Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Three Miles From Pavement
|Twin fawns in my meadow|
all photos by Jonathan Schechter
I do not live out in the wilds, but I am three miles from the closest paved road.There are only four, or maybe it's five traffic lights in my hilly township of 36 square miles. Wilderness? No way. But northern Oakland County is full of wildness and special moments of nature. That is why I live here in an older house perched on top of a eroded glacial hill, my window to nature's way and a source of constant inspiration for Earth's Almanac. More importantly those moments of nature following their evolutionary course in a human dominated world are moments of peace for me. (All these photos are within 200 yards of my front door)
|An eastern bluebird attending to his young: on my driveway fence post|
Can't do that in the city!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Turkey Vultures Get Wet Too - and can clue you to directions.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
A dead tree limb--and a hummingbird
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The dawn of summer nights! The moon, a tractor and fireflies.
|photo by Jonathan Schechter 5:43 a.m June 17, 2011|
Monday, June 20, 2011
Lightning Awareness Week : Being safe is not a matter of prayer
|photos by Jonathan Schechter|
Lightning Quick Facts From NOAA
Lightning often strikes the same place
repeatedly if it is a tall, isolated object.
Most lightning victims are in open areas
or near a tree.
In Florida, lightning kills more people
than all other storm-related weather events.
Lightning can heat its path through the air
to five times hotter than the surface of
Severe weather is becoming our new norm; and lightning is no exception. Summer is the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena— lightning: A force that is responsible for some of the fires raging in Arizona and Florida. Summer dawns on Tuesday. In the United States, an average of 55 people are killed each year by lightning. To date, there has been 5 deaths in 2011.
Michigan ranks second to Florida from injuries from lightning. Hundreds of people are permanently injured each year in the USA. People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, severe burns, cardiac issues, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms and depression. This is LIGHTNING AWARENESS WEEK and the National Weather Service is pushing its slogan, "When Thunder Roars -Go Indoors!" Wise advice. What is not wise behavior is the human thought process of, "I'll be OK, I pray to be safe." Take a look at the photos above from the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Nothing wrong with prayer if it gives you sense of comfort, but if this statue needs a lightning rod for protection--perhaps we need to be more aware and use common sense too when thunder rumbles. Stack the deck in your favor and give lightning the respect it deserves - - and demands.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Rabid groundhog bites an Oakland County woman.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Strawberry Fields Forever
Monday, June 13, 2011
THE BARE FACTS: Sex, Wanderlust Fever & Habitat (But mostly sex.)
|A large Michigan black bear. NOT photographed at Hudson Mills Metro Park!|
file photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Wanderlust fever. Good habitat. Sex.
Those are the three main factors that make a young black bear wander. But mostly it's all about the sex.
So before you get nervous about the (probable) black bear sighting on Saturday, June ll, on the West River Trail of Hudson Mills Metropark near Dexter know this:
That black bear does not want to eat you.
And it certainly does not want to mate with you.
And here is another bare fact about black bears in SE Michigan. A black bear in our neck of the woods is not improbable or extraordinary and except for the novelty of "Oh my God, I think that's a bear!", a bear exploring SE Michigan is not really a big news item.
For the past dozen years black bears have been pushing south. A few years ago a black bear was confirmed in the Waterloo State Recreation Area midway between Jackson and Ann Arbor. Bear rumors growled about last year near the Ortonville and Hadley State Recreation Areas. And last fall Oakland County Sheriffs Deputy searched for a bear reported in a wooded back yard on Perry Lake Road in Brandon Township less than a mile from my home. (I was there scouting about with our deputies. No bear found. I have no idea what their plan was if we found the reported wanderer. Maybe the deputies thought I had a plan.) Two summers ago a bear was flattened on I-75 not far from Genesys Hospital just north of the Oakland County line. And back in 1988 a bear went a wandering into downtown Clarkston. A media circus of mayhem and madness followed the bear.
The DNR live-trapped that bear and trucked it back north.
Black bears wander wide and far searching for good habitat and potential mates. And sex.
And without much chance of finding a bear lady looking for romance on the meandering trails and in the sultry woods of Hudson Mills that black bear will in all likelihood keep on moving.
And hoping. And dreaming.
A FEW WORDS ON SAFETY: If you encounter a black bear you never ever turn and run! Running incites a predatory response be the animal a cougar, coyote or black bear. Just back away slowly and keep an eye on the bear. Bears, like people often follow trails. Give a bear a wide berth. Happy hiking!
For more bare facts on the Hudson Mills bear sightings see the Metropark website.
http://www.metroparks.com/ Got to their blogs link.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Season of the Fawn: Rules of Engagement
Saturday, June 11, 2011
A Turtle, A Leech and Me
|Painted turtles sunning on a log along the edge of the Polly Ann Trail|
photos by Jonathan Schechter
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Nature's Magic! The bonus of fishing at dawn
|A male red-winged black bird: just one of the many distractions.|
all photos by Jonathan Schechter 6/9/2011
My rural neighbor called a few days ago, "Want to meet at dawn on Thursday and kayak and fish?"
"Yup", and I told Alan I would be ready before sunup. It was to be just a catch and release fishing exploration of Independence Oaks County Park - North, the marvelous new 188 acre extension
of Independence Oaks, a wildish land parcel that includes Upper Bushman Lake. (www.destinationoakland.com)
I was ready to fish. I was not ready for all the distractions of nature.We portaged our kayaks 1,200
feet to the water's edge and pushed off. There was a problem: Every time I prepared to send my
jitterbug lure to the edge of a lily pad, or wiggle a red plastic worm throught the weed beds somthing
would distract me:
The call of crows.
The flight of geese.
Red-winged blackbirds mobbing a great horned owl.
The swirl of fish sucking down insects.
The beauty of flowering water lilies.
A muskrat lodge.
Swans on a nest.
A pair of green herons on a tree branch
Tree shallows skimming over the water.
A mysterious splash just around the bend.
The sweet scent of rain to come.
Perfect reflections in water.
Warm restless breezes.
Sandhill cranes singing.
Bullfrogs calling from the shallows.
Low flying squadrons of dragonflies hunting skeeters
The music of rustling cattail stalks.
But just the same we fished and in short order we caught and released crappie, bluegill, and some
darn good sized bass and a feisty northern pike. Catch and release is the way to go, but the fact of
the matter is clear: Alan did more fishing than me. The entire time I felt like a six year old in candy store,
so much nature to see, and just not enough time.
A perfect morning on a perfectly peaceful glacial lake in the newest park in Oakland County.
|This undersized bass, and all the fish caught were released, including the big ones.|
|A big crappie seconds from release|
|A great horned owl peaks out from its lofty white pine nest|
|Park personnel and Oakland County Sheriffs Dept keep an eye on this remote section of the park.|
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
To Kill A Child
|photo by Jonathan Schechter|
49! That is how many unattended infants or toddlers died horrific deaths by hyperthermia in cars last year in the United States. Extreme heat has Oakland County and a large slice of the Midwest sweltering with the temperatures hovering near three digits. When the outside temperature reaches 100 F the inside of a car soars to 140 degrees. A small child or infant in a car has no way to regulate environmental heat and take preventive methods that wildlife and thinking sober adults can and will do.
Heatstroke occcurs when a person's temperature exceeds 104 degrees. And when the core body temperature reaches 107 the results are almost always lethal with the brain cooked, vital organ cells damaged and thermoregulatory mechanisms overwhelmed. Worse yet, toddler or infant's temperature soars thee to five times faster than an adults with the results tragic.
"I was only gone a little while" won't change the facts.
And yet it happens every year: A helpless toddler or infant is left unattended with the window "cracked open a bit" as the driver runs errands. If you see an unattended child or infant in a car there is one thing you must do at once: Dial 911. You have no other choice. The sun gives life to our planet, yet it kills those that can not retreat from the heat.( More info: www.safekids.org/nlyca)
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The Monster Crawl - and you!
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Recreation 101 Summer Fun with the Michigan DNR
|A quiet fishing moment at Holly State Recreation Area Oct. 2010|
photo by Jonathan Schechter
It all kicks off on June 4th with the Rec 101: Intro to Summer program at Holly State Recreation Area in Groveland Township, from 2-8 pm. Learn more than 15 different kinds of outdoor activities from the best outdoor pros in the state. Rain or shine, they will entertain you. DNR Director Rodney Stokes and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will both be there and officially declare summer open at 2 pm. Free ice cream for attendees, and a day your family will never forget. Events include but are not limited to outdoor survival skills, face painting, backpacking, disc golf, nature watching and fire building. Additional info can be obtained from 248-634-8811. Park is located at 8100 Grange Hall Road just east of Dixie Highway.
Visit the GO--Get Outdoors Calendar to find a Recreation 101 event near you. Don't forget to puchase your Recreation Passport auto sticker!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
MONSTERS OF GOD - Terror Looms for Oakland County!
|MOSQUITO METER from the trail head at Congaree Swamp National Park in South Carolina|
photo by Jonathan Schechter
Flesh-eating beasts have shared the landscape with Homosapiens since our earliest days. They have left lasting impressions on our behavior as they emerged like doom from dark forboding forests to hunt us, to kill us, and then to feast on our flesh. And in many ways it was the very presence of these predators that made us truly human, and sent the message to be self-aware and wary, for when confronted by "Monsters of God" we must adapt or die. That is evolution. That is the way of nature.
A month of rains and sultry heat on the first day of June has set the stage for encounters with the most ferocious, ravenous and blood-thirsty monster of all: The mosquito! These ravenous blood sipping young ladies - who won't take no for an answer - and can transmit West Nile Virus are about to emerge from puddles, ponds, pools, urban ditches and flooded farm fields. The only thing on their mind will be a meal of blood. And if Oakland County had mosquito meters like those at Congaree Swamp National Park in the bug rich midlands of South Carolina I would turn the dial to a notch above RUTHLESS for this coming weekend.
NOTE: If you like Earth's Almanac you should read Monsters of God by David Quammen. This brilliant writer blends science fact with high drama and leave you with haunting images and a better understanding of species that like humans - - as entrees made easy. His book, the nudging of an ER nurse, and mosquito larvae wiggling by the hundreds in my bird bath inspired today's blog.