Today was unseasonably warm with the high around 65 Fahrenheit! Can you imagine 65 degrees in the middle of February? I took the opportunity to go out on the pond in Ann’s kayak, to see what I could see. I saw cranes, geese, ducks, and fish jumping right out of the water even! I also got to see the bald eagles, which were beautiful and majestic – as usual. I also ran into a couple who were also out on their kayaks. It was a beautiful day…
Oh – that is a bald eagle you see in the picture. It is so far away though you can’t make it out… I tried to get a good picture it as it flew right over head but, it’s all but impossible. And as much as I love my new iPhone 7 plus and its lovely pictures, it’s not very good at taking real-life, action pictures. Grabbing the phone quickly usually turns on an unwanted feature or renders completely useless. By the time you get it sorted, the bird or other thing you were trying to take a picture of has passed. Aiming it accurately too, especially with bright ambient light, is very impossible. Very frustrating indeed! I think that from now on, I will always bring my Nikon DSLR along with me. I guess I’ll have to pay to get my telephoto lens fixed after all.
Well, I just arrived back at the house after a nice long run to be witness to the most beautiful sunset. Thomas Kinkade eat your heart out.
I ran down to the waters edge, giddy with excitement, to snap this photo. You see the light changes extremely fast at sunset and you only have seconds to get your shot off. You can see the pond is half frozen – half liquid. There are Swans paddling around in the melted areas. They look so beautiful – so majestic – especially as twilight approaches. And I can hear them calling to each other – their voices echoing across the water. And then a massive flock of geese came in from the northwest – landing on the north end of the pond.
It’s a times like these I am so very happy that we were able to save the pond…
It started snowing late last night and continued all morning. It’s beginning to taper off now and the sun occasionally breaks through the murk overhead. There is still a dark and looming overcast. I can’t help but wonder what the clouds look like from on top. They are so full of snow, they must look like some kind of brilliant white fluffy blanket.
The temperature has been hovering just below freezing for days. And the pond appears patchy now because while the surface is frozen, some areas are not able to maintain the fresh snow on top (due to melting).
Although you can’t see it in the picture, there is a large group of geese hanging-out in the middle of the pond just to the north. They always seem to have a sixth sense for when the river is going to open-up again and give them their pond back! Even if the opening is only the size of a bath tub, they will take turns swimming in it. It is the most adorable thing to watch…
Here is the last of the canoe trip. This “City of Tecumseh” sign sticks out of the pond on the northern end. It reminds people they are still within the city limits and fire arms are not permitted. It’s possible they’re shooting on the Tecumseh Township side, which is further north however, I have found shotgun shells in the woods – clearly within the city limits. I often hear gunfire around this area, which makes me super sad because it makes the “locals” very skiddish.
At the very northern end of the pond, there is the Southern Michigan Railroad company’s railroad trestle. Here’s a picture of the bridge below. After this picture, we had to make a dash for home since there was no moon, and the darkening twighlight soon dropped us into a dark, inky night.
Here is another photograph from our canoe trip. As you can see, the light is beginning to fade as the sun has already dipped below the horizon. We found this chair sitting partially submerged on a small island on the north end of the pond.
The water level is slightly higher than normal.
I am hoping that someone put the chair here for bird watching – not dumping; but the latter is probably more likely.
So I walk past the kitchen to check on my son, and our exchange student. They are both heads down over their electronic devices. Nothing new there! One is on his iPhone, while the other is on the computer. They have been going at it for a while now and I feel a bubble of frustration peculating up inside me. I can’t help it! It’s a beautiful autumn day outside. Don’t they see that? I’ve have had to work at my desk all day. They have a choice. I don’t! And this is what they choose to do with their time? There won’t be too many more days like this one. Finally, I can’t help myself:
“Okay. That’s it. We are going outside. I don’t care what we do but, we are going outside. It’s your choice. We can go for a walk along Indian Crossing Trail or we can take the canoe out on the pond…”
Groans can be heard but, the two agree on the canoe. Great! We can get out on the pond before the sun sets and get a twilight paddle in before dinner time. I grab the life jackets, oars and camera and we head on out.
Heading north, coming around the peninsular that is my neighbor’s yard, we sight a huge formation of geese.
Did you know that according to Wikipedia, the collective noun for a group of geese on the ground is a gaggle; when in flight, they are called a skein, a team, or a wedge; when flying close together, they are called a plump.
We head north. I am secretly hoping to see some of the cranes. They are so elegant but, unfortunately they are nowhere to be seen. Then we see it – one of the bald eagles. It’s definitely an adult because we can see it’s white tail. It flies directly in front of us and makes a long graceful arc, heading south along the length of the pond. There’s no question who the apex predator is in these parts! What a grand presence this majestic creature conveys. We are awed.
Although the eagle seems far away, he is actually quite close to us. If you click on the photo, you can see a full size view of the picture.
In the next few days, I will try to upload some more photographs from this excursion…
I can’t help but be hypnotized by these graceful flyers.
Autumn is definitely here as temperatures continue to cool off. This morning the sky cast a wintry pall over all. Even so, activity on the pond continues to increase every day now and there’s quite a cacophony going on. The geese pictured here have decided to fly over Red Mill Pond and head over to Standish, or Globe Mill. All this in spite of the loud calls from their brethren to come and join them.
I took a little artistic license by pushing up the contrast in this picture. Even though there are seven geese, it’s almost like a time-lapse photo of the same bird in flight. In order to get the full effect, I recommend clicking on the picture to see the full-size version…
The evening before last, a large front came through. It rained and stormed through the night – not violently but steadily and evenly with purpose. And the next morning the rain stopped, and the wind blew. A majestic grey sky dominated the heavens. Massive clouds, these tall ships with all sail set, forced their way from the south, scraping far above them, threatening all below – but, for naught! For all their bluster, by noon all was calm.
A neat line of puffy cumulus clouds rowed by as if nothing ever happened. By mid-afternoon – nothing but clear blue sky. And by evening, the purity of the lone setting sunset, with the tiniest spec of a cloud in the sky as a long distant reminder of things…
Sadly, I have been watching this all summer long. There has been no respite from algae bloom after algae bloom after algae bloom. The pond is just choking in the stuff! I haven’t posted any pictures in awhile because it’s so bad. Take a look at this one:
It is absolutely disgusting. It sticks to your canoe or kayak. It smells horrible. It covers everything and it’s everywhere except for the very center of the pond where the river runs its fastest.
The other day, I observed some of this goop being formed. I always assumed that algae starts its life on top of the water. So it came as a complete surprise when I saw a large dollop of the stuff suddenly “bloop” up to the surface. I saw the whole thing happen. I could see a heavy dark mossy clump adhering to some pebbles on the bottom of the pond. Apparently buoyancy must have taken over because it suddenly detached itself and bobbed up to the surface. Once on top of the water, its sides drooped down and I could see long tendrils or roots extending from its underbelly. It reminded me of a jellyfish! I witnessed this process repeat itself several times.
I am now of the opinion that most of this stuff grows on the bottom of the pond in the shallow areas where excess nutrients from runoff and fertilizer coalesce. Once these clumps start floating, more algae grows on top of them. They can even join together to make a large “skin.” Furthermore, these rafts can get so big and thick that they support leaves, twigs, feathers and all kinds of debris – truly disturbing.
I just wish there was something we could do about it.
Although some people might not care for geese I actually like them. This is a picture taken against the west bank of the pond just north of the masonic temple. The bank is steep and there’s plenty of shade from low-hanging branches. Here the geese are wondering whether they ought to be concerned about a bright red kayak drifting towards them. Notice they are actual standing in the water there.
I paddled up to the north end of the pond where the water fowl really love to hang out. I could see a half-dozen or so cranes wading about by the reeds. It is extremely shallow here and my kayak got stuck in the silt several times. The cranes are quite skittish but not nearly as touchy as the herons. I took some pictures of the herons but, they didn’t come out.
I am fairly pleased with my pictures however, if you look at them, you’ll notice an eerie hue about the birds – especially around the color white. I believe this has to do with “chromatic aberration” from my camera lens. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about that for right now. Maybe I can try and save up for a better lens one day?