Eight Walks

August 8, 2019

1. Oshtemo Public Library, Oshtemo, Michigan

I am always looking for someplace new to take pictures, but it isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it takes a little creativity to come up with a new venue and Mel got the prize for coming up with the Oshtemo Public Library as a possible photo walk opportunity. On the surface, a library seems like an odd choice– but this one was surrounded by wild flowers! So we grabbed our cameras and headed out the door.

My best picture for the day came quite by accident. While I was trying to be creative and shoot a flower from the ground up, a beautiful Tiger Swallowtail landed on top of it! What luck! I was so shocked, though, I almost lost the shot!

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on a Coneflower

2. Portman Preserve, Paw Paw, Michigan

The Portman Nature Preserve is one of almost two dozen preserves in southwest Michigan that are maintained by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. I’ve been to Portman many, many times, but there’s always something new to discover. Today it was all the butterflies and hummingbird moths flitting among the wildflowers near the parking lot!

Viceroy

3. Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, Mattawan, MI

The Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery is one of my very favorite places to visit. With dozens of ponds scattered around the property and lots of places to hide in the surrounded bushes and trees, it’s a great haven for birds, butterflies, dragonflies, foxes, frogs, turtles, rabbits, deer– and a few snakes. I never run out of things to photograph here!

Great Blue Heron
Caspian Tern passing through our area– a real surprise!
Young Eastern Kingbird

4. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, Augusta, MI

Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is another great place for a picture walk. In addition to large flocks of geese, swans and ducks, the bird sanctuary is home to many other smaller birds as well as a variety of birds that are just migrating through. On today’s visit, though, I mostly took pictures of butterflies!

Baby Barn Swallows
Just before leaving the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary’s Visitor’s Center, I spotted these baby barn swallows, five in all, crammed into a little nest close to the ceiling of the breezeway.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

5. Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo, MI

There are a variety of different habitats to visit at the Kalamazoo Nature Center including prairies, woods and gardens. Today, Mel and I both visited the Butterfly Garden as well as the nearby wildflower patches on the edges of the entry road. Both areas were bursting with butterflies, but my favorite catch of the day was a hummingbird!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

6. Paul Henry, Thornapple River Trail, Middleville, MI

I first learned about this trail along the Thornapple River last fall when Mel and I participated in a Woodpecker Festival! Since then, I’ve made a point of driving up to Middleville a few more times to take picture walks. It’s an easy walk along a paved trail and lots of different birds are attracted to the area in and around the Thornapple River. Here’s what I found…

Red-headed Woodpecker– my favorite catch of the day!
Blue Dasher Dragonfly
Seven Turtles (can you find #7?)
Two-headed turtle– or big turtle on top of smaller turtle?

7. Gagie School Garden, Kalamazoo, MI

Along one of the main roads into downtown Kalamazoo, is a small garden that was created by the nearby, privately owned Gagie School. It is a beautiful patch of color along a busy commercial road…

A tattered American Lady butterfly
Monarch butterfly

8. Wau-Ke-Na, William Erby Smith Preserve, Fennville, MI

The Wau-Ke-Na Preserve (“forest-by-the-water”) is another one of the natural areas being maintained and preserved for future generations by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. There are two different sections to the preserve made up of a north and a south tract. Mel and I took the south tract today and ambled along a well mowed trail through prairie grasslands which were adjacent to forested areas. We heard a lot of birds in the nearby trees but weren’t able to capture many. They were too elusive. The butterflies, however, were close at hand and infinitely more cooperative!

The mowed paths at Wau-Ke-Na Preserve
Eastern Kingbird high in a tree
Eastern Black Swallowtail

With so many beautiful things to see out there, it’s hard for me to even sit for awhile in my comfortable chair writing this. Fortunately, my chair faces a sliding glass door where I can look up periodically and be entertained by all the birds coming to our feeders or hanging out in the nearby trees–Red-winged Blackbirds, Chickadees, Bluejays, Grackles, Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, House Finches and the ubiquitous little Sparrows. What a feast!

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