Spring in Michigan

April 28, 2021

Spring in Michigan is a “hot mess”! On any given day it can be raining, snowing, or sleeting; sometimes all three in rapid succession. The next day it’s sunny and eighty degrees! One minute Spring says, “Put your woolies on!” and the next minute she yells, “Time for shorts!” Her mood swings are extreme and sometimes harsh but we always welcome her with open arms for the wonderful palette of colors, songs, and creatures that she brings along with her.

Tree Swallows return to Michigan in early April.
As I was taking this picture, a brief but heavy snow squall
was heading our way!

The capriciousness of Spring has been both difficult and delightful in terms of photography. During an unexpected snow squall, I run the risk of damaging my equipment but also have the opportunity to photograph birds that normally wouldn’t be present on a snowy day– like the Tree Swallow above. It’s even possible to catch a Mourning Cloak butterfly on an early spring day with snow still blanketing the ground. These butterflies overwinter here as adults and may even make an appearance in the middle of winter if temperatures are warm enough.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly on a chilly spring day

What I really look forward to in Spring is the return of the bullfrogs! When temperatures creep up into the 50s and 60s, I eagerly search for their big, bulgy eyeballs just above the waterline and then hope that they’ll stay long enough for me to get a picture. I’m also on the lookout for the glint of wet turtle shells. Sometimes the glint will be out in the open water, and sometimes it will show up on a log. On a really warm day, there will be dozens of glints! When there isn’t enough space on that log for all the turtles in waiting, they will clamber on top of one another any way they can!

Nine Painted Turtles crammed on a log while turtle number ten (lower right) waits for a space to open up!
One small Map Turtle uses a larger Map Turtle for a resting spot!

Other creatures who return in early spring include the Red-winged Blackbirds, the Grackles, and Starlings, all of whom I can watch from the comfort of my easy chair as they gobble down the smorgasbord of seeds and suet that I have left for all the birds to enjoy. A week ago, I added sugar water, and grape jelly to this buffet in anticipation of the Baltimore Orioles and the Hummingbirds. Yesterday, to my surprise, the first Oriole appeared! I usually don’t see them this early! It won’t be long, then, before the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and the Hummingbirds will be stopping by.

A beautiful, iridescent male Grackle
The Baltimore Orioles arrived early this year!

All of these birds are a welcome burst of color, song, and activity after so many months of leafless trees, grey skies, and inclement weather!

The Canada Goose is here all year long but is particularly handsome on a calm, spring morning.
Red-bellied Woodpecker carving out a home where he hopes to raise a family

Spring in Michigan is definitely a fickle season; it’s also my favorite. I love watching the bare trees fill up with green leaves and colorful blossoms, and seeing new life begin as the birds go about building nests and raising babies. Most of all, I love listening to the spring peepers down by the creek playing their vocal instruments and lulling me to sleep on a warm Spring evening.


Spring Tulips in Middleville, Michigan

One thought on “Spring in Michigan

  1. Beautiful as always! It was snowing here this morning too. We welcome ant moisture as we are in just about the worst drought ever. Less than a half inch so far this year.
    Thanks for sharing!

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