Thursday, September 29, 2022



In bird speak, staging refers to birds gathering together before migration.  Staging sites include abundant, predictable food resources where birds prepare to migrate south for the winter.

 I first saw evidence that staging was beginning when I saw this group of eight Sandhill Cranes mid-August.  


 Then last week I saw 30-some cranes grazing on a hillside, although I couldn’t get them all in one picture with my long lens.


 I’ve also seen several small crane families throughout the Kingsley farm country where I often take pictures.  Most have a juvenile getting ready for its first long migration flight.


 Mainly though, I return to the fields near the four-corners-ponds where my favorite crane family lives.  I love watching the juvenile as it continues to full growth.


 Watching the youngster master quirky crane moves always delights me.


 Sunday evening I caught them feeding at the edge of the cornfield.  Right away the big male came out and began loudly bugling to protest my presence.


 The female hung back, though, shyly remaining within the corn forest.


 The juvenile stayed close to its mother also.  I noticed how its feathers were becoming more gray as it aged.  I didn’t stay long, wanting them to have adequate feeding time.


 I drove around a while seeking other subjects and swung back by the crane field for one last look.  I found them pecking away to bulk up for their long migration flight.  I wonder if they know they’re my favorites.



Thursday, September 22, 2022



Yes, fall is here.  Well, almost, as the autumnal equinox is at 9:03 p.m. tonight.  Fall colors are appearing too, although mostly on the ground with field grasses and crops turning gold.  Stands of trees show the bright greens of summer are fading and reds and golds are emerging in places. Lots more to come.



Thursday, September 15, 2022



I was out shooting when I came around a bend to a whole flock of pheasants.  A farmer was curbing them into a nearby field and protecting them from traffic.  As I snapped away, he told me these were one and two-year old Ring-necked Pheasants that he’d bred.  As is typical with birds, the male was the beauty with its red and blue head plumage and the unmistakable white ring around its neck.  I guessed, a bit sadly, that they’d been raised to be game birds.

Thursday, September 8, 2022



Over a million birds migrated through Grand Traverse County last night, according to Birdcast.  Two of them were the Great Blue and Green Herons.  I saw them often this summer in the four-corner ponds where I often take pictures and will miss them as they move to warmer climates for the winter.  Safe travels, beautiful ones! 

Monday, September 5, 2022



H-58 is the county highway that runs from Munising to Deer Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  I’d driven it west of Grand Marais several times to see the Pictured Rocks, but never east.  That became my drive for the morning. 

Beautiful stretches of Lake Superior vistas were along the way.  Pull-offs were often dicey with deep sand, but I didn’t get stuck, fortunately.  Can't imagine trying to call AAA from here!


 Stands of evergreens against a blue sky made for a pretty scene, I thought.


 Fields of Goldenrod seemed to be everywhere.


 I love the peeks of Superior I got through the sand dunes.


 I often saw people with buckets hunting for Agates on the shoreline .


 Then I saw a sign for the Blind Sucker Campground and pulled in.  I had no idea that the Blind Sucker was a creek which had a small dam on it that flooded certain areas to improve habitats for fish and other critters.  

The flooded area was lovely and I could see how it would be perfect for waterfowl and also kayaking. 

Right away, I saw a Great Blue Heron standing still as a statue close to the shoreline.  I quickly drove on not wanting to disturb.

I moved on and caught another sight of Superior with rollers moving in from the big lake.

I finally came to what I was hoping to visit, The Ugly Fish Baking Company, just outside Deer Park.  It’s owned and run by writer and baker Ellen Airgood and her husband Rick.  I stocked up on delicious goodies, but the caramel apple pie bars to die for.

I asked Ellen why she named her new business The Ugly Fish Baking Company.  She told me she and Rick live on Muskallonge Lake, just across the highway.  She’d heard that in Chippewa, Muskallonge means ugly fish.


 As I turned around and headed back to Grand Marais, I took one last picture of Lake Superior, knowing my UP trip was coming to a close.

Saturday, September 3, 2022