Tag Archives: birds

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmers (Charadriiformes: Laridae: Rynchops niger) are relatively large and interesting birds that can be found from South America up through the Gulf of Mexico. These skimmers feed primarily on fish and are almost always found near bodies of water. … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Botany, Culture, Ecology, Entomology, Environment, General, Geology, Invertebrate Zoology, Vertebrate Zoology, Weather and Climate | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Strut Your Stuff

Wild Turkeys (Galliformes: Phasianidae: Meleagris gallopavo) are found throughout large areas of the United States and Mexico, especially in the east. They are particularly common in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Males turkeys begin courtship in … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, National Parks, Organism Interactions, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Great Blue Heron on the Hunt

The other day I made a break from our surprise eight inches (20 cm) of April snow here in southeast Michigan. In search of a warmer climate I drove nine hours south down to Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the border … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Guarding the Nest

Last week I happened upon this nesting Canada Goose (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Branta canadensis) keeping a watchful eye on a passing group of Ring-necked Ducks (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Aythya collaris). This particular goose chose to make her nest on top of a muskrat nest (Rodentia: Cricetidae: Ondatra zibethicus). … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Organism Interactions, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

While many woodpecker species hammer their beaks against trees to get at the insects inside, some are after a different food source. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Piciformes: Picidae: Sphyrapicus varius), like other sapsuckers, feed predominantly on the sugary juices of the trees themselves. Although known to … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Ecology, Organism Interactions, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Mute Swan

The other day I came across a lone Mute Swan (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus olor) in a small lake in southeast Michigan. Unlike Trumpeter Swans, Tundra Swans, and other large white waterfowl that are native to North America, these birds are … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, General, Organism Interactions, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Duck, Duck, Goose

Female and male Mallard ducks (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Anas platyrhynchos) along with a Canada Goose (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Branta canadensis). Photographed 03/25/2016 in an ephemeral pond near Clayton, Michigan.

Posted in General, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Stopping by Ponds on a Sunny Evening

The other day on my way home from work I stopped at a nearby pond to find a number of Ring-necked Ducks (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Aythya collaris), Canada Geese (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Branta canadensis), and Red-winged Blackbirds (Passeriformes: Icteridae: Agelaius phoeniceus) hanging out around the water. The … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Ecology, General, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Ecology, Environment, General, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Botany, Ecology, Environment, General, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Three Days in the Pyrenees of Spain: Part 4

Earlier on day three our trip up to Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido was kind of a bust, but we did see some cool things along the way. With half a day left we set out to find some more cool … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Culture, Ecology, General, Geology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Winter Wetland Walk

Yesterday was relatively warm and sunny so after work I stopped for a bit at a local wildlife refuge. Throughout much of the year this area hosts a wide variety of waterfowl, songbirds, Sandhill Cranes and sometimes even Whooping Cranes. … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Ecology, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Greater Roadrunner

Found from California to Louisiana and down throughout much of Mexico, Greater Roadrunners (Cuculiformes: Cuculidae: Geococcyx californianus) are a relatively common sight in the desert southwest. These birds can grow up to two feet (61 cm) in length and while their … Continue reading

Posted in National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

American White Pelican

Found throughout much of North America, American White Pelicans (Pelecaniformes: Pelecanidae: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) are never far from water. They overwinter along oceans, lakes, and marshes from southern California through the Gulf of Mexico. Summers are spent breeding on inland lakes and marshes … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Organism Interactions, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Ecology, Environment, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Olympic National Park

It seems impossible to summarize the diversity of Olympic National Park in one photo. Spanning over 1441 square miles (3732 square km) in northwestern Washington, this park encompasses some of the most varied terrain in the entire US National Park … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Ecology, Geology, Invertebrate Zoology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology, Weather and Climate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Ecology, Environment, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them) Part 1

Although the United States has over 400 locations administered by the National Park Service, there are only 59 that are official “national parks.” Of these 47 are located in the lower 48 states and are relatively accessible. Most people know … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Culture, Ecology, General, Geology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2014 Countdown: 20 Favorite Wildlife Photos

In the long and proud tradition of year-end countdowns, I thought I’d mark the end of 2014 with a few of my own. This first series is “20 Favorite Wildlife Photos.” Out of all the wildlife I managed to photograph this year, … Continue reading

Posted in General, Invertebrate Zoology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments