Exploring Fabius Township and St. Joseph County, Michigan, with side trips all over this Great Lakes state

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What ignites your imagination?

Recent explosions on the sun have ignited not only my imagination but also incredible sights on earth.  Auroras are not insipid events!  I have had only one incident of viewing one live and that was just outside Marquette in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula back in the early 70’s.  It was late August, and the friend we were visiting woke us about four in the morning to invite us to come outside.  First he pointed out the frozen (!) bucket of water and then pointed up to the sky which was filled with the most brilliant, undulating waves of lights, greens and reds and whites, whose impression is impossible to catch with words.   One is awe-struck when in the presence of an aurora borealis!  

I wish I could include one of my own photos of an aurora, but since I have none I will send you to SpaceWeather.com to see the photos that others have captured in the last month.  There you can also learn more about upcoming events in space to keep an eye out for.  I invite you to sign up for email alerts of solar flares, auroras, meteors, etc.   Have you seen the close conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in the western sky over North America?  Keep scrolling to find the aurora albums.

From the auroras photographed in February, here is one on Lake Superior's Au Train Bay where I have photographed amazing sunrises but not auroras -- yet....!  Aaron Peterson shot this on what he said was a rare clear night sky over Lake Superior.  See more of his photos at his website, archive.aaronpeterson.net.


And finally here  is a time lapse photo/video of the March 12 aurora in Wasilla, Alaska.  This needs to be watched when you have time to drift along with the lights.  Although we couldn't be there, we can contemplate its beauty in this 6-minute video. 

Do not stay in ignorance of the other inspiring bloggers on Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday.  I am insistent about your visiting ABC Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hapless harbingers

It was just over a week ago, a cold and snowy day when a host of Red-wing Blackbirds, huddled in the bushes heads hanging.  They had come our way, much to their regret.  Someone, no beaks were pointed, had really messed up the return schedule.  It was February, not March, and these harbingers of spring in our part of Michigan had hurried home to the north only to be greeted by the biggest snowfall of the year.  But I don’t think we can really blame them; it had been a funny winter with warm days doing in any snowfall that was deep enough to please the skiers, skaters, or sledding enthusiasts -- anyone who loves winter.

Not feeling too harried this week, I went exploring for more information on Red-wing Blackbirds on the web.   And, happily, I was alerted to what a female Red-wing looks like.  And, hooray, I had photographed her that snowy day not knowing who she was or why she was hanging out with all the Red-wings!  Check out this Wikipedia article where you can learn what to call a Red-wing in the languages of their summer territories ("....in vast majority of the other Ojibwa language dialects, the bird is called memiskondinimaanganeshiinh, literally meaning "a bird with a very red damn-little shoulder-blade." However, in the Odawa language, an Anishinaabe language in Southwestern Ontario and in Michigan, the bird is instead called either as memeskoniinisi ("bird with a red [patch on its wing]") or as memiskonigwiigaans ("[bird with a] wing of small and very red [patch]").[22]

And when the snow melted, these other too-early harbingers of spring were once more visible, also several weeks earlier than usual!

http://images.wikia.com/icehockey/images/6/63/Detroit_red_wings_1995.gifP.S. in case you didn't know about them, our Michigan pro-hockey team is called the Detroit Red-wings and their logo combines two important loves in this state: sports and cars!  And does three photos turn this blog into a hat trick?!

I don't mean to harp at you, but please, please, don't leave the web
without visiting the heterogeneous but never hapless bloggers at
ABC Wednesday.