Is it a “plunk” or a “thunk”?

June 2nd, 2016     1 comment     permalink

A Green Frog advertises for a mate singing in the shallows of the millpond

I heard the Green Frog before I saw it surrounded by duckweed and the fascinating rhizome of a water lily that looks like it emerged out of a prehistoric bog.

Find the Northern Green Frog in the above picture. I won’t give you any clues because I think you won’t have any trouble doing it after scanning the image for a few seconds. But this image illustrates how well they blend in with their environment. Like the other frog I posted this week, this one isn’t part of the Fringo! game since I couldn’t get close enough to him to photograph his unique characteristics. I’m sure I’ll find frogs for Fringo! soon. I’m hearing lots of them at dusk.

A Common Grackle

June 2nd, 2016     0 comments     permalink

A Common Grackle perches on a dead branch at the Brighton millpond

Wikipedia tells me we have three species of grackles in Michigan (scroll down to Icterids): Common, Boat-Tailed, and Great-Tailed. But AllAboutBirds.org says Boat- and Great-Taileds aren’t anywhere near our state.

I feel (almost) certain I’ve seen Boat-Tailed Grackles in Brighton and other Michigan locales, but Common Grackles are surely the most abundant in our region and at the millpond.

The iridescence is the most recognizable trait of these blackbirds but coming in at a close second is their sleek, streamlined shape. They look like polished black marble sculpture when they stand still which isn’t often.

Turtles are waiting for you

June 1st, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Snapping and Painted Turtles abound in the millpond near Brighton's Village Cemetery.

“Holy Cow!” is the usual reaction when park visitors see one of the large millpond turtles for the first time. There are Common Snapping Turtles with shells about 18″ long from head to tail as well as many younger, smaller ones.

Midland Painted Turtles are the frequent companions of the large snapper. They stay close by to grab the shredded food scraps the large turtles generate when they rip apart carrion they find in the pond.

Now is the best time of year to see oodles of turtles. The boardwalk between the Brighton Village Cemetery and Stillwater Grill is the primary location to watch them. They amass is the swallows of the bay on the east side of the boardwalk where the water heats up because of the black silt. Bring a couple of slices of bread to toss to the turtles. It’s not great food for them, but I doubt you want to bring a pocket full of ground beef or a dead muskrat.

Lost of a partner

June 1st, 2016     4 comments     permalink

A robin has nested on top of a porch light near the millpond

A robin has nested on top of a porch light near the millpond. When I’ve walked by, her mate can usually be spotted with an insect or worm in its mouth waiting for me to move on so it could deliver the meal to his beloved without disclosing the location of its nest (although I’m already aware of it). On Tuesday, I didn’t see the male waiting to deliver the goods, but then I spotted its lifeless body in the gravel.

It probably mistook a reflection of the sky in a large window as the real thing, and slammed into it. Its mate will probably be able to raise her brood alone, but she’ll be very busy once the eggs hatch.

The nesting robin's mate slammed into a window and died on Monday

The shrinking broods

June 1st, 2016     0 comments     permalink

2016 Brood 1 is reduced to only a pair of ducklings

It always happens much to the chagrin of park visitors. The broods of ducklings diminish in size from day to day. Of course the millpond couldn’t sustain every ducklings hatched but that doesn’t reduce the sadness when someone sees 14 ducklings in Brood 1 and then discovers only two remain alive after three weeks (above). Dot (below left), the mom for Brood 1, is Onyx’s sister but Onyx isn’t doing much better with her troop. They hatched last Friday with 10 in the clutch but three days later, there were only four remaining (below right).

Dot is Onyx's sister and the Brood #1 hen On Memorial Day, Onyx had 4 or her original 10

Last summer, Dot didn’t nest which isn’t unusual for a first year duck. Onyx nested in 2015 but lost all of her ducklings in about five days’ time.

Onyx took her quartet to locations where they could find nutritious food

Onyx appears to be a more attentive mother this year and kept her ducklings in view although not always close. By Tuesday evening, she had lost another one so she’s down to three as I write this.

Onyx with her 4 duckings on Monday evening

One of the pond’s fishermen told me he caught and released a 6-7 pound bass on Tuesday in the area where Onyx takes her offspring to find food. It’s possible that largemouth has been eating very well this week.

By Tuesday evening, Onyx only had three ducklings remaining

I didn’t get an accurate count of Brood 10 when they hatched. It seemed the Mallard had 8 on the evening I first saw her. Now she has five and trusts me enough to fall asleep as I photographed her Tuesday evening (below). Then again, trust may have nothing to do with it. Maybe her little darlings wore her out during the day.

2016 Brood 10 began with about 8 and now has 5 ducklings

Brood 2 only has 8 of the original 12, but they have done well considering their mom abandoned them. Two Mallard drakes roost near them sometimes (below) which might give them an extra moment’s notice should a predator come calling.

2016 Brood 2 began with 12 but is now 8 ducklings

I’ve updated the numbers in this year’s Fertility Tournament if you want to see where we stand now.

No barns. Swallows anyway.

May 30th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Few birds are as aerodynamically beautiful as the swallows

Barn Swallows have peach-colored chestsBarn Swallows nest under all of the elevated boardwalks at the Brighton millpond. As you walk on them, you can hear the nestlings chirping to remind their parents they are hungry.

Unlike the pond’s muskrats, Barn Swallows know how to kick back and watch the world go by. They will perch on wires (right) or branches above the water (below). I doubt they need the rest. Their flying seems effortless as they swoop and turn catching insects on-the-wing for their nestlings at 30 miles an hour. That doesn’t sound very fast, but just try to photograph them and you’ll be impressed with their agility.

The swallows wait for insects to fly by before taking to the air again to catch them

Even with iridescent blue backs, the birds are almost invisible when perched on branches above the pondWhen night is falling, the birds make another frantic sweep over the pond to capture flying insects to take back to their nests. You can expect to see several dozen of the adult birds collecting bedtime snacks.

On their last insect search before dark, Barn Swallows bring home food for their nestlingsEach time an adult returns, you’ll hear the chirping below you escalate as siblings try to convince their parent they are the hungriest.

Once fledglings take their first flights, siblings might perch shoulder-to-shoulder on a branch above the pond. A parent will fly to them with bugs in its mouth, drop them into a begging gullet then fly off again to catch another meal for a kid without ever landing. If you spot 1-5 tiny birds perched together, stand patiently. There’s a good chance a swallow will swoop in to feed a fledgeling.

More spring flowers at the millpond

May 30th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

A Dogwood tree stands beside the Imagination Station near the millpond

Garden baskets and planters are filled with annuals on the patio of the Wooden Spoon restaurantOne of only two Dogwood trees bloomed in mid-May but the flowers have faded.

Baskets filled with summer flowers hang on lamp posts throughout the downtown area, and many of the businesses have planters at their doors on on their patios like these dahlias at the Wooden Spoon restaurant.

A garden lamp back-lights a hosta in front of the Keehn Funeral Home on Main Street, a stone’s throw from the Brighton millpond.

A light in the garden of Keehn Funeral Home back-lights a hosta plant

Mooing good vibrations

May 29th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Ready for mating, this bullfrog moos to attract females

Life is confusing. “Male Bullfrogs” sounds redundant, but there’s no such thing as Cowfrogs. They are female bullfrogs even though there are no female bulls in mammalian circles. That is unless some bulls are doing that Hollywood thing to get their own reality television series.

Male bullfrogs are advertising their suitability as mates now to the females by mooing at the millpond. Mere moos might not be enough. The girls must evaluate the robust nature of the moos since the boys place their throats in the water to the moos sound larger and travel farther. You can see the vibrations this gentlefrog’s moos generate (below).

Sound waves travel farther in water The frog enhances his moos with vibrations from his throat and abdomen

Sadly, this bullfrog cannot participate in this year’s Fringo! game. I couldn’t get a view of him from the officially sanctioned right front three-quarter view. Maybe I’ll meet him on the sidewalk on some humid night in the weeks to come to snap his portrait from the prescribed angle.

2016 Brood 12

May 29th, 2016     1 comment     permalink

Onyx is roosting with her youngsters on the cement embankment near Main Street

Some fellow duck watchers and I have been anxiously awaiting the hatching of Onyx’s dozen eggs because we knew where she nested so we could monitor from day to day. Ten of the twelve eggs hatched on Friday morning. The other two are apparently not viable.

One of the primary jobs of hens is to take her brood to nutritious food sourcesShe is a second year hen, the daughter of either Dazzle or his son Razzle, the two Cayuga ducks who are currently wooing Zoot. In her first year as an adult, Onyx hatched 6-7 ducklings (I never got a chance to accurately count them) and was down to only one within five days. The last one vanished thereafter. That’s not terribly surprising for an inexperienced hen.

Onyx has lost one of her ten within the first full day of her brood exploring the pond. As you can see in these photos, she isn’t careful. She allows the kids to separate instead of keeping them shoulder-to-shoulder which makes them look like one large animal. When they separate, they look like swallowable appetizers to large fish, owls, hawks, turtles, and gulls. The hen with the first brood of this year, Dot, is Onyx’s sister. She hatched 14 but is now down to only a trio of 3 week olds near the central part of the pond.

While vulnerable, all of the ducklings look very healthy

RWBs remind neighbors where they live

May 29th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

A male Red-Winged Blackbird

A male Red-Winged BlackbirdBirders rarely say “Red-Winged Blackbird.” Instead they refer to the birds as RWBs because they are so numerous, perhaps the most abundant species on the planet.

The males are noisy when they first arrive back at the pond in March, but now that pairs are nesting in the cattails, both the males and females aren’t as vocal. They don’t want to advertise their location to predators. The males still yammer at other males to remind them of their territories while the females sit quietly on their eggs.

A male Red-Winged Blackbird

Males have stunning red and yellow epaulettes on their shoulders, but the females couldn’t be less colorful so they aren’t visible in the marsh as they incubate their eggs. When I went on my first Christmas Bird Count, I spent about 15 minutes attempting to identify a female in my bird book until a seasoned birder rolled their eyes and told me what it was. To save you the same embarrassment, below are two of the girls to embed their appearance in your brain.

A female Red-Winged Blackbird A female Red-Winged Blackbird

Not chestnuts; not for horses

May 29th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Panicles stand tall on Horse Chestnut trees now

Each panicle is 4-12" tallAlthough the tree is named Horse Chestnut, it’s only distantly related to true chestnut trees and horses will get very sick if they eat its fruit. It was originally thought horses with chest complaints could be helped by eating “conkers,” the large glossy red-brown seeds that look like chestnuts fit for Christmas. Nope. There are some medical uses for extracts from the trees, but they can be dangerous, too. Don’t treat yourself. You’ll fail.

Once pollinated by bees and moths, the large seeds formThe trees are favorites in temperate regions because they grow tall and have 4-12″ panicles (right) with 25-50 flowers in mid-spring.

Once pollinated by bees and moths, the seeds form. Deer and some other mammals are able to consume the chestnuts but humans aren’t one of them.

Flowering plants and memories

May 28th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

12-15' tall lilac shrubs grace the residential yards in downtown Brighton

Each lilac cluster contains dozens of flowersMay 22-24: I’m late posting examples of the spring flowering shrubs and plants this year. Many are past their prime if you visit the Brighton millpond now. There aren’t many lilac shrubs beside the pond, but there are many in the residential neighborhood. Is there any fragrance in the air more recognizable than lilacs? Too bad their blooming season is so short.

Iris are in full flower now. See many of them in the Wooden Spoon restaurant’s back garden. It’s worth the trip.  Bet you didn’t know Iris is the Greek word for rainbow. In addition to filling gardens with showy blooms in spring, the plants have several other uses.

 

The iris tower over the back wall of the parking lot

The iris garden behind the Wooden Spoon restaurant is spectacular right nowIris rhizomes are given to babies who are teething, but don’t do this without extensive knowledge. Some rhizomes are toxic and will cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You probably won’t die but you might wish you would.

Then again, Iris might make you tipsy. Bombay Sapphire Gin is flavored and colored by Orris root.

Some rhizomes are dried and aged for years to oxidate the fats and oils within them. These are used in perfumes one of which is Shalimar by Guerlain, a favorite of my mother whose birthday wasn’t celebrated this past week. She died in 1994. I knew when mom was going to her bridge club. Shalimar floated through the house. Each time I smell it, I’m transported back to my youth.

A close up of a Wooden Spoon iris

Whole lotta nesting goin’ on

May 28th, 2016     12 comments     permalink

I’ve read drakes outnumber hens in the Mallard world. Still, there are few hens on the pond now. Most are still in hidden locations nearby sitting on eggs. Domestic ducks unable to fly normally nest close to the pond, but wild birds aren’t bothered by a short flight to reach the millpond 2-3 times a day for baths or nibbles.

A Mallard hen nests in a grassy location near the Brighton millpond

Distant hens will waddle their kids across 5-lane of traffic on their first day of life if they must. These pilgrimages usually take place in the early morning after all the eggs hatch so the roads aren’t usually too busy.

Though I haven’t heard of any this year, Mallard hens sometimes nest on the roofs of buildings. The public worries about little ones jumping to the ground but they have so little body mass when young, they rarely get hurt. “Perching ducks” like the American Wood Duck nest in trees. Their tykes might fall 30 or more feet on the day they hatch. They bounce very well.

2016 Brood 11

May 27th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

2016's 11th Brood has a quartet of ducklings at the Brighton millpondA Mallard hen with a quartet of ducklings was discovered behind Brighton’s Fire Station 31. The youngsters appear to be a day old or so. There’s abundant surface vegetation on the pond now that catches tiny duck weed and other morsels to eat for the tiniest of ducks. All of these appear to be healthy and very active.

… too few goslings

May 26th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Goslings grow fast. They will be almost full grown in two months

Not that we need more Canada geese in a year where there are already too many adult birds, it’s surprising how few gosling are at the Brighton millpond this spring.

Most eggs have hatched for the season yet you’ll be hard pressed to find goslings. I’ve counted less than 30 when we usually have more than 100. The reason?

Geese are the best parents on the millpond

I met a gentleman from Ireland who had the second largest collection of ornamental waterbirds in his native land before marrying a Yank and moving to Brighton. He told me geese with families will move their goslings off ponds where there is an overpopulation of adult birds. Bingo! That’s surely the reason.

These goslings are about 2 weeks old

Too many geese …

May 26th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Male Canada geese attempt to intimidate each other

Male Canada geese attempt to intimidate each otherTwo weeks ago, the City of Brighton installed about 10 devices on the millpond to scare geese away. They don’t work. They just disturb the peace by occasionally emitting a noise that sounds like a drone or distant helicopter. The geese will continue to graze on vegetation within a few feet of the noise. Before the contraptions were floated in the pond, we had an abundance of geese. The same number are there now; the most I’ve ever seen at the millpond in spring.

We usually get an influx of the Canada Geese in the fall that’s similar to the population we have now. Why? There are probably several reasons. Most people think it’s because the birds are fed by the public. That’s part of it, but it’s only a small part of it.

Male Canada geese attempt to intimidate each otherIt’s likely the result of our warm winter. Birds that usually flew south remained in the area so fewer of them were lost in their travels. Plus the city and residents have cleared vegetation from the pond’s shorelines and planted grazz making it more hospitable to the birds. They fly up the cleared embankments, munch on grass to their heart’s content then poop it out while roosting for the night. The shore near city hall has never had less vegetation or been dirtier. Geese won’t roost where they can’t see predators coming. If shorelines have shrubbery, they will either spend the night floating on the pond (next to the devices designed to scare them away) or fly to a well manicured lawn where they can graze. Golf courses seem to attract them like tornadoes seek trailer parks.

Geese are semi-territorial, my term not one in books. They like the company of other geese, but each bonded pair likes to keep a distance from other bonded pairs. Ganders yell at their neighbors to convince them to leave what they consider their territory at the moment. Sometimes it’s ten feet; sometimes it’s twenty. Where birds congregate, ganders clash. They bite their rivals’ chests while beating their wings against them. It’s quite a show. The birds don’t appear to be injured as often as rival ducks are during their violent territorial disputes.

Flapping wings and biting necks is how Canada geese declare territory as their own

There is talk about rounding up the geese during their annual molt when the adults lose their flight feathers to grow new ones. Through the grapevine, I heard they are going to relocate them. Since I’m unaware of any area seeking geese, it’s my opinion they will be relocated into kitchens.

A dancing turtle

May 26th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

I found this Midland Painted Turtle “dancing” on the bank of the Brighton millpond on May 25, 2016. It’s digging a hole into which it will lay its eggs. The bank faces the afternoon sunshine so it will keep her eggs warm until they hatch in 72-80 days. The video isn’t very exciting and there’s traffic noise in the background but it will show you what a turtle is doing if you run across another one “dancing” in your future.

Broods 1 and 2 shrink

May 24th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Dot, the Brood 1 hen, takes the kids to places where they can find good things to eat

The 2016 Brood 1 ducklings are doing okayThis year’s first and second broods hatched continue to shrink. It’s difficult to witness it happening but it’s totally expected. Ducks hatch lots of babies but few of them survive. The only good news about these two early broods is that they have endured the two week mark in their lives. They won’t fit into the mouths of gulls, bullfrogs, and small snapping turtles so they have a much better chance at long term survival.

2016 Brood 1 has gone from 14 ducklings down to only 3 (above). That’s an unexpected drop. Their hen takes her youngsters into the center of the pond to forage in surface vegetation. She doesn’t keep them close together so roving bass and pike easily pick them off.

The 10 Brood 2 ducklings stick together in the water and on shore

Even though their mom has left them, 2016 Brood 2 is faring much better. The tykes are sticking close together so, when predatory fish look up, they think of the brood as one animal instead of 10 appetizing mouthfuls. Only two ducklings have been lost and the survivors are thriving. Each day, their chances for reaching adulthood improve. They continue the tradition their mom started after they left the nest: they roost on the same floating log and cuddle to share warmth (below) even though their tails are beginning to reach the water line as they grow. Should danger arrive, they can quickly scoot into the water in all directions to confound any predator.

The Brood 2 ducklings are thriving even without their mom to protect them

The fragrance of invaders

May 24th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

The autumn olive flowers are white to pale yellow

Autumn Olive bloom for about 10 days in late MayYou can not miss the subtle fragrance of the blooming Autumn Olive trees while walking the millpond trail this week. The tree branches are thick with blooms right nowThe aroma is pleasant, but the trees are terribly invasive. We have many along the trail, and they choke virtually every other plant or tree in their path.

The only thing growing under the Autumn Olive’s thick canopy at the pond is another (but better behaved) invader, Lily-of-the-Valley. It’s also blooming and throwing off its scent into the springtime air right now near the cemetery and along the shoreline behind the Rainbow Car Wash.

Autumn Olive trees have a myriad of tiny trumpets for blooms

It’s summer under water

May 24th, 2016     0 comments     permalink

A turtle and bluegill loitered near the boardwalk for their portrait

A keeper (above 14") largemouth bass and a carp (right)near the boardwalk for their portraitJust within the past week has the millpond sufficiently warmed to bring out the carp and the large snapping turtles (not pictured yet). The painted turtles (above with a pan-sized bluegill) began to come out of their dormant condition in late April but the snappers stayed half asleep for another month. I’m not sure why some turtles have moss growing on their shells while other don’t. Maybe it’s just a matter of their age or the location of their dormant months.

Carp (above with a keeper 14″+ Largemouth Bass) search the shallows for things to eat for about six months of the year. We have a slew of lunkers so you have a good chance of seeing them cruising the shorelines. The millpond also has a nice population of bass, but catching and seeing them isn’t as easy as bluegills. As predators, they hide in shadows and wait until their dinners swim close enough to rush forward and swallow them.

Reminder to Fishermen

May 23rd, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Please pick up your fishing gear when you leave the millpond

This wire leader (above) was found on the point near Brighton’s city hall on Sunday. In March of 2014 one of the Mandarin ducks had an identical one hanging from its mouth. Within a week, it was dead. The leader, sinker, and fish hook were found in its stomach while x-raying its body (below).

A Mandarin duck swallowed a fish hook and died in March, 2014

Fishing is a great activity for individuals and families. Come to the millpond and enjoy yourself, but please check the area around you before leaving for fishing gear of all types. Waterfowl eat anything that looks delicious. Each year we average at least 3 encounters between waterfowl and fishing gear. That includes monofilament line. Last year, one of the Blonde Bombshells lost her leg and foot when she became tangled in fishing line.

2016 Brood 8

May 22nd, 2016     0 comments     permalink

The lone duckling explored the pond all by himself

The hen for Brood 8 has the active participation of a drakeWe have another brood with a single duckling. It hatched on Saturday, May 21, and was first seen near the seawall at Brighton’s city hall. The hen was accompanied by a drake who demanded most of her attention while she let the duckling swim far and wide, not a good sign for its long term survival. Tiny chicks do best when they stick close to mom as shown below instead of wandering away (left) where a hungry bass might decide it’s the right size to be gobbled down.

Though this photo shows the hen and duckling together, they were separated much of the time as I observed them on their first day in the pondI have no hard knowledge on the subject, but sense first year hens tend to have smaller clutches and slimmer parenting skills than older birds. Hens I’ve observed for several years seem to effortless care for their offspring and anticipate when they need to move them to safer locations or better food resources. Older hens might also be quicker to flee and better at hiding the kids when danger lurks yet I doubt the survival rate for their ducklings is much higher since predation is capricious.

 

Two waywards near Main Street

May 22nd, 2016     0 comments     permalink

2 wayward ducklings search for food near Main Street

Two ducklings less than three days old were untended near Main Street on Saturday evening. No Mallard hens were in sight and they weren’t peeping which is a call for mom to come back. Canada geese were near them, but there was no interaction between the species (which is typical). They’ve probably been alone for a major part of the day if not longer. They may be 2016 Brood 5. It had only two ducklings, but we’ll never know for sure.

Will they survive? It’s unlikely because they are so young and munchable, but every year a few of the youngsters surprise me. They thrive using their wits to find food and avoid dangers.

2016 Brood 7

May 22nd, 2016     0 comments     permalink

You may find Brood 7 in the water behind the fire station

2016 brood 7 explores the shore on their second day of lifeAnother Mallard hen has presented the millpond with ten very active ducklings. They appear to be in their second day of exploring the world and were first seen in the water behind Brighton Area Fire Department’s Station 31. They were moving toward the north end of the pond so you will have more luck seeing them in that area.

Where the boys are

May 22nd, 2016     0 comments     permalink

11 Mallard drakes wait for the girls to return from nesting

Many park visitors have asked me where all the female Mallards are. All they see are Mallard drakes with their iridescent green heads as shown by the 22 males and no females in these two photographs.

Most of the females are nesting now. The ones caring for ducklings already hatched and the ones not interested in nesting stay away from places where the boys are. Males quick to discover unprotected hens and do their best to chase them down in the water and on land. Hens often take several of the boys on circling flights around the pond. The goal appears to be to wear the boys out so they are less amorous, but it might also be to test their stamina.

In three months, visitors will be asking me where all the boys are because they drop their mating plumage for a few months. They will look more like the brown females and their green heads will be muted in color.

11 more Mallard drakes wait for the girls to return from nesting

A tremoring muskrat?

May 22nd, 2016     0 comments     permalink

A muskrat at the nrothern extreme of the millpond sways from side-to-side when it walks on landAt the north end of the Brighton millpond near the boardwalk at Grand River, I’ve observed a muskrat who looks drunk when he walks on land. The first time I saw him, I thought he might have found a stash of fermented berries. I saw him again on Saturday and now think it’s some sort of neurological condition. If you see him, leave a comment and describe anything that might help wildlife experts pinpoint its problem. I’ve submitted a report to Michigan’s DNR to see if they are aware of any tremor condition in Michigan rodents. If they reply, I’ll post it in the comments.

Litter at the millpond

May 21st, 2016     0 comments     permalink

Bottles left on railings or the shore end up in the water

I prefer to think most trash in the millpond isn’t purposely thrown into it. Instead, it’s carelessly left on shore then breezes transport it into the water. There are many trash barrels in the park which make it easy for visitors to properly dispose of things. I think all urban ponds attract litter because they are favorite gathering places for hungry city resident who bring things to eat, drink, and smoke. No matter how vigilant city maintenance crews are, it’s impossible for them to keep up with the litter.

The fisherman handed the wayward chair to a gentleman on the boardwalkA white plastic chair arrived in the bay south of Stillwater Grill during a winter storm when strong winds made it slide on the ice from someone’s yard on the west side of the pond. Once the ice melted, it became an upside down eyesore seen by every park visitor walking the boardwalk. Until Friday.

Three kayaking fishermen entered the bay. One of them was kind enough to hand the chair up to a fine gentleman who walked it to a nearby dumpster. As you can see, the pond hadn’t treated it well during its submerged months. Consistently, fishermen and hunters are the most concerned with protecting and improving wildlife habitats. This chance encounter between these individuals will enhance the visitors’ view for the rest of the year. Thanks, guys!

The chair was walked to a dumpster so it wouldn't end up back in the drink

Brood 2 ducklings are doing well

May 21st, 2016     0 comments     permalink

The 11 ducklings in Brood 2 are thrivingBrood 2 still has 11 little fuzzballs. They are doing well considering they’re on their own. They stick together which is the best way to avoid danger. When they cuddle for warmth along shore, they stay under shrubs (left) so gulls and hawks don’t see them.

They reach an important milestone this weekend: they become 2 weeks old! Ducklings are most vulnerable during their first two weeks because they are delicious morsels for many predators nor do they have enough body mass to endure cold nights. A few may be lost in the weeks ahead, but so far so good.

  • Douglas Peterson
    Brighton, Michigan

    Artist • Designer
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    You'll find information about the resident ducks, birds, and critters residing at the Brighton millpond. I slip in my art and poetry, but my photography of wildlife and plants is the primary focus.

    Douglas Alden Peterson
    
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