Save the Frogs Day

Today, April 29, 2017, is Save the Frogs Day.

I personally have always loved frogs. As a child, I use to watch them jump in the ponds and creeks. I would imagine their worlds. I still incorporate frogs into my stories. I imagine them interacting with fairies and other woodland creatures.

As an adult, I still think about the frogs’ life. At the same time, I consider the frogs’ environment. Throughout the years, the push for modernization comes at a price. I would hate to see the frog population continue to decrease. The disappearance of frogs is just sad.

Just floating along….

Even though I do not know the facts, I am sure the impact of the ecological system would be significant. In my area, the decrease in frogs would mean an increase in mosquitoes and other pesky insects.

Tadpole

My request? Take the time to learn about the frogs in your area. Find out how to help with your local environment. You do not need to join large groups to help the environment, plant flowers, pick up litter, small gestures by a large number of individuals will have a large impact.

Until next time…..peace

 

Critter of the Day: Mallard Ducks

In my area of Michigan, the water is still high. The increased water levels have both negative and positive aspects. I love the fact that I get to view so many different forms of wildlife. Swimming in an over filled pond, this pair of Mallards were fun to watch. They would dive and skim insects off the top of the very murky water.

The downside of the water…. my yard looks horrible. I can only mow certain sections. The uneven grass looks as if I was trying to mow paths to each standing water area. Oh well, at least I can enjoy the wildlife.

Until next time….peace

Critter of the Day: Pied-billed Grebe

Today was the first time I was able to photograph a Pied-billed Grebe in the wild. I loved it. I could have spent my entire day watching this unique water bird. He (or she) kept diving under the water to catch fish or bugs.

I am sure this bird has been in my area before today. But I was so happy to capture the moment on camera.

Until next time…peace

Winter Snow Advisory

Living in Michigan, I use to the weather changing. After a couple of days of extremely cold weather, we are now in the midst of a winter snow advisory. I guess Mother Nature is not quite ready to let spring take over completely.

Needless to say, I still find the falling snow beautiful.

Until next time….peace

My Barred Owl Story

Over the holiday season, I was able to photograph a beautiful Barred Owl. The sighting in the natural habitat was absolutely remarkable. I was on my way to pick up some stuff at my nephew’s school. The roads were snowy from the recent accumulation. Of course, I was in rush. As I drove by the wooded area, I spotted the Barred Owl just sitting there on a lower branch. Obviously, the beautiful creature was searching for his next meal.

When I first drove by, I did not have a camera with me. Not even my pocket camera which I had just taken out of my purse. Since I was close to home, I immediately turned around to go get a camera. The whole time, I was thinking, “there was no way the owl would still be there”. As I was rushing out of my drive, I proceeded to get my car stuck. After some time, I managed to get my car back on the road. By this time, I was absolutely convinced the Barred Owl would be gone.

But, sitting on the lower branch right off the side of the road by the Maple River was the beautiful creature. If I would not have been in such a hurry, I could have watched the Barred Owl all day long. The owl was not skittish of me. I managed to snap a lot of pictures. We just seemed to stare at each other. His black eyes were mesmerizing.

After all the years of living in the countryside, I had only witnessed an owl once before in the wild. The last time, I was a child. And, no, I will not tell you how many years ago that occurred. At that time, the owl was flying down to retrieve a dead carcass out of the road. I cannot tell you the type of owl we saw the night. But I can tell you, the initial sighting all those years ago was one of the reasons why I enjoy nature and wildlife.

I find owls completely fascinating. Well, of course, the Harry Potter series confirmed my love for the stunning creatures.

Until next time….peace

 

 

Watching the Sunset

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past.

Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good.”

~Gretchen Rubin~

Watching the sunset allows me to focus on the events of the day.  I love to photograph the setting sun to capture the beauty. Changing clouds and colors speak to my soul.  Some of the days the sunset makes me smile due to the joyous moments. Other days, the setting sun reminds me of how fleeting each moment can be. The joys turn to sorrows as new challenges arise.

The best part of the sun setting is the next day the sun will rise. Giving each of us a new day. I hope your days are more joyous are less sorrowful.

Until next time….peace

Black Swimming Swarm

So what does a person do when a swarming black mass appears in the water? Go investigate. Watching the mass move and divide was fascinating. They would move apart and slowly come back together. The mass would swim in formation for a short time. Then, dividing to start the entire process over again.

Dividing Swarm

 

So of course, I had to get closer to figure out what was forming the swimming, swarming mass.

When viewing wildlife, I tend to move forward without thinking. During this specific time, I learned two valuable lessons.

  1. Never wear shorts and walk through nettles.

After all the years of wandering around in the woods, you would think I would have this engrained in my brain. But…sadly no, the nettles seem extra itchy this time of year. The nettles were waist high. Well, I am short, so maybe they were not as high as I thought.

  1. Remember the creek banks are slippery after rain.

Once again, you would think I would remember this fact too. The grass and mud on the side of the bank were an issue for about a second. I believe I recovered nicely; I did not fall all the way down, get wet or lose the grip on my camera. Wearing hiking boots really should be my priority.

The Black Swimming Swarm

When I finally was close enough, I realized the black swarm swimming in different directions was baby bullheads. I am certain the little black bullheads have a proper name. Sitting on the side of the creek bank, I was mesmerized by the swimming flow of the hundreds of baby bullheads.

Baby Bullheads
They were fascinating to watch. I was glad I was able to get close enough (after a couple mishaps) to identify the black swimming swarm.

 

 

Until next time….peace

 

 

 

Blanding’s Turtle

Wandering around the wooded, marshy area, I came across a unique turtle. From my research, I believe the turtle is a Blanding’s Turtle. I am still researching the endangered turtle. As I find more information, I will share.

Until next time….peace

Nature’s Wonder

I find nature both amazing and intimidating at times. I cannot enter into a wildlife area without seeing something new. During this time of year, I tend to spot first-time blooms. The wild Iris flowers offer a beautiful site among the greenery.

Wild Iris Blooms

The hatching of a new batch of dragonflies. Every time I see dragonflies flying just above the tall weeds in the field, I imagine fairies lurking about watching me photograph the natural scenes.

Dragonflies

Two days ago, I came across a new site in the deeper part of the woods. Usually, the area is still under water this time of year. The Maple River cuts off and runs into the back creek. The warm weather caused the water to dry up faster. Certain areas are still damp and mushy. Yes, mushy is my new word of the day. In any event, the water snails had nowhere to go for water. They attempted to “climb” the trees which were still very moist from being underwater. Unfortunately, without the correct amount of water the snails died. Leaving only their shells behind on the trees. Yes, I know they are not technically called water snails. I am not certain of their correct name. I just found the site of the snails interesting and sad. They were just searching for water.

The snails still attached.
The snails still attached. I am not certain how long they will stay there. I was actually quite surprised that nothing came along and ate them. 
Snails on the trunk of the tress.
Snails on the trunk of the tree. The first time, I had every seen this type of phenomenon. 

 

I hope everyone finds nature as intriguing as I do.

Until next time, peace…..

A Raccoon Story

With the news of a loved one passing away, family members and friends always share memories. The stories help celebrate the life of the person who has left us. After 47 years of marriage, my aunt laid the love her life, my uncle to rest. The stories of his life came from a variety of sources, family, friends, and co-workers. Laughing at the funny stories, the grief of his passing left for an instant.

My uncle was a U.S. Army veteran who received the Purple Heart. And, yes, the playing of Taps at the funeral left no one with a dry eye. I believed my uncle to be a simple man. He worked all of his life in a small factory to support his family. He enjoyed fishing, collecting golf balls (50,000) and vintage record players.

Now, what does his passing have to do with a raccoon? Well, my uncle would sit down on the river flats. While spending hours fishing, he would feed the raccoons. According to the stories, the little pesky creatures would come right up to him and take the food from his hands.

Now, I know logically the raccoon that visited me has no connection with my uncle’s passing. Where I live raccoons are a common sighting, they have been in my bird feeders and frequently play on my porch. (Generally in the middle of the night when I am trying to sleep, I convinced they are having a gathering right under my bedroom window).

The night before my uncle’s funeral, I went to let one my cats in the front door. I was not paying attention which is often my own undoing. My old Siamese cat moves at a slower pace. I got a glimpse of a second animal trailing behind him. Assuming the animal was another one of my cats I held the door open. At that moment, my little dog let out a growl. Glancing back down, the second animal about to enter my door way was a raccoon. Of course, I quickly shut the door. I can just imagine the chaos the little raccoon would create upon entering my house.

Staring up at me, the little raccoon just sat in front of the closed door. Locating some old bread, I threw out the pieces to him (or her I really don’t have the knowledge to tell). I am not brave enough to get closer to the raccoon. The pesky little raccoon may look cute, however; the animal is still a wild creature. Anyways, the entire incident made me think of my uncle.

Now, I have shared my story.

Until next time….peace….