Thursday, January 28, 2021



Yesterday, we'd been having heavy lake-effect snow all morning.  I had planned, according to the weather report, to head out for picture-taking.  I was concerned about the roads but decided to test them close to home before going farther.


 The roads were fine so I headed for the ball park in search of the Snowy Owl.  Right away, my trip paid off because I spotted one atop the building there.  I wasn't sure if I could get closer because the gates are often closed.

I was in luck as the park grounds were open.  I drove around the buildings to the far end where I'd seen the female Snowy.  She was still there but had moved higher up onto the peak.

She spotted me right away but didn't seem the least concerned about my presence, stretching her long body along the roof edge.   

She swiveled her head to the back to check out the ballpark grounds, hoping to sight some prey, especially voles or mice.

Each time she swiveled back, she looked down to see if I was still there.  She was ever-alert to her surroundings.

She made a point to look right at me with those piercing yellow eyes.  Her wings fluttered a bit and I wondered if she was about to fly but it was all a false alarm.  She was staying put.

She began her rotation to check out the ballpark field again, but even in the swivel, she kept me in sight.

I felt really lucky to have sighted my second Snowy of the season, as I've heard they aren't here in great numbers this winter as in years past.  And, oh those eyes!  They really grab you.  Such a beautiful bird.

Thursday, January 21, 2021



We’ve not seen much sun these last ten days so a week ago Wednesday, when the sun finally appeared, I headed out.  Pictures are so much nicer when the sun is shining.  My hopes were to spot a Snowy Owl, so I visited every place I’d seen one.


 I came up empty, however, so I decided to wander around farm country.  The roads were pretty clear and dry and I noticed there wasn’t much snow left on the hills and fields.  


 I saw the sun shining on the fields surrounding a pretty red barn, and added the scene to my collection.  But, actually, I was hoping some critters would materialize.


 Then, in the distant sky, I saw a large bird in the sky.  I was pretty sure it was a Bald Eagle so I drove to an area nearby where I’d often seen eagles in the winter.  


 Right away, I found them in the same tree area where I saw them last year.  I wasn’t really close, but I noticed something new this year.  There were four eagles instead of three.  There were two mature eagles with white heads, and two juveniles with dark heads.


 No matter how often I see and photograph Bald Eagles, they are always majestic birds and so exciting to watch.


 This mature eagle, one of the parents, was pretty intent on watching something on the ground, probably some kind of prey, perhaps a rabbit or squirrel, although they feed primarily on fish when they are near the Lakeshore.


 On another grouping of branches sat two other eagles.  One was the other parent.  Below that was one of the juveniles.  This young eagle was probably between two and a half years old and four years old, due to the amount of white mottling in its feathers.


 Below the older eagles, was the newcomer to the family, a very young eagle, probably 6 months to a year old.  This juvenile had little coloring in its feathers and blended in with the environment more than the others.


 There’s a reason these eagles make this section of trees a major part of their winter habitat.  The farmer that owns the fields in front of these trees puts out deer carcasses, perhaps roadkill, usually in February and March and the eagles come to feast on the meat. Hopefully, that will be coming soon.  What a family portrait this was!


Thursday, January 14, 2021



Logan’s Landing is one of my favorite places to visit.  There is always a variety of waterfowl there to photograph, many of them unusual, including Cackling Geese, Tundra Swans, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, and Double-crested Cormorants.

 There are always people watching, including a lot of birders.  On this particular day, a man was actively feeding the waterfowl, throwing out large hunks of bread.


 It was great fun watching and working on photographing birds in flight, known as BIF in photographer parlance. 


 I was able to get some close-ups of gulls, who were the biggest participators in the feasting.  Not surprising, because gulls always seem to be scavenging for potential food sources.


 The gulls weren’t only in the air.  Many were waiting in the water for the bread to descend.  There was one Tundra Swan too trying to get in on the action.


 A group of mallards was there also, but they seemed more interested in sucking icicles than grabbing for the bread.


 Remember the movie Mary Poppins, when Julie Andrews sang about the old beggar woman who sold bags of breadcrumbs to passers-by so they could feed the pigeons?  She sang: 

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
Feed the birds, that’s what she cries,
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.

That's what this whole scene at Logan's Landing reminded me of. 


Thursday, January 7, 2021



Happy New Year, everyone.  I’m not into resolutions for the new year because they so often get broken.  Instead, I have a wish for 2021: to photograph more lighthouses.  Did you know that Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state?  The current number seems to be 124.  I’ve seen many on the west side of our state, but have only photographed eight.  Here are the one’s in my current collection.


 Grand Traverse Light is the lighthouse I’ve photographed the most due to my years living outside Northport.  Built in 1858 at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, this light, also known as Cat’s Head Point Light, marks the Manitou Passage.  The Passage was a treacherous waterway separating the Manitou Islands from mainland Michigan.  It’s deemed the most dangerous passage on the Great Lakes due to the navigable channel being only a mile wide and home to shoals, sudden storms, and ship collisions.


 Mission Point Light is situated at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula, which divides the east and west arms of Grand Traverse Bay.  I’ve photographed this light often since moving to Traverse City four years ago.  It’s surrounded by woods on three sides with the fourth open to the north end of West Grand Traverse Bay.  It’s a great place to visit for a summer picnic.


 Point Betsie Light is one of my favorites to photograph due to the striking red gambrel roof on the lighthouse keeper’s house next to the white lighthouse tower, and its location among the Benzie County sand dunes. 


 The Frankfort Light is the one I go to when it’s windy.  Located on the north breakwater in the Frankfort harbor, it’s great to photograph the big waves when the winds are high.  I’ve had to wear glasses and use a protective filter on my camera because the winds also kick up a LOT of sand on the beach.


 Old Mackinac Point Light is the last lighthouse I’ve photographed from the Lower Peninsula.  Located at the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, this light was the first attempt to mark the western entrance to the Straits and protect mariners from the dangerous shoals nearby.  When the Mackinac Bridge was completed in 1957, the need for the lighthouse was eliminated because the lights on the bridge at night became a much better navigational aid.


 My current favorite lighthouse is the Crisp Point Light, located on Lake Superior in a very remote area between Munising and Whitefish Point.  The stretch of coast between Whitefish Point and Grand Island, just north of Munising, has become known as The Shipwreck Coast, and it was only 17 miles northeast of Crisp Point that the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a violent storm on November 10, 1975.  The day I took this photo, Lake Superior was wild with winds and high waves.


 The Presque Isle Harbor Breakwater Light is located at the northeast side of Presque Isle Harbor in Marquette, Michigan.  It is an automated light marking the offshore end of the breakwater.  When conditions are safe, people walk the break wall out to the light.


 The Marquette Harbor Light is located on Lake Superior in Marquette, a part of the UP.  It is a challenge to photograph due to the rocky shore and scrubby trees surrounding it.  Regardless, the light really stands out due to its hot pink coloring.  

So, during 2021, my hope is to travel to more of Michigan lighthouses and photograph them for this blog.  Again, let's hope 2021 is a better year for our State and Country.