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.


  1. Wow! Your trip to the marsh yield great shots of a variety of birds, Karen!
    I hope you and Gracie a great 4th of July!

  2. Thanks, Jan. It was fun to shoot at someplace different.