Tag Archives: Michigan Parks

Are YOU Truly what YOU say YOU are?

I have heard more often these last couple of years, on how this person is this, and that person is that. Take for instance a local Birder. They will get up on a soap-box and proclaim how they belong to this Bird Group and that Bird Group. They will tell you about their “LIFE-LIST” of spotted Birds. The will most likely show you pictures of all the different Birds they have seen. Some will be Rare Birds, and many of the shots will be extra special shots of extra special birds. But are they real Birders?

I am by no-means picking on Birders. This applies to Mushroom Hunters, Bikers, Nature Nuts and many other Forest Groups. I have had many, many conversations with all types of various Outdoor Group members, who proclaim to be the ultimate in being that specific Outdoor individual. But are they?

I have thought very hard about this question. I used to wonder if I myself was a true Birder, or Mushroom Hunter or Naturalist. Since I do not belong to any of these specific Outdoor Groups, have a Degree in any of these things, or have spent a lifetime focused almost solely on these specific subjects. This made me question whether I was truly any of these things.

Then I realized that most of the people that actually claim to be these Outdoor things, such as a Birder…..really are not. A Collector maybe. A gatherer of Bird pictures or sightings, but not really a true Birder.

You see…….If one claimed to be a real Birder (or any other specific Outdoor enthusiast, this person would first and foremost have to be concerned with the Habitats and Natural Resources that cause these critters or Life to exist and thrive.

A Bird population needs quality Habitat, Food sources and these days…..protection from the many hazards MAN puts into the Birds world. You cannot truly be a Birder and then pollute the habitats Birds need to survive. You do not let Invasive Species like the Autumn Olive grow untouched, and say you are a Mushroomer, as the Autumn Olive chokes out the very Habitats that support a healthy, annual Mushroom growths.

This goes for almost every specific Outdoor living thing. Before you tell anyone that you are a Birder, Naturalist, Mushroom Hunter, or any other Outdoor enthusiast,please first tell me when was the last time you participated in an Invasive Species removal or Clean-up. Or how often have you done this kind of Habitat protection and Clean-up. Tell me a little something about what it takes to produce successful nesting and reproduction of annual youngster.

If all you can do, is show me some pictures, or tell me how many spotting adventures you have been on, or what is your total “Life-List” of Birds, Mushrooms or Wild Flowers you have spotted or collected………then do not go any further. You are as much a Birder, Naturalist or Mushroom hunter as my Doggie, who loves to run the open Forest and is excited by everything he discovers there. It all does NOTHING in helping these species flourish and reproduce, by making sure the Natural Resources are taken care of and are healthy.

I know this will not be a popular way to look at things for some people. Because it is always easiest to just go out and have fun in the Parks. It takes a true love of Mother Nature to give back regularly and help all these species reproduce each year, and migrate, to and from healthy environments.

If you are not doing these things…..believe me…….very soon all these species, Birds, Plants Trees and the diverse habitats that help produce the variety of Birds, Mushrooms and Outdoor life, will disappear. Then What? Barren Parks of Invasive Species? What will You claim to be then?


The PERFECT Picture


I get many, many pictures sent to me or posted on the various Hiking Michigan sites On-line. BEAUTIFUL pictures! But what makes these pictures beautiful? Is it the details in each picture? Is it the perfection in the control of the Camera and it’s settings? Or even the placement of the things that make up the picture?

All of these things do play a certain part in that PERFECT picture, BUT……it is that undefined “THING” that truly makes a picture Beautiful to me. That undefined thing maybe something as simple as the Outdoor spot itself. Or a Bird that is doing more then just sitting there. The Birders seem to be the most critical of their work.

Yes……it is great to see every feather on that close-up shot of a particular bird. BUT….seeing that same bird landing on the edge of a Feeder, or grabbing that insect in mid-flight tells so much more. For me, those are the most beautiful shots.

A couple of local Birders who post regularly, many times, will capture a Bird image as I described, yet still have much criticism of their work. It is great to always be working for perfection in your Camera abilities, but many times, these two individuals have already done that. I am talking about Dr. Bob and new friend Kim.

osprey-in-flight-w-sigHere is a recent picture of an Osprey, flying overhead, carrying some fresh grass to line it’s nest for the evening sleep. It would be one thing to get the picture of the Osprey itself……but to capture an image of it carrying fresh grass for it’s nest, and what kind of grass it traveled almost 2 miles to get special for it’s nest, makes this one of those PERFECT images to me. Beautiful in it’s form, and informative in what it is doing. Kim did an excellent job at grabbing this picture in a moments notice, after spotting the Bird from a distance, Identifying it, setting her Camera up, and then getting the shot. PERFECT!

DrBobHere is one of my many favorites from Dr. Bob. He waited for that moment when the Egret was about to make his dive for the fish below. You can see the intense concentration, the beauty in the stance of this bird. No……we cannot count every feather in this bird, but the perfection in this picture is what the Dr. captured in that very moment of the Egrets hunt. This IS a perfect picture. I know Dr. Bob would disagree. He would have many reasons on what is wrong with his picture. I guess this is Bob striving for better Photography. But in the world of capturing a moment in time and teaching us all a little something about a hunting Egret, This is a PERFECT picture.



So what did Michael shoot here in this picture? I do not see anything specific here. No Dragons or anything specifically overwhelming going on. But there is a feel to this spot by the Lake. He Bushwhacked quite a distance to find this spot. Just the feel of the land and the Lake draws you into this place. And that is what makes this shot a PERFECT picture.

I can understand the goals that many Photographers have at getting better at their craft, or mastering their Camera equipment. But they should not forget that the beauty and perfection is not always in the details of what the Camera has captured, but in what the Photographers eye has seen and then put in the picture for all of us to experience. I consider each of the pictures above, to be an “Experience”. And that is a huge part of the PERFECT picture.

Dr. BOBs Bird Blog               KIMs Nature is My Therapy Blog

So Many Special Michigan Places

When asked what are my favorite places to visit in Michigan, I usually hesitate and then respond with…….Everywhere. There are just so many beautiful, mysterious and special places through out the entire state, it is impossible to start to even list them.

There are places I have been hundreds of times and will continue to return to them. There are places that when ever I am within 50 miles of them, I will stop there, if not just for an hour or so, to reconnect with that place. I gets hard traveling around the state sometimes. 🙂 Pick a destination and by the time we stop at a half dozen places for just a quick stop, it took us 3 times the projected time to get there.

I was going through some vacation pictures recently, and just selected a few shots that brought back some nice memories and places I thought everyone should visit at some point in their Michigan lives. GO GET OUTDOORS anywhere in Michigan. It is all Wonderful!

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Mother Earth Day

TheGatheringMany Moons ago, all over our planet lived peoples who’s only goals, in modern day terms, were….NOTHING. They only wanted to live in harmony with Mother Earth. They understood that this harmony produced the best lives for their families & people. Their focus was on the Truth, Integrity, Honesty, Values strong and solid enough to be passed down from generation to generation. They lived all over the planet, on every continent. Yet we have almost no evidence of their existences. That is because they left few scares on Earth for future generations to discover.

Then came the Modern Man. As his building and Monuments rose to the sky, the Trees came down to the ground. He believed he could do it better then Nature could. That HIS ways were better then the Natural Ways. So they built, dug deep into the ground, tossed their unwanted things out of sight, and out of mind. They believed THEY could fix any of the damages they caused. THEY could remold the Natural world to their liking and it would be Good.

Every one of these so called Modern Man Civilisations have gone away now. Our own modern civilisations are here for only a short period compared to many of the previous civilisations. Yet we believe it is all invincible. That it will be here forever. Our lack of understanding our own planets History causes us to make the same mistakes that every Civilisation have made prior to our own existence here on the Planet.

The original peoples of the World did not have the answers to every question, nor did they live perfect lives. But they did understand the very important rudimentary things needed to live “Along With Mother Earth”, and not egotistically believe they could control Mother Earth. Those basic understandings were their most significant accomplishments and what allowed them to survive so much longer then any so called Modern civilisation ever has.

There must be something to this. These original peoples did not survive and flourish as they did, just out of pure luck. All over the world they lived in harmony with the Earth. And it worked. Do we learn from this?

Monday, April 22nd is the official holiday called EARTH DAY. What will YOU do for that one single Day? Will you read of our ancestors? Our History here on the Planet? Try and clean up some of the messes we have made almost everywhere? What ever you do, Honor Mother Earth. A healthy Earth means a healthy Mankind. It really is that simple.

Birds & Brews Meetings

A quick reminder that Birds & Brews is coming up next week!We are featuring Michigan Audubon’s Conservation Director, Tom Funke.  Tom will be presenting on MAS bird sanctuaries. These 19 sanctuaries protect more than 5,000 acres of important wildlife habitat. Rivers, lakes, marshes, bogs, fens, grasslands, hardwoods and northern conifer communities are found in these habitats, many protecting endangered species of animals and plants.







Event Details:

Wednesday, April 10th
  • 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. – Social hour
  • 6:45 p.m. – Presentation by Tom Funke
  • Place – Bailey’s Pub, 22091 Michigan Ave, Dearborn
  • RSVP’s are required for this event / shelleyupnorth@gmail.com

In May, we will not have a Birds & Brews, but I highly encourage you to consider attending the Tawas Birding Festival. Registration is now open for the 2013 Tawas Point Birding Festival, which takes place May 16-19 in Iosco County, Michigan. The event will feature guided birding walks at the area’s best hotspots, programs and talks by some of Michigan’s leading wildlife experts, the Michigan Audubon bookstore, and, of course, the opportunity to enjoy the company of hundreds of your fellow birders. http://tawasbirdfest.com/

On June 12th, Birds & Brews will be meeting at the Wildbirds Unlimited Store in Canton. Birds & Brews members Brian & Michele Hintz were kind enough to offer their store as well as provide a 20% discount to any bird supply purchases you may want to make.  There will be some light refreshments provided. More details will be provided as the date gets closer.

Until then, happy spring birding!

Shelley Martinez


BE a healthy Outdoors….BE Michigan

So many people want Michigan to BE something else. The “Trails State”, “The Automotive State”, “The Motor City”, etc. Our official State Tag is: The Great Lakes state. And it is this motto that does explain just what Michigan truly is. It is NOT, what us humans have created here. It is NOT what we want to sell to others. It IS what has been our heritage since we became a state in 1837. The Waters, Lakes, Rivers and Streams that all make up the largest collection of fresh water in the world, OUR Great Lakes.

Michigan is all the things that make up those Great Lakes. Healthy Forests and meadows are required to have these Great Lakes. The abundant wild life, Trees and Plants that go along with a healthy outdoor environment. These are the things that define our beautiful state of Michigan. Not the man made Bike Pathways, not the man made created outdoor Recreation. None of those things could exist of not for a healthy environment surrounding them.

There is nothing wrong with Outdoor Recreation. It is something every Michigander has participated in, in some way, for most of their lives. It is embedded into most of our lives. So should the protection of those Natural Resources that make everything else possible.

Think about something for a moment. Who would come to our state and ride our Bike Pathways all around the state, if most of them ran through a collection of Invasive Species, contaminated areas, unhealthy ecosystems and rotting old infrastructures in most of our Parks? Think about it for a moment. That kind of thinking is backwards. Get the state healthy once again, rebuild the infrastructure in our decaying Parks, and nurture the beauties we have had, until recently, with all we can muster.

Do not let Plant, Fish and insect Invaders destroy our Forests and Waterways while we are focused on building new Nature. We are not capable of building new Nature. Nor is leveling off the natural places we have to construct new Recreational joy rides, a logical replacement for a simple healthy Natural Resources based Michigan.

A healthy Michigan means EVERYONE wins. Not just the Critters, trees and Plants, but us humans that enjoy the outdoors. True outdoor Recreation requires a healthy Forest, a Clean Lake and a diverse ecosystem for everyone to have a great Outdoor experience. Not what man can create, build or adjust to suite his supposed needs and wants.


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. 🙂 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.

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