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To Michigan!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


It's taken me awhile to get to my Upper Peninsula trip that happened at the end of April. I've wanted to, but the lilac was blooming and the asparagus was 'sparaging (still is!! Had another pick this morning!) and the birds were coming through and it seemed like it could wait. It was a trip straight back to winter. A pattern is emerging with festivals I've attended this spring. "It was SO GORGEOUS until you got here! And then it started to (insert noxious precipitation here)! Ha! "

At Paradise, Michigan, the word was snow. Cold also got used. That was OK. I had packed my down parka, hat and thick gloves. I was layered to the max. Even had my jammie bottoms on under my jeans, just as April was turning to May. Having survived a snowy weekend in May 2007 in Chequamegon Bay, WI, I knew the drill. Those Great Lakes--those huge inland seas of ours--are cruel mistresses.

The trip started auspiciously, with an obliging group of gulls. Since it was the first bunch of birds I came across after leaving the Sault Ste. Marie airport, I pulled over. I was birding now.

One of these things is not like the others.
One of these things is not the same.

Even without my Sibley, I knew this lesser black-backed gull when I saw it. The pale-mantled birds in the upper left section of the picture are all herring gulls, the uppermost bird being a second-spring bird. The small pale-mantled bird in the lower right corner is a ring-billed gull. But the small dark-mantled bird with yellow legs and a red spot on its bill is an adult lesser black-backed gull. Whoo-ee. Good start.

As the forest began to close around me, I found a male bufflehead in a dark roadside pool.
He took flight, but only after I was able to admire and capture the oily teal and rose sheen of his puffy head. He looks like he's wearing a powdered wig. Maybe I watched too many episodes of John Adams on HBO.

A female northern harrier made a Cindy House painting as I came out onto Whitefish Point.

Yes. I was finally birding. I can't wait to show you all the wonders of the U.P. Blogger hasn't let me post photos for two days running, but I spent an evening uploading via Flickr. Thank goodness for Flickr. It's a couple of hoops and about five extra clicks per photo, but at least it lets me in when Blogger is having its period. I haven't figured out how to keep the photos from flopping over my template borders. Sorry about that. Later: OK, Kyle, I'm trying your suggestion about adjusting the width to 400 in HTML (it was showing a width of 500). WHOOT! It works! Thank you!

AI fans: I want David Cook to win, but I'm predicting that Lil' Oop Oop will prevail.
Update: I'm so happy to see David Cook win. What a sweetie. Hope he keeps his head in all the hoopla. Hope he can ignore most of what the industry tells him.


Julie, I love your pictures. I am a Michigander and I have a special love for the U.P. When I was younger my folks took me and my brother to a remote little town called Copper Harbor in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This town is located on the very tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula and is so isolated that it seems as if time itself has passed it by. That first morning we were there I walked out onto the dock behind the hotel and gazed out over the Harbor and through its small inlet to Lake Superior beyond. The water was so clear I could see straight to the bottom. In that moment, standing alone on the dock, the water lapping against the shore, the chill morning breeze against my skin, surrounded by nature's awe-inspiring beauty, I realized I was home. I can not explain it any better than that; just somewhere, deep inside, I felt as if I had always belonged there.

I am smitten with the first photo of your Michigan post.
As for AI--I have never caught the bug. Now other shows--e.g. NCIS--that's a different story. But I don't have a preference which David wins.

YOU ARE A BEST OF BLOG FINALIST!!! Congrats on making it to the final round and remember to tell everyone you know to head on over to to vote for your site. Oh and don't forget to enter our Exclusive Lijit Contest for another chance to win some fantastic prizes. Winners will be announced June 2nd so gather up your faithful followers and tell them you want to be one of this year's Best Of Blogs!

Bill Beck
Project Mgr.

Can't wait to see more of you Upper Peninsula trip. What a beautiful setting. Thanks for sharing your words and pictures.

Yea! David Cook won. I thought for sure the little David would get it.

"Blogger having its period" HA!

And since you made me laugh, I will give you advice about Flickr.
When you go to get the code for the pics, there is an "All Sizes" button on the top. Choose small or medium to avoid ginormous pictures.
You're welcome.

Julie, if you ever want to revisit the area, read "A Cold Day in Paradise" by Steve Hamilton. I love this guy and his quirky, humble protagonist. We visited Paradise and birded at Whitefish Point to see what it's all about.


Julie, another way to keep the images from jumping out of the post column is to manually define the width it should be shown:

1. After adding your image to the post in Blogger, click "Edit HTML".

2. Find the image tag, which will look like: "<IMG " plus a bunch of other stuff.

3. Immediately after "<IMG" add a space and the following: width='400'

This will make Blogger shrink the displayed image to fit into the post better.

Your bird shots are fantastic up there in cold, snowy Michigan. I wonder how you get such great shots of birds in flight? I just can't do it.

I've been using Flickr for over a year, Julie, and I find it to be a breeze! Blogger uploading took a long time then. Adding a forgotten photo to my blog or deleting one is a snap, as well as moving them around the text. I love it. Choose your size from "All Sizes" and paste the code to your post. I always choose medium size for my posts.

Hey, I was betting on David A to win but I was wishing for David C. What a surprise! I like David C a lot but the highlight of my night was seeing GEORGE MICHAEL. Really... :o)

LOVE the bufflehead shot! You really captured the colors.

Archie's magnificent voice is lost in his lackluster stage presence and his awe-shucks candor was cute until about the 10th round. David Cook's win is well-deserving! The victory text message elicited an inexplainable enormous whoop-whoop on the Heathrow tarmac. Oh, wait this is a bird and nature blog. Well, trust I did my best to emulate a bird that whoop-whoops so I could post here!

Your first picture reminded me of a photo I took once at Lake Bemidji State Park here in Minnesota. I love the northern boreal landscape--beautiful in all seasons!

From one pathetic AI fan to another...Yes David Cook!
Aren't we busy enough, gees. Guess we have to chill somehow!

Janet Lee in Tennessee

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