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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

World Bird Wednesday XLVII

According to Webster...

Michigan's Indian summer season is in full swing. Our temperatures are reaching into the 80's again! It would behoove me to take advantage of this gift and handle some of the upkeep around the house and barn before old man Winter drops the hammer on us. If there's one thing for sure, it's that this mild weather won't last forever. The temptation however; shuck mundane responsibilities and wander off into the fields and streams to witness the spectacular end of the growing season. Michigan is ablaze with a leafy transcendence. Not every year is so remarkable for it's Autumn color as this one is. Each individual leaf bears a complicated pallet. It is a tradition here to save a few gem quality examples, leaves we simply can not leave behind, and press them forever between the folds of our six inch thick, ninety year old Webster's New World Unabridged Dictionary. Of my possessions, this book with its chiseled covers is the most hotly contested item between my children when they debate the fallout of my inevitable decline. (If you catch my drift.) They finally brought the issue to me for a decision; which of them would inherit the three thousand sheaves of rice paper that constitute its vast knowledge? I so ruled: At Thanksgiving or Christmas, after I am gone, my son and daughter shall play a game of scrabble to determine possession of the hallowed dictionary for the following year. Forevermore. So it is said, so it is written!
 If they'd like to practice for those future battles, their Eighty-nine and one half year old Grandma, reigning champion of the letters, is open for appointments!

What is it about American bitterns, just how reclusive can a bird be? Apparently extremely so. I checked with Saginaw Bay Birding and found that they had only one sighting reported for a bittern all year. I have seen three! The latest example was the bird hidden in a roadside weed bed at Shiawassee Refuge. The bird did not flush and we faced off for a good photo session. My concentration broke when a Night jar cruised in and I fought with my camera to reset the shutter speed for a bird in flight shot. The distraction lasted maybe 20 seconds but when I looked back to regain my vigil, the phantom of the marsh had dematerialised. Crafty devil!

  I hope my revised comment board choice is now more inclusive! I appreciate reading your words of wisdom and truly, all the hard working bloggers that contribute to WBW deserve our kind words.
One of the weakness/strengths of WBW is that our focus is on bird life, a regular contributor, the phenomenal Pat Ulrich has recently been posting pictures of his travels in Yellowstone National Park. Pat's photographs of the great beasts of the American West are a Masters course in nature photography.
  I unabashedly recommend everyone click on Pat Ulrich Photography to enjoy some great eye candy. 

Great days! The migration, I'm happy to report, has arrived in Saginaw Valley!

Now it's time for World Bird Wednesday!

This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.

World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.

#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW.

#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with Linky.

#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!
The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compadres!

Come on it's your turn!


  1. the fall colors are spectacular! i'd have to eschew household chores and hit the woods. :) your bittern shot is phenomenal!

    and do my eyes deceive me, or does the gull in your header have an insecft buzzing its head?

  2. I second the gull question, that's been bugging me since you put it up.

    Love the bittern, that is one bird (the European species that is) I'd love to see in the wild. I even dreamed about it and how I failed to get a good photo because my mom flushed the bird.

  3. p.s. love the fight over the dictionary!

  4. Springman, you always have such amazing photos! Love them!!

  5. Love the Webster ownership squabble! And settling it with a Scrabble match, how perfect!
    Always love coming here ... your photos are so awesome!

  6. Springman, excellent. I do love migration time. I was out on Saturday, to our local sanctuary. Opening of hunting season out here.
    All the way around the sanctuary the shotguns made themselves known. The were thousands of Snow Geese about. All about a mile high, but idiots still shoot at them.
    I view Pat's photos on a regular basis and you are right, he's photographer extraordinaire!

  7. A lovely read... it's nice they want something you also treasure.
    My son tells me he will use my stamp collection for least most of them are already used.
    Lovely images of your Autumn we to had an indian summer but the temps have dropped and it's raining... I see lots of photos of golden trees from the south of England but just scroll down a post on my's still quite green here.

  8. Seems liek you have the same situation as we do. Still warm yet fall. Leaves are falling fast now.
    How on earth did you see that bittern? They are so hard to find. :)

  9. Love the birds! We have seen a couple bitterns, but they are hard to spot usually. I would definitely go outside and play if I were you this time of year.

    We used to have a dictionary like that before we sold our house; neither of us can remember which of the kids has it. (I hate to say this, I really do, but the one I have on my Kindle now works faster for Scrabble!)

    Thanks again for the comment form change.

  10. Great photos, Springman! I'm participating in my first World Bird Wednesday at the suggestion of TexWisGirl. It looks like a lot of fun and there are some fantastic contributions!

  11. I love the fall colors here in Michigan. And I love birding what kind of lens do we need to get such beautiful and clear photos for birding? ^_^


  12. its a great post Springman..... I have never seen a bittern bu I do keep trying.

    I echo your admiration of Pat Ulrichs work. He is certainly one of my (many) inspirations.... I am sure you have embarrssed him a little but will surely thank you for the plug to his wonderful work

    As always Springman... best Regards

  13. Hello everyone and welcome to wbwXLVII.
    To answer Texwisgirls and Jedediah's Question...Yes, that is a bug the gull is eyeballing. I was shooting a flock dive-bombing a swarm of insects and this picture won the in-focus award. I love the contortion of the bird, dropping the foot for drag, to manage a chance at the tiny treat. Thank you fast auto-focus!
    About the dictionary...
    The thing that we miss with online dictionaries is the "word next to the word" phenomena, that brilliant archaic word you find by chance association. That doesn't happen with the laser focus of a computerised knowledge base. I would not know that there are "Hellgrammites" in my stretch of the Pine river if not for this quirk! The drawings laced through out this volume are equally enlightening. I found the great library sized volume in an abandoned house in the early seventies. I need a pedestal for it! I am in town working right now but when I get home I'll add a picture of it to this post.

    Cheers, Dave

  14. Kim,
    I use a Canon T2i camera and the incomparable 400mm 5.6L canon lens.99.9 percent of the birds I post are taken with it. At $1200 it is a guilty pleasure but it's resale value never drops by more than a couple of hundred bucks if the lens is kept in reasonable shape. The fact that the T2i takes 18meg images gives me tremendous cropping power. I think this is about the most basic of set ups that can often get you Pat Ulrich like results! Then you have to learn his belly crawl stalking technique!

  15. Great photo of the bittern and beautiful autumn colors - which we don't get out here in the sub-tropics. Instead we have to plant bushes and shrubs with colored leaves - but at least they last all year round!

  16. Great post, Springman! I love the Bittern shot. It is an awesome bird and a great sighting. Your photos are wonderful.

  17. Ah, the judgement of Solomon with a twofold purpose . . .the so hotly contested heirloom will be fairly shared and the now children will have a tradition to cling to which will bring them together at least once a year.

    I adore those super elusive birds. One of the birds we drew at art school was a bittern and I have been fascinated by them ever since, yet never have I seen one in the wild. Thank you for sharing this wonder of frozen camouflage with us.

  18. Awesome Bittern. Difficult to stalk.In our area,Fall colors are in full swing.
    Well, congrats to your Tigers! They did prevail.
    My ailing Yankees, just seemed lost, but there is always next year. Have a great week.

  19. Ahhh... Your Grandma must have had a great influence on you! I love how you play and flirt with words.:)
    I struggle on my days off from work. Do I "do chores" or do I "enjoy nature"?:(
    Pat's photos are excellent!!!
    (But so are yours. Love that Hawk!)

  20. Lovely post, Springman! The hawk is gorgeous, and well done on the bittern! That is certainly not an easy bird to find or photograph.

    And thanks so much for your shout out and linking to my blog! You are, as always, far too kind in your words -- but it is much appreciated!

  21. Another awesome post Dave! The Bittern shots are just fantastic! I have a couple of mediocre shots but I'm getting closer to snapping a good one. Whenever I get into a situation like you had with that American Bittern, where a bird thinks it can't be seen and does a photo op session for me, I make sure I don't take my eyes of of it until it either flies or I get tired of shooting it!

    Great story on the dictionary too. When I was a kid, whenever I came across a word I didn't know, I looked it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia. It's a wonderful practice to hand down to your kids.

  22. Hi there - glad to see my eye sight has not declined to the state where I start see insects in gull pictures!

    I once had a really great run of Bitterns in the UK - but they are much harder to find in Australia. And I have exactly zero pictures of them! More green eyes from me. Must agree with the recommendation of PU's blog.

    Cheers SM

  23. So true, what you said about "the word next to the word." The same goes for bird apps on my iPod-- I miss seeing "the bird next to the bird."

    Wonderful photos. We left northern Illinois way too early this year. Fall migration in South Florida beats spring, but cannot compare with what goes on up north.


  24. Springman, I am always inspired by your posts and I see other commentators share in the pleasure. Such wonderful writing and superb photos! Years ago, before I knew how fortunate I was, a Bittern decided to make its home in the small patch of wetland across from our house. He kept sticking his head out of the reeds sounding like an old pump. But he finally gave up, probably couldn't attract a mate to his home, and flew off. I haven't seen or heard one since. You are right about fortuitous discoveries in old-fashioned dictionaries. For me reading up on something on Wikipedia serves the same purpose - endless distractions though and hard to stick to the original line of thought. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Your photos are wonderful, Springman, and, as always this is a delightful read! An avid reader as a child, I would often just look for interesting words in our family's "so big you could hardly lift it" dictionary. One word would lead to another and another...

  26. The autumn colours are gorgeous and there's so much to watch during migrations! Love your post!

  27. Springman, once again, well written and well photographed. I love the last shot with all the birds in flight! Your bog or swamp looks similar to mine, except mine has lilypads instead of duck weed. Still, the cattails are waving in the wind and the trees are ablaze with color. I absolutely love the shots of your bittern. I hope you eBirded those sightings since no one else seems to be doing it! How amazing that you have seen 3 of them!

    My desktop computer is down but being worked on. I am using an old dinosaur of a laptop with limited capabilities but at least I can get online and visit blogs. My post this week was written and scheduled last week before the demise of my computer, so I am glad for that.

    Love that header shot also. It is amazing how birds can twist in flight. How nice is it that your kids all want the dictionary above all else! That's very impressive!

  28. Not long ago I was looking everywhere for a dictionary..We too have an aged fat Webster around here someplace...Spell check is probably causing the demise of that book as the Kindle will eventually kill the book we hold and fill with dog ears and notes in the margin and the love of books, authors, and writing in general..BUT birds wow...YOU got more great shots to share..the bittern is still on my Unseen list but Im alway hopeful. I hope soon enough I can get something new to share Ive been a neglectful birder lately.
    Keep up the great work, its appreciated!

  29. I always enjoy sifting through the submissions for WBW looking for a "best of show" and letting that person know of my choice. My selection is always made that much more difficult as I read your post and admire your photos first. How can I go on from there? Game over. This week was especially so after seeing the header photo. I was helpless to continue on objectively. Awesome shot, and I am one who rarely uses that overused word. Well done Springman.

  30. Thats good, your blog is cool, i like it. Thanks for the efforts my friend.

  31. Lovely shots of the birds! Autumn in your part of the world is beautiful!!