Thursday, July 30, 2020

Glimpses of the Bay

We live in a beautiful area, and having Grand Traverse Bay so close by only enhances that beauty.  When I'm out driving around, I often catch glimpses of the bay from the hills and through the trees.  I have vivid memories of driving north from Kalamazoo and catching the first sight of the bay from M-37 and knowing I’d finally arrived.  That’s what my first image shows.  Enjoy the rest of the sightings of the bay taken from the hilly areas of Traverse City and Old Mission Peninsula.

Thursday, July 23, 2020


I knew some clouds were predicted, but it was a blue, nearly cloudless sky when I left for one of my favorite spots on Old Mission.  When I arrived at the tip, just before the entrance to Lighthouse Park, I pulled over next to the rocky shoreline and watched the sun descend through the clouds and behind the land of the Leelanau Peninsula across West Bay.  Despite the clouds, I got some good shots of the sun peeking through here and there and especially of the afterglow, where the sun reflected on the clouds above.  Enjoy the show!

Thursday, July 16, 2020


Lilies are one of my favorite flowers, and I think they must have been one of poet Mary Oliver's favorites too, as she wrote several poems about them.  Enjoy her poem below, along with some of my recent lily photographs. 

Lilies by Mary Oliver
I have been thinking
about living
like the lilies
that blow in the fields.

They rise and fall
in the edge of the wind,
and have no shelter
from the tongues of the cattle,

and have no closets or cupboards,
and have no legs.
Still I would like to be
as wonderful

as the old idea.
But if I were a lily
I think I would wait all day
for the green face

of the hummingbird
to touch me.
What I mean is,
could I forget myself

even in those feathery fields?
When Van Gogh
preached to the poor
of course he wanted to save someone--

most of all himself.
He wasn't a lily,
and wandering through the bright fields
only gave him more ideas

it would take his life to solve.
I think I will always be lonely
in this world, where the cattle
graze like a black and white river--

where the vanishing lilies
melt, without protest, on their tongues--
where the hummingbird, whenever there is a fuss,
just rises and floats away.

Oliver's poem was taken from her book "New and Selected Poems."

Thursday, July 9, 2020


Because the National Cherry Festival was postponed this summer until next, due to Covid-19, the Traverse City community is finding a new way to celebrate cherries.  They’re calling it a Porch Parade.  Throughout the area, people are decorating their porches and yards with cherry decorations, lights, and patriotic symbols.  As at Halloween and Christmas, some have gone all in and others are simple displays.  There’s a map online of the Porch Parade homes at the Cherry Festival website.  It’s been nice weather, so head out for an evening drive to check out all this creativity...of course, with the air conditioning going full blast.

Thursday, July 2, 2020


North of Elk Rapids, there’s a large marsh that I discovered about a year ago.  I decided it was time for a re-visit.

I noticed it was much denser with algae growth than before, perhaps due to our hot weather.  At first glance, there didn’t seem to be much going on.

When I settled in to the quiet of the place, I began to see some things.  There was a group of mallards but it was especially exciting to catch the colorful Wood Duck on the far right.

A pair of Trumpeter Swans were floating at the back of the marsh with their young cygnet.  I wondered if there had been more little ones.

Then I spotted my mystery duck.  It resembled a mallard, but the bill was a dark blue-black.

I turned to my local Audubon friends for identification, and got four different answers.  Finally, the consensus seemed to be the duck was a Blue-winged Teal.  It’s always exciting to spot a new species.

As I drove forward, I flushed a Sandhill Crane from the marshland, and it took to the sky immediately.

I followed it across the sky until it came in for a landing on the far side of the swamp, in a more protected area.

I was hoping to see a heron in this area where I’d seen many others.  Luck was with me as I spotted this Green Heron in a tree.

It spotted me right away and turned in my direction so I could get this front on, goofy-looking shot.

It turned back and I thought I’d have more time with the Green Heron.  They are pretty common here in the summer and I was excited to photograph this colorful bird.  It’s smaller than a Great Blue, but still lovely in appearance, although not so statuesque.

It didn’t stay long, though, and soon took to the sky.  It was fun seeing critters in a different habitat and I’m always looking for new spots in the Traverse City area to explore.