Saturday, February 27, 2016

Painted Skies

The big snowstorm missed us.  The big winds didn't, churning up the Bay and Lake with roaring water and waves.  But as I drove home along M-22 to Northport, Spring was on my mind as sunshine leaked through the clouds and painted the skies with setting sun beauty.

Friday, February 19, 2016

In Search Of.....Something

I'm always thinking of what my next blog focus will be.  I'd been chasing a couple bald eagles off M-22 and two barred owls that sing to each other in the trees outside my porch some evenings.  I'd not been successful, however, with photographing either of these pairs.  I decided to follow the shoreline and see what other types of birds or waterfowl I might see.

Just past the Bight, I'd seen graceful swans and honking geese in past years, but on this day, I only saw miniature ice formations dotting the shoreline.

Inside the village, I visited Northport Creek, where I'd often seen flocks of ducks holed up for the winter.  But not today.

Driving through the marina, I had to stop at one of my favorite photography subjects, the red-topped gazebo.  Ducks often inhabit the shoreline, but all I saw was slushy ice.  There was some sunshine, however, and a hint of blue skies.

The waterfall still flowed at the Mill Pond, which was iced over and without waterfowl.

I decided to head towards Mougey Lake outside Omena, as I'd seen two swans there in the fall.  I feared it would be frozen over because of the cold spell we'd been having and it was.  It was still a pretty scene with the snow cover untouched by animal or human tracks.

Ahead of me, Omena Bay sparkled in the meager sunshine and tiny ice mountains lined the shoreline, but no swans there either.  

I decided to cross the peninsula to the one last place I'd seen waterfowl in the winter on Lake Michigan.  As I rounded the bend after Three Silo Farm, I gasped at the beauty of the view.  I've seen it a hundred times and have photographed it nearly as many.  The scene always grabs me.  Orchards, willow trees, Big Blue, the Manitou, the sky....all spread out before me.

About the only place to get to the shoreline is at Gill's Pier Beach, since both Christmas Cove and Peterson Park are closed off for the winter.  But the Gill's Pier Beach lacked birds too.  I didn't even see seagulls!  While I didn't see the waterfowl I'd hoped to photograph, I was reminded of how the Land and Water interact with each other to create this beautiful place we call Leelanau.

Friday, February 12, 2016


We've had plenty of new snow this week, but temperatures have dipped into the deep freeze, thanks to the Polar Vortex.

Winds are whipping up all the fluffy, new snow and making visibility a challenge in many areas.

Still, the recent snowfall has created many lovely snowscapes throughout the Leelanau township.

Skies are constantly changing and patches of blue occasionally open up.

Lake Michigan looks gray and cold, yet its water temperatures are still above our air temperatures, contributing to all the lake effect snow we've been getting.

Enjoy the beautiful snowscapes that dot our countryside....

but keep yourself warm!

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Snowy Picnic

The morning was a sunny one and I was on my way to my writing group.  As I passed a group of picnic tables, I spied a Snowy Owl perched at the end of one of them.

I was picking up a friend, so after I did that, I returned to the picnic area to see if the Snowy was still there.  For the third time this winter, I lucked out.  The Record-Eagle recently had an article on snowy owl sightings, so I guess I'm not alone in seeing them.

The bird was facing away from me as I drew closer.  It appeared lighter in coloring than the other two birds I'd seen and I wondered if it might be a male.

It was behaving normally for Snowy Owls with swiveling its head from side to side looking for rodent prey.  With 14 vertebrae in its neck, the Snowy is capable of turning its head an amazing 270 degrees.  This was the first time, however, I'd see it on a perch so low to the ground.

The Snowy turned directly towards me and I could see it had its third eyelid up protecting its eyes from the bright sunlight.  Seeing it from the front, I wasn't so sure it was a male because its markings were similar to the female I'd photographed a few days before.

There is so much to enjoy in watching the Snowy Owl.  Its immense size and uniqueness in the bird world is amazing!  I also love the striking coloring and the fluffy white feathers framing its face and nose.

But it's always those brilliant yellow eyes that grab me the most.  Piercing and sinister-appearing, the eyes let one know this bird isn't a critter to be reckoned with.