
When a Bluejay arrives at the feeder, all the other birds leave. In the colder months, I put peanuts out there which seem to be one of the Bluejay’s favorite snacks. The Bluejays are usually very vocal when they are near.
Depending on the time of year, I have all types of birds at the feeder or nearby in the wooded areas. I plan to start a bird journal to document which birds are present on a specific day.
“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”
I really do love this quote. Today, January 1, 2016, was definitely a cold start for the first day of the New Year. I know, we have had worse here in mid-Michigan. But up until now, the weather has been mild.
The cold temperatures are just a reminder that Mother Nature is actually the one in charge.
I hope your first day of 2016 was filled with memorable moments.