Monthly Archives: March 2013

3/30/13 Heronry Report

Just a few things about the largest Great Blue Heron nesting site in Southeastern Michigan, located at Holland Ponds in Shelby Twp., Michigan. As of 3/30/13, almost all the existing nests had mating pairs of herons on them.

Many of the nests had females who where already sitting on the nests. Which mean they are either attempting to lay eggs or have already layed eggs. No new nests being built though. And there are also no stragglers hanging around the Colony. Last year, even after all the nests where filled with mating pairs of herons, there where still a dozen or so males, hanging around the outside limits of the nesting Colony. None of that happening this year.

I am hoping that there will be another migrational phase and the Heronry will see another influx of herons returning from down south, wintering grounds. We need to see some new nests being built because we lost almost 10 nests to two different nesting trees that where knocked down by wind storms over the wintertime. these nests need to be replaced just for the heronry to remain on par with last years 44 active, producing nests.

The newer rear heronry is doing well, and there is plenty of room for new nest there. For years to come if the Heronry survives. Take a relaxing walk out at Holland Ponds Park, in Shelby Twp. at 22 mile rd. & Ryan rd., and see something pretty amazing and unique. some of the largest Birds in S.E. Michigan, nesting and raising their young, high in the tallest trees in the area. Just plain something you do not see every day.


Check out the video of the Heronry at the Link below:


With all the excitement just starting to take place outdoors, there is no better time to head out and blend in. Some of my very best Nature experiences have been while doing nothing. What I mean by that is…….just blending into the scenery.

Frog4Find that Pond, sit quietly, become the frog in that pond and wait. Nature has a way of understanding when we mean no harm and are there to just BE part of everything. Once you have sat and blended into the surrounds, you almost become invisible.

The critters no longer care about your presence there. Birds will go ¬†about their business, and even the plants & trees will forget your there. ūüôā Some of the very best encounters with wildlife and Nature experiences have taken place while I was Being the frog someplace.

This works. Really. Try it. It takes your participation in truly being calm, unconcerned and embracing everything around you. But once you have achieved this state, almost anything can happen. I have had critter wander right up to where I was sitting. Normal Pond behaviour takes place, like I wasn’t even there. It is amazing what can happen when you are no longer a threat to your surroundings. When YOU are now considered a part of what is there and not a visitor or alien.

Try this. It not only will produce wonderful results in what you experience, but it is good for your soul and well being.

9th annual Metroparks Geocaching Adventure


These are the results of the 2012 Adventure geocaching Event.

Participating in the Adventure

In order to complete the Metroparks Geocaching Adventure 2012 one needs to find the 11 caches hidden in 11 different Metroparks. At each cache obtain two words, found in the cache on the cover,  to be circled on a Word Search puzzle found in our brochure.  By participating in the adventure you will be able to discover some interesting things about the Metroparks. The caches will be in place from May 1 through December 2012.  The deadline for puzzle submission is December 1, 2012. 



Park Maps and Maps to get to the Parks

We have being working on the Hiking Michigan PARK MAPS pages from the web site. Some major redos. We started by updating many of our existing Southeastern Michigan Park Maps and adding a few new ones.

At the bottom of the PARKS MAPS page, there is a section called:  SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN PARKS. This Link will take you to a giant Map of the 8 counties that make up S.E. Michigan.



There is a Link on this page that says:  PARKS INDEX PAGE. This Link will take you to 120 listed Parks, by county, for S.E. Michigan. When you click on any of the listed Parks there, you will get a GOOGLE Map of that Park. Directions on how to get there, details of the Parks, and contact numbers. We are even adding a few pictures from each Park embedded in the Maps.


You can also check with the two FLICKR sites and get more detailed pictures from many of the Parks listed here on the SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN PARKS Page. This is not as confusing as it sounds. ūüôā It is worth roaming these pages because there are so many useful Maps of so many beautiful Parks in S.E. Michigan. Not just the State Parks, but the Metro Parks, County Parks and Nature Preserves.

This is of course a work in progress, although we much of it done already. Over 120 different Parks are listed on the SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN PARKS Page.

So Give it a check out and see if you can explore the area and find some Cool places to visit in S.E. Michigan. Check the SPECIAL MICHIGAN PLACES here on this Blog and then head over to the PARKS MAPS page on the web site and get both a Park Map and a Map to get you to the Park. ūüôā


Just a Reminder

Hiking Michigan has put this Blog site together to assist everyone find a place or Group to enjoy the outdoors with. yes……we also use this place as an extension of our HM Outdoors NewsLetter, so that everyone can write about their outdoor experiences. You do not have to be a sanctioned News writer. In fact……we prefer you are not affiliated with any publication. Instead……tell us of your outings and explorations in your own words. Not some News Editors angle.

MichiganHumanHandsThere are growing Links to many different Outdoor Groups and Organizations here too. See the Michigan Organizations page for Links. There is the Special Michigan Places page. Here we are accumulating the Coolest places to visit and experience in Michigan. Remote Hiking Trails in S.E.Michigan. Unique Natural Environment areas such as Seven Lakes State Park and all the unique FENS that exist there. We try and post a Map of the Park along with the information about that Special place.

So roam around here. There are endless Links and guides to assist you or connect you with the Outdoors. BE MICHIGAN OUTDOORS. There is so much to be and experience here in our beautiful state!

Dr. Bob Birding – Latest Blog Posting

523465_4103330934503_1611002736_nDr.Bob is probably one of our most read birders at Hiking Michigan. between him and Janet Hug, they keep us all very informed of what is taking place in the Birding communities through out Southeastern Michigan and beyond.

Here is a recent posting from Dr. Bob, on Holland Ponds, the largest heron nesting site in S.E.Michigan, and the place I first met the Dr. and his wife Judy. A total accident. I was filming the Herons there when Dr.Bob and Judy strolled up. We sat and watched the Herons and talked for hours as perfect strangers. After that afternoon, we where never strangers again.

New blog posting. Save March 23 for a hike to see Great Blue Herons at Holland Ponds.

I dropped a new blog about at what level of detail on eBird that will most be helpful to the birding community. (March 16th) I am up to date (at least for this year …) with my eBird, so I felt I could “talk”. I really want feedback please!

Monarch Butterfly Populations declining

The World Wildlife Fund-Mexico / Telcel Alliance, in collaboration with Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), held a press conference late on the 13th of March 2013 to announce the results of the status of the monarch populations that overwinter in the oyamel forests of Mexico. Measures of the areas occupied by each of the nine monarch colonies in the states of Michoacan and Mexico totaled 1.19 hectares. This number represents a decline of almost 59% from the area occupied the previous winter. Further, this population is the smallest recorded since the monarch colonies came to the attention of scientists in 1975. A visual inspection of Figure 1 reveals a clear downward trend in the population:

Figure 1. Total Area Occupied by Monarch Colonies at Overwintering Sites in Mexico This decline is statistically significant* (analysis by Ernest Williams, Hamilton College):

linear regression: p=0.004, R squared = 0.402

exponential regression: p=0.001, R squared = 0.477 At issue is the cause of the decline and there are a number of factors involved:

1) The loss of milkweeds in row crops (corn and soybeans) due to the adoption of seed varieties genetically modified to tolerate treatment with herbicides. The utilization of these herbicide tolerant crops has all but eliminated milkweeds from these fields.

2) The push for the production of biofuels, which has resulted in the planting of 25.5 million more acres of corn and soybeans than were planted as recently as 2006. This increase has been at the expense of milkweed-containing Conservation Reserve Program land, grassland, and rangeland (as well as other crops).

3) Development, which consumes 6000 acres at day or 2.2 million acres a year.

4) Intensive farming that reduces the area from the edge of the road to the field and management of our roadsides with the use of herbicides (and excessive mowing) which also eliminates milkweeds.

5) Deforestation of the oyamel fir forests ‚Äď although this has declined over the last few years, the condition of these forests is less than optimal for the survival of overwintering monarchs.

6) Unusual weather ‚Äď and we had plenty of that during the 2012 monarch breeding season. March was the warmest recorded since nationwide record keeping began in 1895. Warm weather tends allow returning monarchs to spread north rapidly and arrivals of monarchs in areas north of Oklahoma in April are often followed by low temperatures that delay development of the population. In 2012, first generation monarchs moving north-northeast out of Texas arrived much earlier in the northern breeding areas than previously recorded. Historically, low overwintering numbers have followed the early arrival of monarchs. These early establishments were followed by one of the hottest and driest summers in recent decades. Hot and dry conditions probably have the effect of reducing adult lifespan and therefore the number of eggs laid per female over their lifetime.

All in all, it was not a good year for monarchs. While some of the present decline can certainly be attributed to the seasonal conditions last summer, it is the decline of monarch habitats in the United States and Mexico that is the major concern. The good news is that we can do something about the habitats in the United States and Canada ‚Äď we can plant milkweed. That said, in order to compensate for the continued loss of habitat we need to plant LOTS AND LOTS of milkweed.¬†To assure a future for monarchs, conservation and restoration of milkweeds needs to become a national priority.

Chip Taylor
Director, Monarch Watch


This is a Blog reposting from MONARCH WATCH BLOG.

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