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….

From Today’s Wanderings

Originally, my plan for today was to mow the lawn. After I reached half way around my yard, I soon realized, I could not finish. The yard had standing water from the other night’s rain. So, I decided to do some wandering.

Being in nature and unplugging for a short time helps me stay creative.

This little frog was attempting to get warm by sunning himself on a branch.
This little frog was attempting to get warm by sunning himself on a branch.

Frogs and more frogs, and tadpoles….

Just floating along....
Just floating along….
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On the pond’s edge
Tadpole
Tadpoles of all sizes were visible.

Some wildlife was harder to spot than others.

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Hidden bunny

Who is watching who?

One of the does watching me.
One of the does watching me.

Sandhill Cranes: Up Close and Personal

“Look deep into nature,

and then you will understand

everything better.”

~Albert Einstein~

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.

Until next time….peace

Buzzard’s Day

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.

I love how they perch themselves on top of my old barn.
I love how they perch themselves on top of my old barn.

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.

Until next time….peace

 

 

The Return of the Sandhill Cranes

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.

Until next time….peace…..

Save the Eagles Day

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.

This beautiful Eagle was in my neighbors tree. I am so happy everyone in my neighborhood does not think anything of me standing in the road while I take pictures of animals around their property.
This beautiful Eagle was in my neighbors tree. I am so happy everyone in my neighborhood does not think anything of me standing in the road while I take pictures of animals around their property.

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.

Until next time….peace