Thursday, April 29, 2021



I was out on my Sunday afternoon drive looking for something to grab my attention for picture-taking.  I was south of town in farm country, but couldn’t do my whole route because I’d forgotten to fill up on gas before I left the city.  Ugh!


I came across a large pond that had several beaver lodges, or dams as they are also called.


 Spent cattails and milkweed pods surrounded the pond and added to its beauty.


 What I was looking for was the beaver.  I finally found it popping up in the middle of the pond.  A cutie.


 It took to the water shortly, its long body swimming.  Its eyes were above the water, alligator-style, and the long tail was just below the surface.


 Every once in a while, I’d get a better look at its tail being used as a rudder as it swam.  The beaver can be up to 50 inches long, including its tail.  I really wanted to see those large front teeth, but it wasn’t going to show me, so I moved on.


 I came to a smaller pond, also with a large dam.  There was something on top of it, but I couldn’t tell what it was.


 I got a bit closer and I still wasn’t sure.  It seemed like there was a head sticking up at the back.


 Finally, the critter moved its head and I could see it was a goose.  It appeared she was using the beaver lodge for a nest.  How opportunistic!


 As I turned around, my low fuel light came on so I headed back towards town.  I was lucky, though, because I spied my two favorite Sandhill Cranes pecking away in a distant sunlit field.  I’m glad they’ve survived this up and down weather we’ve been having.






Thursday, April 22, 2021



Sunday was a beautiful day, so a friend and I headed to Charlevoix to check out its lighthouse.  We discovered a lot more in this beautiful city on our afternoon.


 We found the Lake Michigan beach at the south end of Charlevoix and Boulder Park.  As its name implied, it was a rocky shoreline with many boulders in the area and even in people’s yards.


 We turned around and headed toward the city, our eyes searching for a lighthouse.  I expected it to be at the tip of this coastal point of land, where most lighthouses are located.  But it wasn’t.


 I finally sighted the bright red light near what appeared to be some kind of pier or breakwater.  I could see water on both sides.  From my perspective, it seemed like an odd place for a lighthouse.


 From a hill, I could see the light marked the entrance to another waterway.  I learned later that the lighthouse marked the Pine River entrance to the channel to Round Lake and then Lake Charlevoix.


 According to Terry Pepper in his Seeing the Light website, the “Pine River Channel is believed to be unique in the entire world inasmuch as it has a two-way current.  After severe westerly windstorms, waters pushed high into Lake Charlevoix will swiftly flow back out to meet other inbound currents.  Small whirlpools and eddies at the harbor mouth are not uncommon, and whitecaps can frequently be observed within the channel on the calmest days.”


 While this steel structure, installed in 1948, is unmanned, it is still a significant aid to navigation, especially benefiting the Beaver Island Ferry which makes its two hour plus journey to the island on a daily basis.


 While turning around to take one last picture of the lighthouse, I saw this unusual building known as a mushroom house.  Self-taught builder Earl Young built 26 of these unique homes, which are also known as Gnome Homes or Hobbit Houses.


 Taking one last picture of the lighthouse, we headed into town to visit another famous site, Kilwins Charlevoix, home to delicious ice cream, chocolates, and fudge.  A perfect ending to the afternoon.


Thursday, April 15, 2021



It looked like it was brightening up late Sunday afternoon, so Gracie and I headed out to see what spring flowers were popping.  Truth be told, we were dodging raindrops much of the time.  It was worth it to see all the colorful flowers and buds that were brightening the landscapes.  But the blossoms weren’t the only thing bringing color to the spring.  Birds are in their bright spring finery too.  This male Goldfinch is a perfect example. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021



I’ve been ready to explore some new places and headed out Easter evening north of town.  I think I was in the Williamsburg area.  It was a farm area too but without the ponds and wetlands that I’ve found south of town.  I saw several old barns, beautiful, shapely fields, and some interesting stands of birch trees. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021



Another sunny day sent Gracie and me back to farm country after dinner.  We were fascinated by what we saw in the fields that evening.


 In a field a couple country blocks from where I often see my crane pair, I saw two more Sandhill Cranes.  I was certain they were different from my regular pair because they were much lighter in color.

This pair was younger too because their feathering was very lightweight and unmarked by life’s journeys.


 This male was a beauty!  He was very tall in comparison to the female.  His legs were especially long.

 He reminded me of the juvenile male that was in a family with two young ones that I saw in September of 2019, shown in this picture.  That male towered above both his parents!


 Both of today's cranes were busy foraging in the field.  No sign of dancing.  I wondered if they were even a breeding pair, which doesn’t happen until they are between two and seven years old.  


 We continued our drive and next came upon a couple swans deep foraging in a corn field.  It surprised me because they are mostly waterbirds.


 One caught sight of me or, more likely, Gracie hanging out the window.  I didn’t want to disturb their eating so on we drove.


 The next field was interesting but elusive.  I saw a flock of birds, which were not familiar to me, fly as a group into a field.  They are barely visible in this shot.


 All of a sudden, the whole flock would rise up and fly in one direction, then they’d zag back in the opposition direction, and then they’d zig back and land.  It was amazing to watch, but I wish I knew what the birds were.


 One the way home, it was nearly dark.  I was watching the roadside ponds and caught sight of this beautiful Wood Duck.  Couldn’t resist one more shot, even though it wasn’t a field critter.