Monday, May 27, 2024

Remember Memorial Day

I probably should have posted this earlier but I didn't.  Gave me a chance to collect some of thoughts of late.

Memorial Day is a day when we are supposed to remember the people that have fallen in defense of our nation.  We also tend to remember other people that have died as well which is fine.  It is also traditionally the day that we consider the start of the summer months.  Granted, the actual start of summer isn't for another month but that's okay.

The medal in the picture is a Purple Heart.  This one was awarded to my great uncle.  He died while on a refuelling barge in the Pacific.  I forget where the Purple Heart falls in the scheme of medals but it is up there.  In order to receive one, you have to either die or be wounded in combat.  In the case of my great uncle, he died as a result of wounds from combat.  I think my grandpa also received a Purple Heart but I don't know where that one is.  He was wounded in Dutch Harbor during a Japanese attack there.  He would have been on a tanker at the time.

I did have a distant relative that served in the Civil War (which was the original origin of the holiday) but I'm not sure what he did.  Someday, I may have to look it up.

Anyway, while you are enjoying the day off, take a moment to think about the sacrifices made for this country.


Sunday, May 26, 2024

My Continuing Quest for a Kirtland Warbler

 My mom ended up getting me a ticket for one of the kirtland warbler tours that are offered by the Audobon Society.  It was for today but it was fairly early which meant getting up early but that was okay.  I've heard they would pretty much guarantee that I would at least see a warbler.

The guide gave a talk about the Kirtland warbler.  It was called the Kirtland warbler because it was "discovered" by a naturalist with the last name of Kirtland.  He was from Cleveland, OH.  Apparently, the people around Grayling and Mio knew about it before him and gave it the name of firebird or jack pine warbler.  The species almost neared extinction because they have a limited habitat and they were almost decimated by cowbirds.  Cowbirds will use the nests of other birds and will kill those other birds when they are born.  In the 70s, there was a program to grow more jack pines and trap cowbirds.  Because of that, the Kirtland warbler now numbers in the thousands again.
After the talk, we were taken to a spot where we were likely to see some warblers.  As I was waiting to see the bird, I took some pictures of these phlox flowers (I think).
They like to hang around jack pine trees.  The bottom branches are a good spot for a nest.  The jack pine almost approached extinction because it requires a fire to grow new ones.
This Cessna Citation flew over.  I was hoping this wasn't the only flying thing I was going to see.
One the left is a Kirtland warbler.  They have a nice yellow belly and a gray back.  They are a very nice looking bird.  On the right is a sparrow of some sort.  I thought that was a warbler but then I looked a little closer.
So I focused on the warbler.  I wish he were a little closer but alas, that wasn't to be.
Given that these are almost exclusive to Michigan, I think these should be the State bird instead of the robin.
There have been proposals to do just that but the robin is popular.
But I think these look cooler.
Even if they are tiny and hard to see.
I thought this was another warbler but it turns out that it was just another sparrow.
But I liked the pictures because the bird was singing and I thought it looked cool.

I was happy to finally get a decent shot of a Kirtland warbler and now that I know where to look, I hope to get some more.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

A Surprise Visitor to Detroit Metro

As I said in the last post, I found out that there was going to be a special visitor coming to Detroit Metro.

When I got up to the parking deck to watch said visitor, I saw that Detroit had another surprise visitor.  This P-8 Poseidon belongs to VP-30 out of Jacksonville, Florida.  I'm not sure why it was here though.
An A300 belonging to UPS.
This A330 was on its way to Amsterdam.
An American 737 heading to Charlotte.
I liked the looks of it as it climbed up.
Another American 737 but it was heading to Dallas.
A United E175 heading to Newark.
I'm not sure where this Spirit Aircraft is heading.
Another United E175 but I'm not sure where it is heading.
A Southwest 737.
A Delta A321 heading to Atlanta.
SAme a little higher.
An A320 heading to Miami.
Some but flying by.
I'm not sure where this CRJ is heading.
An American A320.
A shot with the beacon.
An E175 coming in.
Another A321 heading to Atlanta.
An A321 coming in from LAX.
An American 737 heading off to Charlotte.
A 717 coming in from St. Louis.
An A320 heading somewhere.
The State Police helicopter indicated that the plane I was waiting for would be taking off soon.
It was making sure there was nobody around.
The special visitor turned out to be Air Force One.  President Biden was in town today but I'm not sure what for.
This makes the third time I've see this plane.
It starts the takeoff role.
And starts to lift into the sky.
I think this is my favorite.
And it climbs into the air.
I will have to admit, this is a pretty impressive looking aircraft.
And it turns off to Washington DC.  Like I said, this is a pretty impressive aircraft even though the livery looks pretty low key.  I hope that they have an updated version of this for the new VC-25s getting built.

The Rainbow Behind the Gordie Howe Bridge

 As I was heading back from Ohio, I saw that there was a special visitor at Detroit Metro, so I decided to go catch it.  As I was heading up I-275 to get the airport, I saw a rainbow off to the east.  Since I was driving, I couldn't get a picture of it.

It was faded by the time I got to the airport, but I could still see it.  If you look closely, you can see the towers of the Gordie Howe Bridge peeking over the trees.  You can also see the rainbow.

A Visit to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

 I decided to head down to Ottawa today.  It has been a while since I've been there as well.

I think this is a Slider and not a painted turtle but I'm not sure.  I like the picture well enough, I just wish I didn't have grass in the way.
A heron.  This was a better angle than I first saw.
I was able to get a few shots of him.
Just none fishing.
Seems like there is always an eagle here.
It's pretty cool and I wonder if they are off the endangered list yet.
It seems like they should be but still protected.
And I was able to catch this egret flying.
One more shot.
Another heron.
And another egret.
Again, I like this shot well enough, I just wish the grass wasn't in the way.
A tundra swan family.
Another shot.
I assume this is just the mom.
A group of egrets.
I like this shot.
And I leave you with a heron.