Thursday, September 18, 2008

The first splashes of color in the trees are a bright and cheerful reminder that summer will soon be at an end. The shorter days and cooler overnight temperatures have sent life at the Fish Pond into the feeding mode.

The Great Blue Herons are certainly out in full force. There is always at least one to be found somewhere near the pond. There were three that spent time at the pond today. The first arrived shortly after I did and it took it only a few moments for it to find a potential lunch. It made a great stab between the branches of a submerged tree to grab the large trout but pulling it through the tangle of sticks proved to be much more difficult than catching it was.

Unfortunately the arrival of a second bird meant the delay in getting the meal into its mouth meant it was not going to be able to enjoy the fruits of its labors.

While I’m not sure if the first was an immature bird or a female the new arrival definitely appeared to be a male. After driving the first heron to the far shore of the pond he spent several minutes strutting his stuff around the area near the inlet stream and letting everyone know just who’s hunting spot it was.

The third arrived while the ruckus between the first two was taking place and it quietly perched on a branch overlooking the scene. All of the strutting and puffing up his feathers must have made the intended point. The first bird opted to leave and as much as the third wanted to jump in and have lunch it didn’t.

Number three must have decided to try to get to the disputed fish by flying into the woods to the upper portion of the pond’s inlet stream. Perhaps it thought it could sneak in from the back side if the new king of the pond let his guard down.

The king wasn’t going to give an inch though. Defending his hunting spot was even more important to him than eating. He moved back and forth along the shore keeping the challenger at bay. After watching them squabble along the bank and up into the stream for almost an hour and a half they both flew up the stream and off through the woods arguing over the hunting spot that they seemed to have forgotten about.

There has been a new bird around for the last couple of weeks. I believe it is a Solitary Sandpiper and this is the second time in the last three years I have been able to photograph one here at, or near the pond. My bird books are all older editions and they do not show my area as being within the normal breeding area for this bird so maybe I’m just lucky and have been fortunate enough to see a couple who are migrating.

Even if they are just migrating through the area they are still fun to see and photograph. Seeing new animals and plants is always a treat. They bring out the excitement that you can only get when you make a new discovery and to me the best part of spending time outdoors are the almost unending number if new things to find and learn about.

Until next time, get outside and make your own discoveries! Get outside and learn about the wonderful world around you!

Have a great one.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Well, I'm back. After not having the time to make regular visits over the course of the summer I finally got a chance to get out and shoot for a while. Fortunately the Fish Pond is still a popular place for a wide variety of plants and wildlife.

It was incredibly relaxing to be able to sit quietly enjoying the sound of the pond's inlet stream and the wind as it shuffled through the leaves. Watching the wide variety of birds that depend on the pond to get ready for winter is always interesting and there were a lot of them there during this visit. So many in fact that I will save the narrative for my next post and just share a few quick comments and some of the photos from the day.

The bees where very busy taking advantage of the early fall wild flowers.

It looks like the local Mallards were very successful in their breeding this spring. There were certainly a lot of them around.

After several minutes of watching the ducks this young Bald Eagle must have decided try for an easier lunch somewhere else.

The natural soil conditions and lots of recent rain have brought the open areas around the pond to life with wild flowers.

One of the local Great Blue Herons couldn't resist going after this large trout but when it proved to big and slippery he opted for a smaller snack.

Even when they are molting the Wood Ducks are some of the prettiest birds on the pond.

Until my next post don't forget to spend a little quiet time outside!

Have a great one.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

What is it?

Life on the Fish Pond

Over the last few years I have been following the life of a banded Bald Eagle that nests here in northern Michigan. One of my favorite places to watch her is at a pond where she hunts in the springtime.

I noticed her about three years ago and was able to get a good enough photo of her to see that she was banded and to determine that she was born several hundred miles southwest of where she now makes her summer home. She has successfully nested each summer since I have been watching her and she appears to have two eaglets again this year.

In addition to the underwater inhabitants of this great pond she led me to it is also either home to or a visiting spot for many different types of wildlife. Eagles, Ospreys and waterfowl of all types are just some of the wildlife that a patient and quiet observer might be fortunate enough to see.

I have seen and photographed many many interesting things during my visits and I though it might be fun to share what I see during my visits to the "Fish Pond" and other northern Michigan wildlife spots with anyone who might be interested. I visit quite frequently during the springtime and regularly in the summer and will be posting details of my visits here so check back often. Please feel free to ask questions and I will be happy to answer any of them that I can.

Have a great day!