Monday, October 31, 2022

BOO! Happy Halloween


As is typical of Traverse City, the ghosts and goblins have been busy decorating their yards for this holiday.  Be safe and have fun today.



Thursday, October 27, 2022



We’re past peak fall color now, but I couldn’t resist one more outside foray to capture the season’s waning beauty.


 If you’re lucky, and the sun is shining on a wooded vista, you would hardly notice the difference.


 There is still plenty of “yellow wood” in the forests too.


 And some variety of trees just hold onto their color longer.


 But over the last few days, the colors have begun to dull a shade or two. 


 Yellows to golds to browns.


 But the changes in nature aren’t happening just to the trees.  The fall bird migration is underway too. Throughout October, cranes have been gathering in small groups to prepare for their trips.  These two families will be taking their juveniles south for the first time.


 Until Monday, though, I hadn’t seen evidence that the migration was actually underway.  Then, I saw a large group of Sandhill Cranes late afternoon congregating in a distant field after a day in the air. 


 Frustrated that I couldn’t get closer, I pulled Google Earth up on my iPhone to see if there was a way into the habitat, which had ponds and fields of corn dregs.  The closest I could get was the seasonal road running along the bottom of the map. 

Trumpeter Swans were flying in too and I caught this family with a juvenile making its first migration from Alaska and British Columbia to the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and North Carolina.


 Wave after wave of geese flew in last, honking loudly as they approached.  It appeared that the habitat was large enough to accommodate all three migrating species in their own areas.


 Not being able to catch any close-ups of the birds, I moved on to check on the crane family I’d been following throughout the summer and fall.  They’d been in the same field every time I visited all season, but for the third day in a row, the field was empty.  I think they’ve left and it made me sad.  For me, the seasonal transition from fall to winter is the hardest.


Thursday, October 20, 2022



A week ago Tuesday, the color hadn’t popped but when I went to church Sunday, I could see a lot had changed in five days.  While the skies were gray and light rain fell continuously, the weather forecast was for more rain, possibly snow, and high winds.  I wanted to catch the peak fall color before the winds blew it away so I set out around the Leelanau Peninsula on M-22.  Despite the conditions, the vibrant colors did not disappoint.


Just outside of Traverse City


 Lee Point


 On M-22 North


 A barn outside Suttons Bay


 Near Belanger Creek




 Omena Bay


 Heading down the Lakeside on M-22 South


 Outside Northport


 Houdek Dunes area


 Near Little Traverse Lake


 Not far from Port Oneida


 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore


 Looking across Glen Lake at Alligator Hill



Monday, October 17, 2022



It was nearing sunset and I’d come to Logan’s Landing to show Northport friends the new Boardman Lake Loop Trail.  We stood on the bridge as the sky reflected golden sunset hues.


I heard them before I saw them, two Sandhill Cranes bugling loudly as they flew overhead, their legs straight out behind their bodies.



As the pair dropped lower in the sky, they began to fly into the orange tones of the sunset.  They looked down, as if seeking a landing spot.  I madly clicked away, hoping I was tracking them accurately with my camera.


 Lower they came, their legs coming down as they prepared to land, dark silhouettes against an orange-tinted sky.  It was breathtaking. 


 They drifted in front of the tree line, floating down towards the Boardman.


 Almost there!  How majestic they looked, hovering just over the water.




 The pair foraged for insects and fish in the shallow water and mudflats.  I continued clicking, hoping I was getting them in focus.


 I watched them a while longer, but the light was getting low for good photography.


 As the cranes continued to stroll through the darkening water, my friends and I left the trail.  I was amazed at how often I’m in search of cranes and tonight they just happened to arrive where I was.  It doesn’t get much better than this.





Thursday, October 13, 2022



With Tuesday supposedly being the last day of sunshine, and ten days of rain and clouds forecast, I headed out to see how the fall color was coming along.  The color was spotty, vibrant in places, drab in others.  Peak appeared to be a week away.  I wondered what the cold and rain would do to the remaining colors.  Could this be as good as it gets?