I have been enjoying time away from my computer. Oh, don’t get me wrong I am still meeting my article deadlines. My editor would not be happy with me if I work was not in on time. But I have also been enjoying the warm weather. One great aspect about this time of year is all the babies.
But I have also been outdoors more enjoying the warm weather. With combating the weeds and viewing the everything nature has to offer, I just seem to lose track of time. One great aspect about this time of year is all the babies.
One great aspect about this time of year is all the babies.
Baby birds, ducks, and geese are easily viewable.
And, the tadpoles are so much fun to watch along the water’s edge.
I have not been able to spot any baby deer yet. I have three does who visit my yard every night. I can tell, they are very pregnant. So, I am hoping I will soon see a couple of fawns.
I was able to take about a hundred photos of these beautiful creatures. In my opinion, the Sandhill Cranes are just amazing to watch. After a while, I just stood and observed the pair as they waded gracefully through the water’s edge in search of food.
I cannot believe how nature always finds a way to inspire and amaze me at the same time.
March 15, 2016, has been named Buzzard’s Day. Here in Michigan, we have Turkey Buzzards or otherwise known as Turkey Vultures.
When the water down on the river flats goes down, carp and other aquatic wildlife are trapped in shallow pools. As the pools dry up, the fish die leaving plenty of decaying food behind for the buzzards to enjoy.
The large black birds are fascinating to watch. I have witnessed up to 20 in my backfield at one time. The birds have up to six-foot wingspan which provides quite a sight when they are all leaving the ground. One of the most noticeable features are the reddish heads. Some seem to have a dull reddish color where others are bright red. I cannot tell you the distinction in the varying colors.
Most people find Turkey Vultures to be ugly or an unsightly bothersome bird. I find the large birds to beautifully unique. Of course…I have always been the odd one.
For most people here in mid-Michigan the return of the Robin is usually the first sign of Spring. In fact, I witnessed a Robin down by the river beds just the other day.
For me, the first sign of Spring comes with the return of the Sandhill Cranes. I absolutely love these elegant creatures.
I hear their low throttling call echoing from the river flats. I could listen to them all day. With the rising water due to the melting snow, I have not been able to get down to the flats to photograph these magnificent birds up close.
I was happy to find a pair foraging for food out in the back field. The water levels are high and the fields have numerous areas with standing water. The Sandhill Cranes were definitely enjoying themselves as they searched for a meal.
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.
Today, April 25, 2015 is “Go Birding Day”. Other wards, the entire day is dedicated to watching our fine feathered friends. I am an avid bird watcher. I never started out as one; bird watching is form of recreation. Recreation is all about finding an activity to while not at work or meeting any other responsibility that seems to full our daily lives.
Over the last two years, I really have begun to enjoy all aspects of bird watching. I never thought I would be the person who would actually go searching for a particular bird to view and photograph. My area in Michigan had a wet start with lots of standing water which brought a lot of new birds to my area. I have always enjoyed being outdoors and photographing wildlife; bird watching was just a new component of this activity. Bird watching is also an activity that my mother can join.
Equipment Needed for Bird Watching
The great thing about bird watching is that the type of equipment you invest in is up to you. You can simply take a walk through your local park or hiking trail and try to figure out which little featured creature is making chirping noises in your direction. Or if you really want to get into the activity you can buy expensive spotting scopes.
These are the items that I take with me:
A pair of binoculars
My camera which actually travels everywhere with me.
a field guide (I know a lot of people use apps which is great, but mom and I like looking at the book to see what species we are viewing.)
Pencil and notepad (I take this along to jot notes; I use a lot of my experiences for writing and I want to remember everything that I view).
Water (I have recyclable container that hooks to my camera bag. It is important to stay hydrated while out walking around especially if you are in a wooded area).
Cell phone (I turn mine on silent while I am out walking. Accidents can happen; a slip and fall can ruin your hike. A cell phone is just extra precaution in case of emergency).
Know the Area
I am fortunate. I live in a rural area which is surrounded by wetlands along side the Maple River; the common Michigan river flats are all around me. I spend a lot of time on the back property where I can view numerous birds and other wildlife. But I do like to venture out into other trails and preserves. When I am getting ready to go to a new trail, I download the map either to paper form to have with me or to my phone. I know a lot of the trails are marked, but I like the extra precaution.
Remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. The trails can be long; you want to make certain that you are comfortably dressed. Also, obey the signs; the signs are there for your safety.
These are only a few aspects of bird watching. Have fun and be safe as you look for that rare species which only turns up doing summer months when the birds migrate back to the area.
“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” ― Robert Lynd
One of my favorite past times is driving around my local country side especially on these cold Michigan winter days. I took off this morning to look for a Snowy Owl. My mother rode along which made the time more fun. We laughed about the birds that I failed to photograph. The morning was fun. I did not come across the Snowy Owl today. I saw the beautiful owl the other day. Of course, I did not have my camera with me at the time.
Today, I came across several different birds. I will admit there were a couple of birds that I could not identify. My mom and I spent some time this afternoon trying to narrow down the identity of the birds. I could identify the woodpeckers, Bald Eagles and the little Sparrows.
Two Bald Eagles out in the field. I wish I could have gotten a closer photo.
The sparrows that hang out in front of my house.
The two birds I questioned because I could not get a clear photo. I am hoping the birds are out again tomorrow. So, I can try to get a better picture. I think the one is a immature Bald Eagle. The other bird is a Northern Harrier also known as a Marsh Hawk.
Sometimes, just a country ride is all that you need to find inspiration in nature.
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”~~Lou Holtz
Today, January 5, 2015 is National Bird Day. I like the idea of birds having a day dedicated just to birds in general. To me, birds are just interesting creatures. In the last couple of years I have become more involved in bird watching which is something I never thought I would do. The changing weather earlier in the spring brought about different types of birds to the area that I had not previously viewed in the wild. The rains had left the creeks full and standing water in the ponds that usually dry up quickly. I was able to see a King Fisher and lots of Herons. I spent a lot of time photographing these lovely birds. I had days I just spent outside.
Now that winter is upon us, I have making certain that the feeders are full especially today with the temperature belong zero and the wind chill being even colder. At least, I know that I have done a little bit to help out my feathered friends while the snow continues to build up.
Anyways the little Black Capped Chickadees will let me know if the feeders are low, they love to voice their opinions as soon as I open the door. But I love to hear the diminutive bird chirping at me as I fill the feeders. I also love how the Sparrows with all their feathers puffed out sit on the branches near my window. I think sometime they are waiting to be fed. Or they are telling me to hurry up.
Now with Snowy Owls and Pileated Woodpeckers back in the area, I am hoping to get some better photos of these magnificent birds as well.