May 3, 2019
I’ve been on a week’s worth of picture walks—in between days of rain and snow and wind. Periodically, there have been bouts of sunshine! I’ve worn winter clothes, summer clothes and rain gear—all in the same week! Welcome to Michigan! With such erratic weather, I’ve stayed close to home and squeezed in walks between the raindrops and the snowflakes.
In spite of the challenges presented by the weather, it’s been fun to document spring as it slowly unfolds and the return of all the migratory birds. One of my favorite close-to-home places to document changes is the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery. It’s less than 10 miles from our home and, with more than a dozen ponds, it’s the perfect bird magnet. The hatchery is not only a haven for herons, ducks, geese and other waterfowl, but the surrounding trees and reeds are also attractive to a large variety of smaller birds, like swallows, sparrows, bluebirds, orioles, warblers, finches, flycatchers and the ubiquitous red-winged blackbirds —to name a few! When the weather gets warmer, there will also be tons of butterflies, dragonflies, turtles and frogs. Nirvana!
Another close-to-home place I like to visit is Kleinstuck Preserve, a small oasis of wildlife tucked in between neighborhoods that has a small marsh and lots of trees— a perfect home for woodpeckers, owls, warblers and other woodland creatures.
My closest-to-home favorite place to observe and photograph wildlife is our backyard. We live along a creek and near a woods so all I do some days is just walk out the door or stand on our deck. I take pictures of everything! Even if I’ve taken a hundred pictures of a chickadee, I’ll take another one if I’m shooting on a different day or a different place or a different time. It’s all practice—and sometimes I get a picture that I like even better than the last one that I liked the best!
I have so many nature areas close to home that even on a bad weather day, I can usually find an hour or so of calm when the rain or wind or snow has stopped and I can squeeze in a bit of a picture walk.