Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bluebirds Confirm Spring!

photos by Jonathan Schechter

Winter was rather on the whimpy side and then slow in waning in Oakland County, but the bluebirds kept telling me spring would come. For weeks I watched them perch on fence posts and flit about the meadows adding bold splashes of blue to a sometimes dreary landscape. But today, on this 27th day of April,  I inspected my bluebird boxes at the meadow's edge and made a discovery: Four pale blue eggs!

A new generation of this most beautiful of birds is on the way!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

LOVE, LUST, SEX & PASSION: In a secluded woodland near you!

Spotted salamander
photos by Amanda Nimke

The rains of April have stirred the evolutionary magic of the vernal ponds of southeastern Michigan into full swing. That is nature's way! In the words of wildlife-wise Amanda, "Every spring on warm, wet nights, salamanders wake from their winter slumber and return to the same vernal pond year after year for mating. The males lay little spermatorfores in the water that look like pieces of rice, and then the females do their wiggle dance around them to fertilize their eggs!!"

Here in northern Oakland County, as many humans cursed the rains and Kearsley Creek churned out of her banks and swirled over fields, and muddy roads swallow small cars, salamanders emerge from under the logs in nearby woodlands where they had remained all winter in near suspended animation … marching over leaves and twigs to reach the swallow seasonal ponds - their vernal (spring) ponds to mate.

And this season they were not alone … the timing was perfect for tiny spring peepers to hop over to the salamanders passion ponds and secluded wetlands in order to assure the continuation of their species, and fill the night air with delicate jingling bells like song. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Severe Weather Awarness & Safety is YOUR responsibility!

photos by Jonathan Schechter

If your safety plan is to pray when the tornado sirens scream you night want to give
 that a second thought. Look at the photo above; a statue on the roof of a church in
Santa Fe wisely equipped with a lightning rod.
 If the church does not  think the hand of God will spare them; why should you?

 Severe weather is a phenomena of nature that slams into Michigan every spring.
On March 10th, at 1 p.m. 252 tornado sirens in Oakland County will be activated
for a special test that also signals Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Do you have a plan for the real thing?

If your plan is to call 911 for advice or fall on your knees in prayers when
 the sirens scream; that means one thing:
And a NOAA Weather Alert radio is must.

Cut and paste for more info:



Friday, April 5, 2013

EAGLE ON THE HUNT: An awesome Oakland County encounter!

Photos by Joan Z. Bonin  photographed at Stony Creek Metropark  4/2/2013

Nature is full of surprise and hold secrets, even in highly populated Oakand County, Michigan.
One such secret was captured by Joan Z. Bonin, an excellent observer of nature's way and a 
highly  accomplished  amateur  photographer.

Not that very long ago bald eagles were on the Endangered Species list struggling to 
survive in an environment tainted  by DDT.  Thanks to the banning of that deadly pesticide
 that spread through the food chain and weakened egg shells, strong federal protection and
 increased public  awareness,  eagles are making a strong comeback in Michigan. 
Eagles are not common in Oakland County but every now and then one is seen.
What is rare is someone capturing dramatic images of an eagle on the hunt.
 Joan Bonin  is a frequent visitor to Stony Creek Metropark. She hikes and kayaks 
this 4,461 Metropark that extends across Oakland and Macomb County 
Earlier this week Joan witnessed an eagle hunting over Stony Lake as she
 looked for beavers to photograph in the lagoons.
Her camera shares more of this wonderful moment of nature at her finest.

Thank you Joan for graciously sharing your photos with me, and now everyone else!

Eagle hovering over the unsuspecting merganser.

The merganser submerged submarine style; for the eagle it was time to dive, talons ready!

Eagle down! Eagles can dive into water to catch prey that is visualized.
  (Osprey-  also found at Stony Creek -are more adapt at this skill)

(Joan's incredible image of the eagle in hot pursuit of the merganser.)
The merganser exploded from under water and 'ran' on the surface
 to gain airspeed with the eagle in winged pursuit. 
 Merganser was not the entree on this day.

The eagle flies on to a destination known to just the eagle and a very few nature-wise humans.
The crow stayed behind his white-headed neighbor,  out of reach and announcing  the eagle.