Sunday, September 21, 2008

Door County Weekend

My weekend mission was to photograph a friend's wedding in beautiful Door County. Luckily, ceremonial and celebratory events permitted a few excursions to some of the awesome natural areas Door County has to offer the nature photographer.

Early Saturday, my first stop was Newport Beach State Park. Rain was falling while hundreds of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Wablers searched frantically for a place to forage after a night of migration. Watching them descend into the trees dozens at a time, their call notes seemed to be coming from every direction. I caught myself wondering where these particular flocks originated from - Ontario, or Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Perhaps they were already in some other part of northern Wisconsin. Clouds gave way to sunshine and I managed to capture a few images of the active Palm Warblers – busy preening or hunting for insects.

After the birds settled and quieted down, I headed over to Peninsula State Park to scan the water for any interesting seabirds. Scoping off in the distance, I'm certain I spotted a jaeger (probably a parasitic) chasing a gull. Most of the gulls were too far away for photography, but there was at least one cooperative Ring-bulled Gull hanging out on the rocks in front of me.

Trees of Door County are just beginning to turn color. I spent some time exploring The Ridges Sanctuary - one of my favorite natural areas in Wisconsin. Grass of Parnassus dotted the flanks of the boardwalk along Rangelight Trail.

I melted away a few hours by hiking the trails and breathing the fresh air - incredibly relaxing. It was so quiet; I could hear even the most subtle sounds from flight motions of nuthatches, warblers, kinglets, creepers, chickadees, thrushes, and sparrows that flew before me.

Katie and Sim - congrats!

All images © 2008 Mike McDowell

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