As I was out on my hike yesterday morning, I saw many migratory birds, a swan with her cygnets, Canada geese with their goslings, and etc. While I was pondering what a particular kind of bird was that I'd never seen before, this little robin landed on the trail and watched me, as if to say, "hey, I'm cute, too. Take me picture." And so I did.
In a tree out on a small island there are about a half dozen or more great blue heron nests. This is the great blue herons breeding colony.
The great blue heron is the largest North American heron. It is 45-54 inches tall and can weigh up to 7.9 lbs. It has a wingspan of 66-79 inches.
What and absolute pleasure to have my first encounter with sandhill cranes. Unfortunately, people try to feed them and interact with them, which leads to dire consequences for birds acclimated to humans. Sandhill cranes will defend their young so if someone attempts to approach them, they will climb onto their back and peck their head. I cannot stress this enough: respect wildlife. Approaching wildlife has serious consequences for you and for the animal.
The oldest sandhill crane fossil is 2.5 million years old, older by half than the earliest remains of most living species of birds. The average weight of the larger males is 10.1 lbs, while the average weight of females is 8.9 lbs. Their average height is around 2 ft 7 in to 4 ft.
Although they are currently very common, their dependence on key stopover sites makes them vulnerable to loss of habitat in the future.
So I did something a little different with the "Into Nature" series this time. I grabbed some black and white movie film that was re-engineered for still film cameras and loaded up my trust old, all manual camera. I headed out to some of Michigan's most beautiful sand dunes and created a new image for the series. Two things are very different this time. This first is that I created it on film instead of digital. The second is that it's in black and white.
It was a very cold and windy trip. I won't make my subjects suffer in the elements. So instead of epic flowing fabrics, we went for the full on cold weather gear. After all, this series is about how we feel when out in nature. Freezing is one of those feelings.
Female red-winged blackbirds are brown and heavily streaked with a yellow coloring around the beak. The female builds the nest, while the male defends it. Both male and female feed their young.
This is a breeding male displaying for a mate. Displaying males sit on high perches spreading out their wings and puffing out their red shoulder patches while singing and calling.
Early morning and overcast days equal a tranquil and quiet environment. Spring flowers have bloomed and the water is thawed. I find myself seeking these moments to observe nature around me and to be in tune with the earth and a more natural pace of life.
Technology and the fast pace of today's life takes us away from meditative moments and removes us from our natural state. We are in a constant state of motion, never taking a calming moment, afraid of missing out on the chatter that flies by our phones and computers in a fraction of a second.
“Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it. - Amir”
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner