Lookin’ lively

We’ve been seeing Bald Eagles regularly on the lake already this year. This one had been fishing. More likely scrounging.

A tasty morsel, for sure.

And there have been turkeys aplenty this year too. This tom was looking for a date and putting on quite a display.

Even though Bald Eagles may have untidy table manners, I am grateful that Ben Franklin didn’t win the argument about which bird should be our national symbol. Turkeys may be smarter in the bird IQ department. But there’s something about that head and beard that just don’t cut it for me.

A big snapper has been sunning on the small island just across from the public access dock in the lower lake.

If your small boat can make it through the narrow cut-through, watch for the trail of tamped down grass. Snapping turtles and turkeys. Two critters that remind that life is long on this planet earth.

Wild Turkeys

turkeytracksWalking on a two-track, on state land near Sorenson Road, we came upon these Wild Turkey  tracks in the sand.  Wild Turkeys were nearly eliminated from their habitat by the early 1900’s.  Paradoxically, hunters helped save them. In 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation was formed.  It is both a hunting organization and a conservation group .  Estimates then were that about 1.3 million turkeys remained in the wild in the United States.  Today, the population has grown to about seven million.  Hunting seasons have been established in 49 states, including Michigan.  Montmorency County is not exactly teeming with the birds.  But we have seen quite a few hens in fields.  We’ve seen hens and their poults scratching alongside roads.  The toms, with their long beards, are very infrequently seen.  Steve has hunted tom turkeys for three seasons now.  So far, the turkeys are winning.  But it must have been a monster turkey that moved along this trail.  Here is their gobble, which Steve practices using all sort of odd shaped wood and plastic small contraptions.  If Benjamin Franklin had his way, the Wild Turkey would have been our national symbol.  Would that mean we’d be eating eagle for Thanksgiving?

Oh yes, this fine turkey parts drawing (my name for the piece) by Michigan’s own, Glenn Wolff, was published originally in the New York Times. I was able to purchase the original “Mature Male.”  It hangs  at the lake house, where hopefully no dead tom’s beard will ever hang. Wolff’s prints, illustrations, and original oils capture our state and its creatures.  He’s reproducing some of his pieces on T-shirts, tiles, mugs and notecards these days.  Click here to learn more.