Being a Michigan photographer, I am lucky to live within an hours drive of Crane Creek State Park in Ohio, one of the best places in the country for photographing migrating warblers. Crane creek is an area where the warblers congregate to refuel and wait for a favorable wind to help them fly across Lake Erie and continue their journey north. In addition to Crane Creek I also spent some time this spring in northern Michigan chasing warblers and other birds. Here is a selection of some of my favorites from this year.
I was very excited to get some species that I have not photographed before. Like this first picture of a Golden-winged Warbler in song.
These next couple of fellows are a little more common. The first is a Chestnut-sided Warbler and the next is a Yellow-rump Warbler.
This next shot is a funny pose of a Yellow Warbler and then an image of a foraging Northern Parula, one of my favorite warblers.
Here are a couple of woodpecker. The first scruffy looking bird is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, followed by the beautiful Northern Flicker.
Next we have a Bay-breasted Warbler with a little snack. Then an Indigo Bunting with a potential snack on the leaf below him. Actually, most birds don’t eat tent worms. I guess, because they must taste bad?
We will finish up with a couple of shots of a Mourning Warbler. These warblers are very tough to get good clean shots of because they usually are very shy birds that tend to stay in very thick cover. I was very happy to get these images of a Mourning Warbler out in the open.
Sorry that I have not written in so long. Between art shows and different trips I have not been home very much in the last month and a half. One of the trips I was on was a sailing adventure to scout the North Channel in Canada, where I will be leading a photo tour in September. It was a very beautiful area with a lot of potential. Here is a link to that scouting report http://www.stevegettle.com/pages/category/photo-tours/
For this post however, I wanted to share with you some of the images I made this spring. Early in the spring, I worked the frogs and toads singing around the pond I built in the valley in the front of my home. The pond, which is surrounded by hardwoods, has been a great addition to our yard. It is about 75 feet by 50 feet, and has proven to be a magnet for all kinds of wildlife. In the spring it is literally crawling with mating frogs and toads. The first frogs to emerge in the spring are the spring peepers and chorus frogs. These tiny frogs (about an inch and a quarter long) are very difficult to find, when they sing, they are like tiny ventriloquists, they throw there voice making them very tough to locate.
The next set of visitors to the pond are the toads and the grey tree-frogs. While most frogs spend the winter buried in the muck beneath the pond, toads spend the winter in holes dug beneath the frost line in soft earth. You can actually tell how long a toad has been out of hibernation by how dark it is, the darker toads have just emerged from hibernation (the second toad below has just emerged). One night as I was lying in the muck at the edge of the pond, the toads were literally crawling over me on there way to the pond. They really seemed to be almost hypnotized by the singing of their comrades.
I like this next shot of a singing toad because you can see the rings in the water caused by his trilling.
Here are a couple of shots of singing grey tree-frogs
This is what all of the fuss is about, the chance to pass on your genes to the next generation. The male (on top) grasps hold of his chosen mate and will hold on to her until she releases her eggs which he fertalizes as they leave her. The males in fact, will grab hold of anything that moves near them in the hopes that it is a potential mate. I saw them grab onto other frogs, my hand (you really haven’t lived until you have had a love sick toad attempt to mate with your hand), and more often than not another male toad who happened to swim by in search of a mate. These grasped males would give a little croak as if to say, “sorry buddy try again”!
In addition to the trip to the North Channel, I had a great season shooting warblers, and have been working on an exciting project photographing bats. I will try to get some of the images from these projects up in my next few posts.