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Showing posts from May, 2017

A fortuitous badger encounter!

This year marked the 8th year that I've led natural history forays in one of the great hidden gems of eastern North America, Presque Isle County, Michigan. I work in partnership with NettieBay Lodge, and there couldn't be a finer base camp. The lodge and its cabins sit on the shore of a beautiful natural lake. The wild yodels of Common Loons are commonplace, Eastern Whip-poor-wills sing from the forest, an American Woodcock displays nightly in the front yard, and scores of other birds are on the property.

But we range throughout the county and beyond on our day trips. Above, this year's group patrols a remote road in the Pigeon River State Forest. There were Mourning Warblers, Northern Waterthrushes, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Ruffed Grouse, and more at this locale. In sum, the group's total bird list for our 3+ days was 142 species, and if my other observations from pre and post excursions is included, the number soars to over 150 species.

If you're interested in c…

Some images from Michigan

Sorry, I've been remiss in posting of late. Too busy, but having great fun. I've been up in northern Michigan, where I guided a fabulous group of ten people for the better part of five days. We were based at NettieBay Lodge in Presque Isle County, and mostly stayed in that county, with peripheral forays into neighboring Cheboygan and Montmorency counties. We found all manner of cool stuff, including over 140 species of birds.

Before and after the group expedition, I went exploring, and photographing. The last few days I've been on Drummond Island, off the eastern tip of the Upper Peninsula. I'd not visited here before, and am glad I came. Drummond is an absolute goldmine of flora and fauna, always backdropped by stunning scenery.

Following, in no particular order, are a few images from recent days.

Male Golden-winged Warbler, foraging in alder swamp. Pigeon River State Forest.
A pair of male Northern Flickers "dance" while issuing synchronous wicka wicka call…

Ohio Dragonfly Conference: June 23-25

Mark your calendars for the annual Ohio Odonata Society's dragonfly conference, this year dubbed ODO-CON 17. It'll take place at the picturesque Grand River Conservation Campus, owned by the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, in Ashtabula County, from June 23 thru 25. This is smack in the middle of some of Ohio's wildest wetland country, and the area is rich in dragonfly diversity. I remember seeing tiny Sedge Sprites right outside the doors of the building where the talks will take place, and some of the local streams are known for supporting significant clubtail populations.

We'll have fun, and see a great diversity of dragonfly species on field trips. Lots of other elements of natural history, too.

All of the conference details are RIGHT HERE. Everyone is welcome!

Fierce electrical storm

While headed home last night around 8:30 pm, I noticed the makings of a wonderful electrical storm off to the north. As I neared home, the storm intensified, and I saw a potential opportunity to not only observe one of Nature's most awe-inspiring spectacles, but to also try and make some lightning images.

Fortunately, by the time I finally made it back, the storm was still cooking. So I ran in, grabbed some appropriate gear, and tore across the street to a field that offered an unobstructed view to the north. As the storm was raging some distance to the north, there was no rain and not even much wind at my position. Quite often, when good electrical storms offer themselves up, driving rain provides accompaniment. If you've got no protected shelter offering a dry view, forget about making images. Luck was with me last night.

As always, click the photo to enlarge
A sunburst spiderweb of lightning bolts creates an interesting pattern against a roiling sky backlit by other more dis…

A fortuitous fox encounter

I spent yesterday and this morning in Killbuck Marsh and vicinity, an area rich in wildlife. Located near the town of Shreve in Wayne County, Ohio, this region is full of wetlands and other interesting habitats, and always produces noteworthy encounters.
I was out in the marsh bright and early today, stalking birds. After finding an especially productive honey hole and spending several hours watching and photographing many species of birds, I had to head for home. But the allure of ground squirrels was strong, and I opted to make one slight detour and visit a cemetery that harbors a population of these fascinating little "prairie dogs".
A Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel stands near its burrow, ever watchful. One wrong move from your narrator, and he'd be underground in a shot.

I didn't have much to spend stalking squirrels, and after making a few images, I was slowly rolling out in the Jeep. As I neared the cemetery's exit, I spotted another squirrel nearby, stop…

New River Birding and Nature Festival!

Too many days have passed since my last post. I thought I'd be able to make more posts this year, but travels and other activities have my web writing at an all-time low for recent times. It's not that I'm wanting for material - I've been tripping the shutter and seeing interesting organisms at a prolific clip.

The last week+ was occupied with the New River Birding & Nature Festival in Fayetteville, West Virginia. This region is one of the most scenic places in eastern North America, and one of the richest in biodiversity. I've been speaking at and leading trips for the festival for a dozen or so years now without missing a beat, and love each return visit. Check out the festival info RIGHT HERE, and consider adding it to your itinerary in 2018.

I take few photos during these sorts of events - I'm too preoccupied with helping everyone else find and see good stuff. In order to satisfy my photographic addiction, I usually tack on a day or two at one end or th…