Monday, October 30, 2023



Traverse City and its surrounding areas are decked out for tomorrow’s Halloween celebration.  Be prepared to have fun, be spooked out, and be safe.

Thursday, October 26, 2023



I got an Audubon e-bird alert that large numbers of cranes were assembling on Zue Road near Buckley.  

They call it a “staging” area when Sandhill Cranes gather to rest and replenish energy reserves for their migration to winter habitats in Florida.

When I arrived, it was pretty chaotic with cranes flying in, jumping around, and creating a cacophony of sound with their bugling calls.

The field where the birds were staging was huge so I took a movie with my phone to capture the scope of the scene, although it was too far away for sharp images.  I think you’ll get the idea, though.

I next turned my long lens towards the sky to capture the fly-ins and saw this family with two youngsters navigating electrical wires.  Luckily, cranes fly in the daytime so they can see where they’re going versus many birds who experience the dangers of the night sky for their migration.

I watched another pair begin their descent to the ground, legs coming down as landing gear, wings outstretched for balance and drag.  

Floating through the fall color added beauty to their landing.

Once on the ground, the cranes ate and preened to keep their flight feathers in shape.  A lone young crane, still without its red crown markings, seemed lost about what to do.  What did it make of all the chaos of its first migration?

I wondered whether “my” seven farm country cranes were part of this group of hundreds.  I left Zue Road and headed to the Kingsley four-corners and immediately saw the family with the youngster near the soybean field where they live.  I could see the red crown was beginning to show on the juvenile.

Nearby, my favorite pair stood just outside their corner pond habitat.  I didn’t see the other non-breeding pair in their regular spot, though.  I know that every time I visit their habitat this time of year, it could be the last time I see them until spring.  Safe travels, birdies.

Monday, October 23, 2023



It would’ve been nice to get some pictures with blue skies and sunshine highlighting the fall colors.  But it wasn’t to be this fall.  Don’t let the gray skies stop you from a drive-around.  The colors are gorgeous and peaking.

Thursday, October 19, 2023



You’ve probably seen what looks like a large swamp as you travelled south along M-22 not far from Glen Arbor. 

 Narada Lake is an actually a wetland refuge that is an oasis for wildlife.  Loons nest on the shore during the summer and many waterfowl use the wetland as a stopover during spring and fall migrations.  Bald eagles, herons, muskrat, and mink also live in the rich habitat.

The new boardwalk along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail allows access for bikers and walkers to the many of the natural and historic areas of Narada Lake.

The most prevalent critter at the lake is the beaver.  You’ll see evidence of their presence from the numerous downed trees among the lily pads.  

But nowhere is the presence of the beaver more worrisome than at the 150-year-old Goffar Barn, which is in danger of being lost to the encroaching waters due to these critters who’ve built their dams around the lake.

Currently, fundraising is underway to move the historic structure, which stands partially in Narada Lake, 80 feet away from the water closer to the farmhouse. 

As I continued around the beautiful lake, several placards highlighted the sights along the way.

One sign was labeled Ghost of the Past.  It described the once-bustling 1860 village of North Unity which boasted a school, sawmill, store, and dance hall.  The village was decimated by fire in 1872 with only the school remaining.  The school is a short walk up a path and has been restored to its original log appearance.

While I didn’t see any loons or eagles, perhaps due to the time of day I visited, I did see this beautiful red dragonfly.

With one last look from the boardwalk, I think Narada Lake is one place I’ll revisit in the early morning or late evening when the chance for seeing critters is greater.  The surrounding trees make the lake another site for fall color viewing.

Monday, October 16, 2023


 With Halloween only a couple weeks away, pumpkins are popping up all over.  What fun to see the many varieties!  😉