Thursday, November 25, 2021



Giving thanks for family, friends, and other blessings.  Celebrating nature’s bounty and beauty.  Hoping for a softening in issues that divide us.  Praying for an end to the pandemic.


Thursday, November 18, 2021



We all know what a wonderful resource the Boardman Lake is to our community.  I especially love going to Logan’s Landing to watch all the waterfowl that visit the south end.


 During the fall and spring migrations, waterfowl use the lake as a stopover point.  Last May, I saw these American White Pelicans floating on the Boardman.  Who would’ve thought, pelicans in Michigan?


 In the winter, some waterfowl live on the lake because it’s one of the few bodies of stable, open water.  In February, this Double-Crested Cormorant showed off its hooked beak as it stood on a log near the shoreline.


 I love that the Tart Trail system has made so many Traverse City areas accessible to bikers, walkers, and people in wheelchairs.  The nearly completed Boardman Lake Loop Trail is doing that with the lake too.  Recently, this segment along Cass between 14th Street and the NMC University Center opened.


 But as a photographer and nature lover, I’m most excited about the final part of the trail which will run between the University Center and Medalie Park.  In this image, the paved trail turns from Cass towards the University Center building.


 This is where the construction is currently happening as the new trail curves around the north end of the building.


 The trail then proceeds down the steep hill in front of the University Center building.  Gorgeous views of Boardman Lake can be seen from this portion of the trail.


 And then the trail dead-ends at the south end of Boardman Lake.  Here’s where the trail gets interesting.


 I had to drive around to Logan’s Landing to get these next images.  A lot is happening there.  Huge logs of ipe wood are being sunk into the lake bottom across the cove.  Ipe wood is a Brazilian hardwood which is less slippery, has a longer lifespan, and requires less treatment than yellow pine, which is sometimes used in these types of projects.


 In the spring, a boardwalk will be added to these ipe wood supports.  People will be able to bike, walk, and roll wheelchairs across the cove.  And for photographers like me, it will be great to get out onto the water to see the critters that inhabit the Boardman’s south end.  There will also be a second bridge on the other side of Logan’s Landing which will connect the trail to Medalie Park and complete the whole loop.  Looks like it might also be a great place to catch a sunset.




Thursday, November 11, 2021



While I’ve been out shooting fall color and Halloween decorations, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Sandhill Crane population.


 I caught my favorite pair on a hillside behind where I usually see them.  They were farther away than usual, though.  


 My second pair, the vocal ones, were on the other side of the hill.  I noticed the corn field near them was being harvested.  While cranes love to feed on the dregs, all the noise was probably keeping them on alert.


 A couple country blocks away, I saw another group of cranes eating at the edge of a cornfield.  Later on, several more emerged from the woods at the back of the field.  I wondered whether they’d roosted there at night.  I counted over twenty-five cranes that day.


 A few days later I returned to the area.  I wasn’t there long when I heard the distinctive bugling call of cranes in the sky.  I watched as around sixty cranes flew in and landed on the hillside across from where I typically see my two pairs.   A second wave of about thirty landed just beyond the first. 


 A final wave of stragglers flew in and landed on the next hill.  They were much less tightly organized than the first two groups.  Maybe these were the “locals” I’d seen a few days earlier and were just joining the migration.


 After a short stay of only about twenty minutes, the cranes suddenly took to the sky.  Perhaps it’d just been quick pit-stop and rest for the young ones. OMG, what a sight it was against a beautiful backdrop of fall color.


 They continued to climb towards the sky, catching the last treetops of color.  They flew so close together, how did they manage not to collide!  I had to wonder whether my two pairs were caught up in this mass exodus.


 A few days later I returned to the area near sunset.  I was overjoyed that “my” four cranes were still there.  The photography was challenging because I was shooting into the sun, but I still enjoyed watching them a while longer before moving on.

Around the corner and a couple country blocks away, I arrived just in time to see another large group of cranes take off.  It was at the field where I’d previously seen them staging for the migration.  I hadn’t had time to switch to my long lens, but I still got a few good shots against the blue sky and fall color.  


 A few days later, I returned to the spot where I typically see the cranes  and they were there busily feeding on the grasses.  The conditions were about perfect for getting a good shot.


 My attention was quickly grabbed by a second group of cranes which were on the other side of the field from my two.  Where did they come from?


  As they were marching across the field, I noticed there were some young cranes in the group, as their red crowns were just beginning to form.


 While I was photographing the group on the ground, I heard the distinctive rattling call:  kar-r-r-r-o-o-o, kar-r-r-r-o-o-o.  More cranes were flying in.  I could see three waves of them.


 Silhouetted against the sun low in the sky, I watched the cranes dip their heads and drop their long legs as they prepared to land.  I’ve photographed Sandhill Cranes in this particular area for five years and have never seen anything like the continual migrating waves I’ve seen this year. 


 How many more waves would there be?  When would my two pairs join the long trip to Florida and the Gulf Coast where Michigan cranes overwinter?  According to weather forecasts, colder temperatures and snow are arriving soon.  Get a move-on cranes!  Or perhaps they know something that we don’t.






Thursday, November 4, 2021



The temperatures dropped, the sun came out, and the fall vistas popped with brilliant color.  It was as good as any other year in the North Country.  We just had to be patient a little longer for it to arrive, but fall color was worth the wait.