Thursday, September 30, 2021



I drove on my regular two-track in farm country to see if my cranes were there.  I was in luck. My two regulars were there, plus a second pair. 


 The second pair was noisily vocalizing in their unison call, affirming their pair solidarity.  I think the male is on the left and the female on the right.


Suddenly, the female began to display, throwing out her huge wings and continuing her call.


 The female jumped into the air and both birds continued their rattle, although the male seemed less vocal.


The female went higher still, really into her display.  The male watched, somewhat standoffish from his mate.


 The female started a second sequence of jumps, vocalizing loudly.  The male continued to watch, but appeared unaffected by her moves.  

 Up she went again one more time.  And the male just watched.

She came down and looked at her mate who once again didn’t react.  What was going on here, I guessed she wondered.

Finally, she turned away and ruffled her feathers.  This is a common action after dancing to dispel dust and feather dander.

Finally, a reaction from the male as he ruffled his feathers too.  It was interesting to watch these two interact...or not...but who knows what was really going on between them.





Thursday, September 23, 2021



Yesterday afternoon fall arrived with the autumnal equinox.  All kinds of images popped into my mind.  Apples.  Pumpkins.  Mums.  Squash and gourds.  A touch of red in some trees.  Farm stands loaded with fresh fruit.  It’s one thing I love about living in Michigan.  There are four distinct seasons and something different to enjoy in each one. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021



The air is different when you step outside.  Can you feel it?  The foliage in the countryside is a healthy green, thanks to the recent rains.  Yet the crops, such as corn and beans, are beginning to turn gold as they die away.  The two together—the greens and the golds—make for engaging landscape views.  In another month, the fall colors will add even more vibrancy to the scenery.  Yes, we are inching our way to a new season.

Thursday, September 9, 2021



I took nearly a thousand pictures of Sandhill Cranes over the last couple of weeks and none were remarkable.  No dancing.  No cranes in flight.  No young ones.  What was remarkable was what beginning to happen within the crane population.


 I started where I normally see my two cranes.  It looked like they were laying down because just their heads were showing.  I’ve learned, however, they were standing in a small valley.


 I moved on and almost immediately, I saw another pair of cranes in a field down the road a bit.  They too were a non-breeding pair without young ones.


 I chuckled at the vocalizations going on between them.  The weird sounds immediately brought Gracie to the car window to watch.


 When I saw the third pair of cranes, I knew something was up.  Late in the summer, Sandhill Cranes begin to abandon their nesting territories, and flock to staging areas to fatten themselves up for the migration south.


 I next came upon four more cranes who were hunting and pecking for food in even another field.  With so many cranes in the area, I surmised this area might be a "pre-staging" area.



There are several major staging areas in Jackson County.  Over 80,000 cranes are known to congregate in marshlands there for their migration in November to Florida.  I was guessing the cranes in our area are getting ready to fly to this staging area.


 The Sandhills weren’t the only birds massing up.  Across the road in another field, large numbers of geese were gathering.  I don’t know what their migration process is like, but I think it is starting to happen with the geese too.


It was getting pretty dark for picture-taking, and by this time in the evening the group of four had grown to eight.  It will be interesting to watch what happens as migration nears for Michigan’s largest birds.






Thursday, September 2, 2021



A couple of my favorite, late summer flowers are in bloom right now:  the Hibiscus and the Rose of Sharon.  I recently learned they are from the same family.  They have large showy flowers in a variety of colors.  I often go on my photoshoots in the early evening, but I’ve discovered that isn’t the best time to shoot hibiscus.  They have an inborn circadian rhythm where they open their flowers during the day and then close them at night.  Unfortunately, I was catching them as they started to close.  The last five images are of the deep pink Rose of Sharon bush in my own yard.  It’s only in its second season but its full of blossoms and buds.  The hummers and bumble bees also favor its flowers.