Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wildlife - in my backyard

This is a good time for me to do a quick photo documentary of some of the sights and times we have had here in Michigan over the last six months. I think in this one I will focus on some of the wildlife we have experienced around here.

Tom the Swan Killer
Probably the first thing we saw a lot of was Geese. Honestly, there are so many of them up here that they have become a nuisance. My next door neighbor, Tom, is a real (_l_) head. He doesn't like people and he doesn't like animals. He is mad at the world because he lost his job at Chrysler. Anyhow, he would see the geese on his place ...and go out and chase them in his pontoon boat. Anyway, this was probably alright because the geese were way to quick for his pontoon boat......at least until he decided since he couldn't catch the geese, that he would run over the swans. When he did this, a guy at the marina saw him and chunked a full can of Coors Light at Tom. Tom, took the "silver bullet" in the leg. Tom called the cops; the marina called the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The DNR paid a visit to Tom, you see, the Swans are a protected species. After that, Tom stopped chasing the wild life. Here is a picture a swan with a number of geese - they are next door at my neighbor Jerry's place.


Swans
The swans are really very pretty; except for when they are young. The little swans are truly "ugly ducklings. When they are young, they ride on their parents' backs and hide under their wings. I think this protects them. We had over 25 swans on the lake this year. Here's a picture of Nancy feeding them out of her hand...which is actually a little bit scary. The second picture is the adult swans with their "chicks". See below:




As I said before, the little swans aren't very attractive.







Goose, Goose, Duck!
Did I mention the ducks? The ducks are Nancy's favorites. Nancy buys corn by the bushel to feed them, and they have torn up all the grass in the yard. They are all mallards and as far as I am concerned are pretty boring relative to the other animals around here. Here are some of Nancy's ducks over by the tree in our backyard.







Blue Heron:

Here's a picture of the Blue Heron that came buy and posed for a while on our boat's bimini top. Pretty strange looking. We also had some kind of a seahawk that would dive in the water and grab a fish....but we could never get a picture of him.





Strange Amphipians?

When we first got here we kept seeing something plowing across the water. Most of the time, all you would see was its head, with a large wake behind it. Finally, we got a close up of it. It was the first muskrat either of us had ever seen. There is actually a whole den of them - they have tunnels under the sea wall. Some of you who were alive in the 70's may remember the Captain and Tenille's song "Muskrat Love". There are some weird squeaky sounds in that record which I never understood. Well it turns out that those "squeaky noises" are actual muskrat sounds. If you click the link on this page, you can hear for yourself what they sound like. Nancy made a pretty good video of them on land. Honestly, they are pretty ugly little animals. But Nancy makes sure he gets plenty of apples from the apple tree in the yard. I think you'll like the video that Nancy made of these guys. It is below.


video




Other Amphibians....

This guy got caught by Nancy - looks fairly ordinary to me other than the turtles up here have very pointy noses. As you can see, she brought him in the house for a full inspection. I am not sure what kind of turtle these are. I do know that Grandpa Roberts always said that if a turtle bites you, he won't let go until it thunders. Yikes! He looks a little uncomfortable in this picture.






Rodents:


At least they are not rats. With all the duck and bird food we have put out, it was bound to attract other animals. I have always loved chipmunks, but you just don't see them that often. Here's the one who came to visit us.






The big brother of the chipmunk, at least around here, is this fox squirrel. When he first showed up this squirrel was pretty skinny. But between the corn, the bread, the walnuts on the neighbor's tree, and the apples - I now believe this squirrel has become the fattest squirrel in the world. He is now fatter than any squirrel I have ever seen. And he enjoy's teasing the dogs.


What's Next:
With all of the wildlife that we have enjoyed here in Michigan, I'll bet we will have a blast in Panama - they have even more strange animals.


All the best,


Mike

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