Monday, November 25, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monochrome Bursts into Full Color at Sunset

Quite a contrast from earlier in the day (see photos below).

The Witch of November

The clouds and north winds (known on the Great Lakes as the Witches of November) surround us in monochrome.

A female Long-tailed (Oldsquaw) Duck rides the surf.

A Grebe in winter plumage rides out the stormy seas in the protected water around the city pier.

A rare Juvenile Sabine's Gull (outstretched wings in center) with Bonaparte's Gulls

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

There are plenty of these petite little Bonaparte's Gulls arriving in the Dunkirk Harbor.  Many of them will remain in the southern Great Lakes area until spring.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Malnourished Waterfowl

This is what malnutrition looks like in watefowl.  This feral domestic duck is in the Dunkirk Harbor suffering from a condition called "angel wings."  It is caused by people feeding it BREAD!  This can cause a nutritional deficiency that makes their wings grow the wrong way and renders the bird flightless.  Please people, don't feed bread, cereal, crackers, cookies or other human junk food to the birds!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Carolina Chickadee

The differences between the Black-capped Chickadee of the north and the southern Carolina Chickadee are very subtle.  The Carolina version has a smaller and more sharply defined black bib, a longer tail, and a faster, higher pitched song.  Also, their ranges to not overlap in the the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina where I took these photos.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In Memory of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- 39 years ago today...

I remember this Great Lakes storm on November 10, 1975 and hearing the news about the Edmund Fitzgerald.  

"Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?"

"The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
With a crew and good captain well seasoned
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
Then later that night when the ship's bell rang
Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
When the wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too
'Twas the witch of November come stealin'
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashin'
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane west wind

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck
Sayin' "Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya"
At seven PM a main hatchway caved in
He said, "Fellas, it's been good to know ya"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the rooms of her ice-water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams
The islands and bays are for sportsmen
And farther below, Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early

Monday, November 4, 2013

Waterfowl & Gull Migration

Migrants coming across Lake Erie were seen in massive numbers late this afternoon.  Some of the birds I was able to identify included Common and Hooded Mergansers, Common Loons, Pied-billed, Red-necked and Horned Grebes, Bonaparte's Gulls, Buffleheads, Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks, Scaup, Canada Geese, American Coots and Double Crested Cormorants.

Snow Bunting

The Snow Buntings are beginning to return for the winter from their breeding grounds in the high arctic.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Gales

Right on time!  The gales of November have arrived.  High winds bring high water from Lake Erie.

Ovenbird Warbler

Meet the sweet little Ovenbird that lives in the woods next to our house for the summer.