Category Archives: Environment

Things I always want to know before taking a trip:

1) Sunrise/sunset times I like to get up before dawn to hike because some of my best wildlife encounters have been just before or just after the sun comes up.  Sunset provides similar opportunities. 2) Moonrise/moonset times When I’m in … Continue reading

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The Great Salt Lake, Utah

Beyond the Great Lakes that surround my native Michigan, the next largest lake in the United States is the Great Salt Lake in northern Utah. Although the lakes of both states share similarly impressive surface areas they are incredibly different in … Continue reading

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That’s a Lot of Ducks

Today I stopped by a USFWS site near my home in southeast Michigan and found hundreds of ducks in the lake. This group appeared to be made up almost entirely of Ring-necked Ducks (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Aythya collaris), Redheads (Aythya americana), Lesser Scaups … Continue reading

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Late Winter Wetland Walk

Back in January I took a stroll through the USFWS Schoonover Waterfowl Production Area near my home in southeast Michigan. Even in the midst of this relatively mild winter there was little to see aside from some persistent plants from last … Continue reading

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Obligatory St. Patrick’s Day Post

I’m not remotely Irish (mostly French and German) but I can always get behind a little cultural festivity. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few nature photos for the holiday courtesy of recent visits to Olympic National Park and Yellowstone … Continue reading

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Redwood National Park Revisited

Back in 2013 a friend and I made a quick trip through Redwood National Park in northwest California. Our visit here was too short, so last summer when my wife and I were in the area we made a point to spend … Continue reading

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Acadia National Park

Known to the native Wabanaki people for millennia and then battled over by European colonial forces for almost 200 years, Maine’s remote and serene Mount Desert Island didn’t enter widespread American awareness until the late 1800s. Although the inhabitants have changed over … Continue reading

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This is cool you should watch it: “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”

From the founding of the United States until well into the nineteenth century, words like “expansion,” “settlement,” and “development” were at the core of the American psyche. Laws ranging from the Northwest Ordinance to the Homestead Acts encouraged the people to expand across the continent, … Continue reading

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Evolving Thoughts on Exploring the World

When I was a kid growing up in Michigan I loved spending hours staring at maps and globes and memorizing geography facts. In the sixth grade I came in third place in a geography bee against seventh- and eighth-graders. But … Continue reading

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2015 Countdown: 20 Favorite Wildlife Photos

I have to admit, I think 2014 was the high-water mark of my wildlife photography. A diverse array of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that best-represent North America adorned that post, and it was one of my proudest achievements. While … Continue reading

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It Will Be a White Christmas Somewhere…

With just over one more day until Christmas, it looks like the chance of snow here in southeast Michigan is zero. So far this winter has been really mild in the eastern United States. Just today it was 60 F … Continue reading

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Tidepooling in the Gulf of California

The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez) is one of the most biologically diverse marine environments on earth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known to some as “the world’s aquarium,” this sea is home to a … Continue reading

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Common Mergansers

Although Common Mergansers (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Mergus merganser) inhabit much of North America, their range shifts with the seasons. They overwinter across a wide swath of the United States, then spend their summers breeding in forests from the northern United States through Canada. They … Continue reading

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Varied Thrush

Found throughout the Pacific Northwest, the Varied Thrush (Passeriformes: Turdidae: Ixoreus naevius) is a relatively common inhabitant of dense, wet forest understories. These birds live year-round in western Washington and Oregon. In the summer many migrate as far north as Alaska … Continue reading

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Steller sea lions

Steller sea lions (Carnivora: Otariidae: Eumetopias jubatus) can be found scattered along northern Pacific coastlines from California to Japan. These ocean-dwelling mammals often congregate for breeding, feeding, and socializing. They’re perhaps most often encountered resting together on rocks and shores, basking … Continue reading

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The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them) Part 2

Last week I presented “The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them).” I later realized that most people focus on the “most” or “least” of something, and that often leaves out the “next most” … Continue reading

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This is cool you should watch it: “Virunga” on Netflix

This evening I watched a great new documentary on Netflix called “Virunga“.  While it’s centered on the beauty, wildlife and wonder of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it goes far deeper and explores the threats to … Continue reading

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Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle (Accipitriformes: Accipitridae: Haliaeetus leucocephalus) has been an iconic symbol throughout United States history. Long sacred to several Native American cultures, it was adopted as the national bird of the United States in 1782. Since then it has appeared on … Continue reading

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Glacier National Park

Two mountain ranges, 25 alpine glaciers, and over 700 lakes contribute to the rugged and beautiful landscape of Glacier National Park. Located in northwest Montana along the border with Canada, this park preserves 1583 square miles (4101 square km) of soaring … Continue reading

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American bison

American bison (Artiodactyla: Bovidae: Bison bison) are perhaps North America’s most iconic land mammal, in spite of nearly being hunted to extinction. Long ago these impressive beasts (sometimes incorrectly referred to as “buffalo“) roamed the continent in vast numbers. Prior to … Continue reading

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