FIELD TRIP! West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve, Michigan - Aug 2010

I went to MI to visit my family and had to go on some nature-y walk while I was there. Just looking at the lakes and parks near my parents' house I realize that there is so much near them I'd never even considered visiting when I lived there (for 18 years!). There's even a great blue heron rookery! Next time I visit in the late spring and early summer I'll have to go there but they were all hatched by this time. In any case, and old friend and I decided to explore the West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserved a bit. Here's the website and a map below.

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According to the website:

"A 2.5-mile trail (1/2 mile of which is barrier free) wanders through the glacially sculpted hills and valleys of the nature preserve, which is frequented by over 100 bird species, white-tail deer, red fox, coyote, and weasels. Sightings of soaring turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, and osprey are no longer rare."

We were hoping to see even a small amount of that wildlife. Once we parked we just started walking. We didn't have a proper trail map but that was alright. We just wanted to be outside a bit and talk. Nothing intense.

Quickly, we stumbled upon an area with a raised wooden platform that jutt out into a marshy/swampy area - what you would call wetlands I suppose. We could see some ducks in the distance and close by there were a few frogs. I'd never been to a wetlands area and I was astonished how bright the greens were. Here are some photos of that area:

discarded book

ducks in the distance

green frog in the middle (Rana clamitans)

After taking that in for a while, we walked around for about an hour through the trail network. We saw a chipmunk, small snake, some birds and some very bright orange mushrooms. We also managed to get devoured by mosquitoes! I shouldn't be surprised. Never stumbled upon the "glacially sculpted hills and valleys of the nature preserve" but that's alright. Here are some more of my photos.


unidentified orange mushrooms

All in all a great little quick getaway from the strip malls and gas stations near my parents' house but still close enough and easy enough to be low key.

Also, below are a few photos I took or some birds I saw in the Lexington area near Port Huron. I took these from my cousin's house/porch so they're not exactly wildlife adventure photos, but I was so excited to see so many different and colorful birds. In LA it seems we mostly have crows, pigeons and seagulls.

Bird photography is hard with a point and shoot. I'll have to get a digital SLR at some point. Just click on the images to get a closer look and click again to zoom in even more.

mute swan
(Cygnus olor)

female northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
- the one with the red beak on the left -,
downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
and some other common bird

house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
the one with the red breast

American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
the bright yellow birds

There were a ton of hummingbirds too but I didn't get any decent photos of them.

I wonder what kind of exploring awaits when I return to MI for the Christmas holidays and then again to the area (near Cleveland) for my college reunion in May. We'll have to wait and see. :)