Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Flora and Fauna of the Upper Peninsula

The above picture is pretty much representative of the wildflowers for northern Michigan at the end of its summer. The forest's floors which we have seen have been covered primarily with a variety of moss, ferns and mushrooms. I did find one very unusual mushroom, which I at first thought was a bloody tissue. My second thought was that someone dripped blood on the mushroom. But no, I found other white mushrooms with the same streak of red!. That was a first sighting of particular variety of mushroom for me.
 John pointed out to me that there is no underbrush in the woods as in Missouri because of the short season of summer. In the river hills the ground is particularly bare and tree roots are exposed. It is hard to imagine now, but it gets quite cold here during the winter and there can be lot of snow on the ground. That snow, when it melts, certainly creates a good deal of erosion along the river bluffs. We were disappointed that we did not see any moose during our time in northern Michigan, only lots of deer. Upper Michigan is also supposed to have 85% of all the black bears in Michigan. We did not see them either. However, we had two interesting encounters with birds. One afternoon we found a young evening grosbeak on our steps. He let me take a picture of him and then flew off. He seemed like a very young bird for this being so late into summer.
Yesterday morning a variety of birds created quite a bit of racket near our home. In all of that din I noticed some bird sounds I had not heard before. Not long after that I happened to glance out of our kitchen window and saw a pileated woodpecker pecking away at a big hole located on the bottom of a nearby tree. I apologize for the blurry picture, he was moving rather rapidly around the tree. Today we have moved west to Duluth, Minnesota. It is on the far western edge of Lake Superior.

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