Friday, October 3, 2008

Wildlife Encounters

Just a few short stories about our adventures in the animal world last week. Previously I mentioned meeting a coyote on a road in Northeastern Wisconsin. Not much of a story there. He was scared off by a passing motorcycle before we had chance to strike up a conversation (or take a picture). Although I did manage to scratch out this sketch of him.

In our attempt to recreate the past, we ventured to the northernmost part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The "Dawn Swan" pic was the first of a bunch of wildlife encounters. First stop along the way was the Seny National Wildlife Refuge. One of the best features of the area is a 7 mile self-guided drive through the wetlands.

One of a pair of Sandhill Cranes grabbing a bite to eat.

I like to call this a perfect Swan Dive.

We were about a week or two early for good fall color but there were plenty of ducks, geese and swans gathering for migration. Moving on we took a rustic (bumpy, dusty) dirt road that ran along the shore of Lake Superior to the site of a resort we stayed at a few times when the kids were little. Sorry I'm getting off the track here. Animal stories! During a stop at Tahquamenon Falls Jo made friends with a little bear cub.

Really cute but very stiff and unanimated. And so was the cub.
Tried to pose him with a Chicago Cub's cap but couldn't
locate it in the Honda's cargo hold.

Probably the best animal story occurred while staying at a hotel in Mackinaw City. While enjoying a peaceful evening on our balcony we noticed a fairly large Sea Gull strutting around the beach. He seemed to be the mayor of that area. We had some leftover doughnuts from earlier that day. (these were not very good doughnuts or else there wouldn't have been any leftovers) I figured that the mayor of the sea shore deserved a hunk of stale doughnut so, I threw a piece out to him. Bad idea! Within seconds, millions of Sea Gulls swooped into the scene. Incredible, yes. But more incredible was one smart Gull thought he would search out the source of the food and swooped down to the railing right in front of a fairly frightened JoAnne.

After we convinced him that the doughnuts weren't worth
doing jail time for assault
and that the Alewives were running,
he went off to join the herd.

Travel Tip: For real fun try this. Wait for a unsuspecting couple to come strolling along the beach. Once they get past you toss a piece of food right behind them and watch the terror when forty million Sea Gulls descend on them.

Another friendly visitor joined us as we lunched
on Ojibway Island in Saginaw. Lucky for him,
we had peanuts left from our last visit to Wrigley Field.

More stale peanuts providing a snack for our little friends.

No story just pretty.

One more Sea Gull encounter as we tried to
enjoy ice cream cones on Mackinac Island.

Not sure about this one but it followed me around for a week!

Last but not least is this deer. Not in the wild
but in our friends, Fred and Lois' backyard.

Wildlife! This is what I call wildlife.
Any donations readily accepted.
I'm only about $28,000 short.

Next installment: Scenery