Monday, November 27, 2023

Sandhill Crane Migration at Jasper-Pulaski

We took a daytrip to Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area last week to see large numbers of Sandhill Cranes as they travel south for the winter. The reserve had been on my list of places to visit, and when it popped up in my calendar notifications we decided to visit. 
Jasper-Pulaski is located in northwest Indiana....about 4 hours from us here in west-central Ohio. We elected to arrive in time to see the cranes socialize and then move to the marshes for the night. 
The Sandhill Cranes, with wingspans of up to 7 feet, breed in the northern US and Canada. They migrate to the southern US for the winter months. As they travel, they stop for the night to rest and feed. The Indiana  DNR posts weekly counts of the cranes ....during our visit, the count was approximately 13,000. 
Purdue University's Forest and Natural Resources Extension has some interesting data on Sandhill migration....showing  Jasper-Pulaski as a "collection point" where cranes meet up to continue migration.
The preserve has a "Sandhill Crane Observation Area" in which a raised observation deck allows great views of the cranes. 
We arrived about 3pm, and made our way to the Observation Deck, where we watched many cranes that were already in the fields. As sundown approached, more and more cranes kited in. All became quite social and active...."dancing" and vocalizing. 
We watched and flock after flock came in, settling in the marshes seen in the distance. The orientation of the deck allowed for wonderful sunset views of the cranes. 
What a great time we had....well worth the drive and one that we'll likely make in the future. 

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Auroras and the Mighty Mack Bridge

This was our first visit to the Mackinaw area. We scouted yesterday knowing that the KP index (measurement of the strength of the magnetic impulse from a sunspot and predictor of aurora potential) was going to be up to 5. My dream was to get pics of the aurora over the bridge. We arrived at Old Mackinaw Lighthouse Point well before sundown last evening, and shot lots of pics of folks enjoying the sunset. We shot more of the bridge as dusk encroached, and darkness finally arrived. We captured some fireworks being shot off from the St. Ignace side. Then, just before 9pm, we caught our first glimpse of the aurora. It was a tear-jerking moment. It became intense enough for us to see some pillars (intense vertical streaks of light)! The auroras faded (as predicted) as the waning full moon rose....and using my fisheye lens, I was able to catch the moon with the bridge and the fading auroras. Thank you to David for fulfilling a dream and sharing an amazing night!

Saturday, July 22, 2023


 It's my favorite time of the year.....the Trumpet Vines and Rose of Sharon shrubs are blooming and Hummingbirds are zooming about enjoying the blooms.
Something so peaceful and restorative sipping my coffee on the deck and watching these little birds. Yesterday, there were up to 6 at a time on the Trumpet Vines....all females. Their aerial battles were epic...some captured and posted below.
Meanwhile, the solitary male claimed the feeders as his territory. 

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Cedar Bog Spiders....

 It was a pleasant day to walk at Cedar Bog today. Always lots to see, but today I saw some lovely spiders...

This is the Dimorphic Jumping Spider (Maevia inclemens)

And here's a Sylvan Jumping Spider (Colonus sylvanus)

Lastly, here's  Lined Orbweaver (Mangora gibberosa

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Mourning Warbler at Old Reid

 Gracie and I took nice little hike today at Old Reid along Buck Creek. We had walked down the trail to the creek when I saw movement in some brush. After observing for a few minutes, the bird popped out was a male Mourning Warbler. The Mourning Warbler passes through our area during migration...right now, he is on his way Canada and the most northern states for breeding. He winters in Central America. He's a hard bird to see and photograph....he's what's called a "skulking bird" meaning he stays deep in the brush and avoids revealing himself. He put on a show (as much as a Mourning Warbler will), although he did stay in the shaded brush....not optimal for clean photos due to the high iso, but still worth some pixels.