Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Vernal: A Spring Photo Project (Day 81 through Day 93)

Nearly two weeks into summer and I am finally finishing up my spring photography project.  I began this project on the spring equinox and have photographed something outdoors in the natural world (with one notable exception) every day of the season.  I have selected only one photograph to represent each day.  If you haven't seen the first eight sets of images they can be found at the following links:  Days 1 - 10, 11 - 20, 21 - 30, 31 - 40, 41 - 50, 51 - 60, 61 -70, and 71 - 80.

The final set of images consisted of fourteen photographs photographed between June 8th and June 20th (the last full day of spring)

Day 81 (08 June 2019) - White Campion

This image shows a white campion (Silene latifolia).  This species is native to Europe but has naturalized across much of North America.  Unlike many European imports, this species probably does not have a negative impact on the environment.  In fact it may have a slight positive impact as its white flowers attract a variety of moths that seek it out for nectar.  This photograph was taken at Forest Hill Nature Area.  Forest Hill is located northwest of Alma in Gratiot County and is operated by the Gratiot-Isabella RESD.  Forest Hill is located less than fifteen minutes from my house so it is a convenient site for me to visit and photograph.  Many of the photos from my 2018 summer photography project were taken at Forest Hill.

Day 82 (09 June 2019) - How Blue Can You Get?

My second image was taken at one of the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's farthest flung preserves.  Peterson Natural Area is located in Mecosta County nearly 40 miles west of Mt. Pleasant.  The preserve is significantly closer to Big Rapids (less than 10 road miles away).  Before become a nature preserve, the Peterson Natural Area was farmed for many years.  Much of the property remains clear of trees and shrubs today.  This attracts birds that like open habitats such as this pair of eastern bluebirds (Sialis sialis) who claimed this nesting box along the old farm lane.  A pair of tree swallows was using a nesting box a few posts away.

Day 83 (10 June 2019) - Backroad, Tree and Clouds

Sometimes I take the gravel roads home just in case I find something worth photographing.  I love photographing clouds and on this day the cumulous clouds were perfect.  As I passed this tree I realized I had found something worth taking time to photograph.  This picture was taken from a low angle so the grass along the roadside would block a couple trees in the background.

Day 84 (11 June 2019) - Cirrocumulus Clouds

Another day, another cloud photograph.  This image of cirrocumulus clouds was taken from my driveway in Alma, MI.  Cirrocumulus clouds are often referred to as "mackerel scales" because the pattern of the clouds resemble the scales on a fish.

Day 85 (12 June 2019) - A Snake Called Fluffy

Until 2013 I had never seen a northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon) in Mt. Pleasant, despite working in the city parks from 2002 through 2010.  Now I see them every single year, sometimes several at a time.  I now know that if I want to see this species I can reliably find them at Chipp-A-Waters Park.  There is a small pond located near the southernmost parking area in the park.  This pond was originally dug as part of a wetland mitigation project.  It now is home to fish, tadpoles, and frogs.  In other words it's the perfect hunting ground for the northern water snake.  This particular snake did not appear to be actively hunting; instead it was basking in the sun in the middle of the pond.  The white fluff covering the surface of the water is composed of hundred (more like thousands) of fluffy cottonwood seeds.

Day 86 (13 June 2019) - Hairy Beardtongue

The native pollinator garden at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy was planted way back in 2011.   Other than the occasional weeding and trimming down old stalks each spring, the garden has been largely on its own since it was planted.  One of my favorite flowers in the garden is hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus).  This species doesn't flower profusely every year, but this was one of those years where it did.  I especially like how it contrasts with the surrounding lance-leaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata).

Day 87 (14 June 2019) - Sic semper Tyrannus tyrannus!

This photograph of an eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) was taken at the Ziibiwing Center.  Eastern kingbirds are a species of flycatcher.  As that association implies, they feed on flying insects.  This was one a pair of kingbirds I observed feeding in the open field behind the Ziibiwing Center.

Day 88 (15 June 2019) - Bombus ternarius

June 15th was a busy day for me.  I had to be in Tustin, MI at the Kettunen Center for a meeting of the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) board of directors at 1:00PM.  At 3:00PM I needed to be in Cadillac at William Mitchell State Park to give a presentation on Michigan's logging history.  When the presentation was over I had to return to the Kettunen Center for more MAEOE meetings.  Arriving back at the Kettunen Center I decided to take a few minutes to walk along the edge of the woods before going back into the meeting.  I photographed a few flowers and some fern.  Then I noticed a bumblebee buzzing around a bunch blackberry or raspberry plants.  Right away I could see that this was not the common eastern bumblebee (Bombus impatiens), instead its the orange-belted or tricolored bumblebee (Bombus ternarius).  I rarely see this species as it is not common in the southern half of the lower peninsula.

Day 89 (16 June 2019) - Emerald Spreadwing

This photograph was taken near Laingsburg, MI at my parent's home.  My parents own approximately 15 acres of land of which nearly half is part of the floodplain of the nearby Looking Glass River.  The floodplain has been consistently flooded for much of this year.  That much water should result in a mosquito problem, but the damselflies seem to be keeping populations under control.   I can honestly say that I have never seen so many damselflies in one place - at one point I was standing in a small clearing (maybe 20ft by 20ft) in a planted woodland and was surrounded by several hundred individual.  Most of them appeared to be emerald spreadwings (Lestes dryas) such as this one, but there were several other species mixed in.

Day 90 (17 June 2019) - You Talkin' to Me?

Another day, another damselfly.  This ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) was photographed at the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Audubon Woods Preserve.  When I first started approached this damselfly I began photographing it from the side, but it quickly turned to face me.  It didn't fly away.  It just seemed curious and allowed me to photograph it for several minutes.  This photo was cropped from a horizontal to a vertical format.

Day 91 (18 June 2019) - Hungry Hungry Caterpillar

As summer gets closer and closer more insects appear.  This monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) was feeding on a common milkweed (Asclepia syriaca) at the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum's native pollinator garden.  This photograph was originally in a horizontal format, but has been cropped to a vertical format.

Day 92 (19 June 2019) - Hive Mentality

There are currently a pair of honeybee hives at the Forest Hill Nature Area.  When I visited on June 19th one of the hives had almost no activity while the other was literally abuzz with activity.  I took this photograph from about ten feet away.  The bees were completely unconcerned by my presence, but I would not recommend approaching the hive from the front.  I really like this picture because of the bees I captured in flight on the left of the image.

Day 93 (20 June 2019) - Last Day of Spring

With this photograph we've reached the end of spring.  This image of a pair of flies on a buttercup (Ranunculus sp.) flower was taken at Picken's Field in Mt. Pleasant.  For some reason, I find yellow flowers really difficult to photograph.  They always seem to be over exposed and the highlights completely blow out the details.  Because of this I did adjust the brightness of this image on the computer to tone down the highlights.  I also cropped this to a vertical image from the original horizontal.

I may have reached the end of spring, but the photography hasn't stopped.  As I type this on July 3rd, I'm thirteen days into an as-yet-unnamed summer photography project.  I'll start posting those photographs soon.  Hopefully I will be able to catch up on that project fairly quickly.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Vernal: A Spring Photo Project (Day 71 through Day 80)

Here come more photographs from my spring photography project.  To see the previous set of photos click this link.

Day 71 (29 May 2019) - Green Frog 

This image of a male green frog (Lithobates clamitans) was taken in Mt. Pleasant at Chipp-A-Waters Park.  Earlier in the spring I shared a photograph of an American toad taken in the same pond - both species breed in this pond, but at different times.  The fact that this is a male frog can be determined by the size of its tympanum (the circle behind its eye).  Female green frogs will have a tympanum the same size as their eye while the tympanum of a male frog is larger than the eye.  These frogs are often heard before they are seen as they announce their presence with a loud PLUNK! sounding like someone plucking a single out-of-tune guitar string.  This photograph has been cropped to a widescreen (16:9) format to eliminate some distracting elements at the top of the image.

Day 72 (30 May 2019) - Wild Geranium 

I selected this image of wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) because of color.  I like how the pink of the flowers contrasts with the varying shades of green from the geranium itself and surrounding plants.  This photograph was taken at the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Sylvan Solace Preserve.  Wild Geranium has long been one of my favorite wildflowers to photograph.

Day 73 (31 May 2019) - Mayapple 

This photograph was taken at Mill Pond Park in Mt. Pleasant.  Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) produces a single large while flower beneath as pair of large umbrella-like leaves.  From above its almost impossible to see the flowers, but from below...  This image was taken by holding the camera at ground level and using the moveable digital viewer to compose the image.

Day 74 (01 June 2019) - White-tailed Fawn 

June 1st was National Trails Day.  I was scheduled to lead hikes at four CWC preserves, but the weather was horrible almost the entire day.  We dodged thunderstorms and rain all morning with even heavier rain due early afternoon.   Everyone bailed on the hike scheduled for 1:00 except me and Shara.  Despite the rain we went for a short hike at Hall's Lake Natural Area.  I kept my camera tucked inside my raincoat for most of the hike, but I did bring it out when we spotted this white-tailed deer fawn.  Despite the rain, the hike was worth it for this picture.

Day 75 (02 June 2019) - Portrait of an Iris

In the last set of photographs I shared an image of a Siberian iris photographed in our home flower garden.  This iris image comes from our gardens too, but this is a bearded iris.  I deliberately shot this image to focus on the iris' beard.

Day 76 (03 June 2019) - Monarch Egg 

On June 3rd I decided to stop at Forest Hill Nature Area on the way home.  Large parts of the property were mowed down last fall and then (apparently) sprayed with herbicide this spring.  I can only assume the intent is to replant these areas with native seed sometime this year.  Right now walking through these areas is rather depressing.

However, I did notice that the herbicide did not kill all of the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).  On a whim I decided to search the milkweed plants for a monarch butterfly egg.  I found this one on the second plant I searched.  This image has been cropped down to about 30% of the original size and has been the brightness of the image has been adjusted.

Day 77 (04 June 2019) - Impressions of grass @ icd office

The photograph for Day 77 was taken at the Isabella Conservation District Office.  The wind was constantly creating waves in the grassy field behind the office.  I decided to work with the wind and create an Impressionist photograph of the scene.  The image above was shot at 1/6 second at f/32 to capture the blur of the grass as the wind moved it around.  This image reminds me a bit of some of the landscapes in Frederick Remington's later paintings that were heavily influenced by Impressionism.  Of this set of ten photographs, this is my favorite image.

Day 78 (05 June 2019) - Dead Man's Fingers

A trip to Mission Creek Woodland Park yielded this photograph of the appropriately-named Dead Man's Fingers fungus poking out of the ground.  I like this image more for the subject than I do for the composition.

Day 79 (06 June 2019) - Common Whitetail

I love photographing dragonflies... when they will sit still for more than a few seconds

This female common whitetail (Plathemis lydia) perched on a blade of grass a few inches off the ground at Chipp-A-Waters Park in Mt. Pleasant.  She sat still as I approached to within about 4 feet and stayed there long enough for me to snap several dozen photos from more than one angle.  This picture has been cropped from a horizontal to a vertical image.

Day 80 (07 June 2019) - Raindrops on Spiderwort leaf @ Saginaw Chippewa academy 

The final image of this set was taken at 7:30 in the morning at the Saginaw Chippewa Academy's native pollinator garden.  The garden has reached its early summer glory with hordes of coreopsis, penstemon, Canada anemone, and spiderwort bursting into bloom.  On this morning the star of the show as not the flowers but rather the thousands of water droplets left by an overnight rain shower.  My favorite image of the day was of this single large droplet poised on the end of a spiderwort leaf.  A couple of smaller drops sit further back along the leaf and droplets in the background refract circular globes of light.  If you look closely at the central water drop you can see an inverted image of the background plants and sky.

Vernal: A Spring Photo Project (Day 61 through Day 70)

To this point I've shared two months worth of spring photographs.  As of today (June 21st) spring has reached its end, but I have a months worth of photographs still to share.  Here are the photos from day 61 through day 70.  To see the previous set of images follow this link.

Day 61 (19 May 2019) - Plum flowers

We have a plum tree right outside our back door.  It rarely produces much fruit, but every spring it is absolutely covered with blossoms.  I photographed these flowers after a light rain covered everything with water and softened the light.

Day 62 (20 May 2019) - Audubon Woods Creek

Another rainy day.  This image was taken in a light drizzle at the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Audubon Woods Preserve.  The CWC owns 23 separate properties, but Audubon Woods is my favorite because of the mature trees.  The center of the preserve can often feel ten degrees cooler than the edge.  The water trickling over these rocks helps add moisture to the air cooling it even further.  Even the color of the woods feels cool as the mist in the air diffuses the light making everything glow green as the sunlight penetrates the forest canopy.

Day 63 (21 May 2019) - Dandelions 

Spring wouldn't be spring without dandelions.  Homeowners may not love them, but the bees and other pollinators do.  Some people are taking notice - the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture has adopted the policy of not mowing until the dandelions have gone to seed.  I photographed this dandelion bloom in the lawn at the Isabella Conservation District office.

Day 64 (22 May 2019) - Forest Ecology Studies 

Most of the programs that I do are in the classroom out of necessity, but every year I take students from Winn Elementary out to Audubon Woods to explore forestry and forest ecology.  In this photograph the students are measuring the distance from a stake (representing the center a 0.1 acre plot) to a tree in their study plot.  If the tree is within 37 feet of the stake (the radius of a 0.1 acre plot), they will then get an azimuth to the tree, measure the diameter of the tree, and record all of this date on a map of their plot.  I keep copies of all this date in the hope that it can be used to record changes in the forest over time.

Day 65 (23 May 2019) - Look up...

May 23rd was another day of forest ecology studies at Audubon Woods.  I think actually took more photographs of students on this day than I did on the 22nd, but my favorite photo of the day was taken when the students had gone back to school for lunch.  Looking up, I spotted this combination of blue sky, white clouds, dark branches, and yellow-green leaves.  With the sun lighting up the edge of a cloud formation I couldn't resist this photograph.

Day 66 (24 May 2019) - Honey Locust Thorn 

This photograph was taken right outside my back door.  We have a large honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) growing only a few feet from the house.  This tree provides lots of shade in the summer and a home for many species of birds and insects (not to mention squirrels).  The most interesting thing about the tree is the large thorns that grow from a few branches.  The honey locust originally developed these thorns as defense against ice age mammals - now they are just a reminder of a time when elephants walked the tundra and forests of North America.

Day 67 (25 May 2019) - Fern Frond 

Another photograph from home.  This fern covered with a layer of fine spider webs was photographed in the garden on the side of the house.  This image has been cropped to a square from its original format.

Day 68 (26 May 2019) - Home, Sweet Home

On May 26th we drove about forty-five minutes from home to visit my parents near Laingsburg, MI.  At one point I took a few minutes to walk around their property looking for something to photograph.  As I walked past this nesting box in a wooded area, a wren popped its head out of the box.  It's not grand architecture, but it's good enough for a wren.  If you look close you can see the wren's toes gripping the entrance hole.  The bird looked at me for a few seconds and then flew off into the underbrush.

Day 69 (27 May 2019) - Iris

When we moved into our house eight years ago there was already a patch of irises planted on the south side of the house.  I think these are Siberian iris, but am not certain.  I love the nectar guides on each large landing pad of a petal directing pollinators toward the nectar (and pollen).  The large serrated leaves in the background belong to cut-leaved coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata).

Day 70 (28 May 2019) - Wild Columbine 

My final image from this set of photos was taken at the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Williams-Blackburn Preserve.  Wild Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis) is one of my favorite late-spring wildflowers.  It's very photogenic when the flowers are fully mature (like this one), but I often miss out on finding them so it's always exciting to find a perfect bloom.  One really interesting thing to me about these flowers is how hairy they are.  Look close and you can see that the petals, stem, and leaves are all covered with minute hairs.  I like being able to peer in and see that level of detail.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Vernal: A Spring Photo Project (Day 51 through Day 60)

I've fallen way behind on sharing the images from my spring photography project.  Here are my photos from Day 51 (09 May) through Day 60 (18 May).  If you haven't been following along, my goal is to photograph something outdoors in nature every single day this spring.

Day 51 (09 May 2019) - Tulips

I love tulips.  They are the only non-native flower that I regularly add to our home garden.  Last fall we planted nearly three hundred tulip bulbs all red, orange, and yellow.  I love the pop of color that they add to spring.

Day 52 (10 May 2019) - Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a birder.  I do not chase birds, but this spring the birds seemed to find me everywhere I went.  This blue-gray gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) was photographed at Mission Creek Woodland Park as it foraged on low branches of an eastern hemlock tree.  A second after I captured this image the bird flew off.

Day 53 (11 May 2019) - World Migratory Bird Celebration

So this photograph was taken indoors.  It's the only image of this entire photography project to be taken inside a building.  (I also took one indoor image during my Summer 2018 photography project.)  This picture shows my friend Rebecca Lessard with Pearl the red-tailed hawk at the World Migratory Bird Day Celebration at the Ziibiwing Center in Mt. Pleasant.  Rebecca is the founder and executive director of Wings of Wonder, a raptor rehabilitation center located near Empire, MI.  She has been the presenter at the Ziibiwing Center WMB Celebration several times.  I think this is the best image that I have ever taken of Rebecca - she is a blur of motion when presenting and it's almost impossible to photograph her well in low light.

Day 54 (12 May 2019) - Jack-in-the-pulpit

Forest Hill Natura Area is not particularly rich in spring woodland wildflowers, but I did manage to find several jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) plants in the South Woods.  I love all the shades of green in this image.  This photo was taken right at ground level using the LCD live viewer to compose the shot - I like this feature as it means I no longer have to lay on the ground to shoot images from this angle.

Day 55 (13 May 2019) - Northern Parula Warbler

Another bird that found me.  This male Northern Parula (Setophaga americana) landed on a branch right at eye level during a walk through Mill Pond Park.  Normally these birds are found high in the canopy, but they will be found lower in the forest during migration.  Although as I said before, I am not a birder, it's hard not to admire a bird as beautiful as this one.

Day 56 (14 May 2019) - Large-flowered Trillium

The Chippewa Watershed Conservancy has recently been gifted a new property along the Chippewa River east of Mt. Pleasant.  This property consists of three acres of riverbank and will eventually be developed as a preserve with a canoe landing.  On May 14th a small group visited the property to conduct a biological survey.  I identified approximately forty species of herbaceous plants including this large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum).  This image has be deliberately underexposed so that the highlight didn't completely wash out.  I like that you can see all the little grains of pollen both on the stamens and on the white petals surrounding the stamens.

Day 57 (15 May 2019) - Waxing Gibbous Moon

I have really grown to enjoy photographing the moon.  Fortunately, the sky in Alma is dark enough that I can do it right from my driveway any time the notion strikes me.  I recently purchased a new (better) tripod head that holds long lenses in place much better than what I was previously using, making this kind of photography easier.  This image of a waxing gibbous moon has been cropped to a 16:9 widescreen format for no other reason than I like how it looks.

Day 58 (16 May 2019) - Common Blue Violet

Another image photographed at home.  Common blue violets (Viola sororia) are slowly trying to take over both as a groundcover is our flower gardens and as the dominant plant in parts of our lawn.  The seeds of this flower are eagerly collected by ants.  The ants eat a fleshy coating known as an eliasome and discard the seeds in their garbage middens where they sprout easily.  I like the details such as the hairs of the flower's beard and the dark veins on the petals.

Day 59 (17 May 2019) - Environmental Education Day

For each of the past ten years the Isabella Conservation District has hosted an environmental education day for third grade classrooms in the county.  This year over 550 students and 100 adults attended.  One of the many highlights is a live display of Michigan reptiles and amphibians.  I love how the students in this image are interacting calmly and with curiosity toward an eastern garter snake.

Day 60 (18 May 2019) - Bleeding Hearts

Another photograph from our home flower gardens.  While tulips are my favorite garden flower, Shara loves bleeding hearts.  She is still upset about the bleeding heart plants that we left behind when we moved more than eight years ago.  (I will admit that the bleeding hearts that we planted in Alma have not yet grown to the magnificence of the plants that we left behind.)  One of the first photographs that I ever took with my first digital SLR camera was of a bleeding heart flower in that garden.  I cropped this image to a 16:9 widescreen format to focus solely on the flowers and remove some of the distracting foliage of other plants.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Vernal: A Spring Photo Project (Day 41 - Day 50)

It has been nearly a month since I shared anything on this blog.  I've have been photographing every single day for my Vernal photo project, but I have suffered from both a lack of time (and often a lack of motivation) to write.  It's been so long since I have written that my mom has started to yell at me...

Here you go, Mom.

Day 41 (29 April 2019) - Rise up

The fiddlehead of ferns emerging from the ground are one of my favorite spring photography subjects.  I have been taking pictures of them since I before I purchase my first "real" camera.  Between film and digital I probably have hundreds of images like this in my archives, but I continue to take more.  Why?  Because it screams "SPRING" and after a winter devoid of color - anything green is more than welcome.  This photograph was taken at Mill Pond Park in Mt. Pleasant.

Day 42 (30 April 2019) - Raindrops on Tulips

Most of the plants in our garden are native to Michigan with one major exception - tulips and other spring bulbs.  I can't get enough tulips.  Every few years I plant a couple hundred in the garden on the south side of the house.  In addition to the tulips, we have several other spring flowering bulbs: alliums, grape hyacinth (which spread like crazy on its own), crocuses, and striped squill. But the tulips are the star of the show - my favorites are these variegated ones that have petals that fade from red in the center through orange to yellow on the edges.  This photograph of tulips covered with raindrops was underexposed a little bit to deepen the colors of the petals and the image has been cropped around the edges.

Day 43 (01 May 2019) - May Day Raindrops

Rain was a common theme for the beginning of May.  I took this image of raindrops hitting a pool of water on land owned by Shepherd Public Schools near the south end of Shepherd.

Day 44 (02 May 2019) - Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) is perhaps my favorite spring wildflower (after skunk cabbage).  I photographed this stem of dutchman's breeches flowers at Chipp-A-Waters Park.  For many years I knew of only one patch of this flower in Mt. Pleasant, but in recent years it has both expanded at Chipp-A-Waters Park and begun to grow at another location along the river.  I chose this photograph because of the way the raindrops have beaded up on the flowers and stem.

Day 45 (03 May 2019) - Mayapples

What would the month of may be without mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum)?  I love how these plants pop up out of the ground  and unfurl like small umbrellas over the course of several days.  This photograph was taken at the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Audubon Woods Preserve.  This species spreads both by seed and clonally by spreading roots.  Audubon Woods is home to several large colonies Mayapple.  I imaging that if you were to look at the genetic makeup of any single colony you would find that the majority of the plants share the exact same DNA.

Day 46 (04 May 2019) - Grape hyacinth

This is the fifth day in a row that my photograph featured raindrops.  When we moved into our house eight years ago there was already a flower bed planted on the south side of the house.  One of the plants present was grape hyacinth.  Over time the as we have added other species of plants the hyacinth has "migrated".  Now many of the plants appear in the lawn.  I don't really mind.  They add a lot of color and when mowed the leaves look similar to the grass.  In this image I like the contrast between the vibrant green, deep dark purple, and the glowing raindrops.  Although there is no focal point thimage just works for me.

Day 47 (05 May 2019) - White Trout Lily

If I want to see white trout lily (Erythronium albidum) in Mt. Pleasant I have to search a certain patch of woods.  Many years I search without finding a single bloom.  I once went five years between sightings.  It isn't that the plants are not there, but rather that they take so long to bloom.  Their corms (bulbs) need to store up enough sugars to produce a bloom.  In non-flowering years, the plant produces a single speckled leaf.  It can take up to seven (or maybe more) years for a plant to store enough sugar.  This year I was able find a few flowers in bloom.  I like all the detail on the pistil and stamen in this image.  You can also see specks of pollen on the petals.  This image is worth clicking on to enlarge the details.

Day 48 (06 May 2019) - Love is in the air...

I thought I missed American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) breeding season this year.  I heard them calling at Chipp-A-Waters Park during the last week of April.  Then nothing more as the period of cold rainy weather hit mid-Michigan.  Thus I was actually kind of surprised when I heard them calling again.  There is a small wetland near the the canoe landing at the park.  Around the edge of this wetland could be seen several dozen toads calling periodically from the shallows.  This individual let me sit about five feet away as I waited for it to call again.  I like this image because not only can you see the fully inflated throat sac, but you can also see the ripples in the water cause by its calling.

Day 49 (07 May 2019) - Hide-and-seek

For me 2019 has bee the year of the wood duck.  It seems like every time I walked into the woods in April or early May I would see at least one pair.  On May 7th, while walking a trail at Mill Pond Park in Mt. Pleasant, I passed a small seasonal wetland.  Something caught my eye.  This wood duck drake was doing his best to "hide" perched atop this downed log, but his camouflage scheme left something to be desired.

Day 50 (08 May 2019) - A view of the sky

My final image of this set was taken at Chipp-A-Waters Park.  We spend so much time looking down, sometimes it's just nice to look up and take in the sky over our heads.  I like how the trees frame this opening, the bright green of their newly emerging leaves, an the varying shades of blue sky.