Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Photo Journal 2016: January

When the leaves fall, do they fall at the same rate every year?
In the same pattern?
Do they reveal the same amounts of the same colors as they did the year before?

These were the kinds of questions I had as a kid, staring out backseat windows as trees blurred past.

Life changes and moves even faster now. I'm not sure where I'll be in a year, but I still try to slow down enough to study and learn about nature. From my childhood questions have sprung new ones:

How does one spot change over the course of a year?
How long does it takes for plants to grow, for leaves to bud?
How does the light change?

Now that I have a camera, a cause, and the help of social media, I decided it was time to do some sort of photo study to document changes in habitats over the course of the year.

I've chosen 3 spots at my local park which I will photograph each week for the year to observe the process and the beauty of change. I chose spots that contained a good variety of flora and fauna on most days. I also wanted some visibility of water to see how the levels rise and recede.

Each month, I'll do a short post recapping the previous month's photos for spots 1-3.

January, Spot 1:

Spot 1: January 2016 Weeks 1-4

Spot 1 is tucked in the woods off a narrow trail. My marker is a certain large tree which I lean on then aim to have the main focal tree in view. The spot opens up into a water body whose levels vary throughout the year. Weather-wise, there were a few days of snow, especially mid-month, otherwise January was fairly mild for Michigan. I noticed mostly moderate temperatures and lengthening days!

January, Spot 2

Spot 2: January 2016 Weeks 1-4
 Spot 2 is very easy to find because my marker is a man-made structure. This pond is also relatively distinctive. Once again, mid-month saw some snow coverage, but still nothing overwhelming. Highlight birds in this area included Brown Creepers!

January, Spot 3

Spot 3: January 2016 Weeks 1-4
Spot 3 was the most difficult for me to try to pinpoint from week to week, but I finally learned which trees to look for and where they should be in the frame. This is a warbler hotspot during spring and fall, but for now there was an occasional sparrow or wren flitting about. It was interesting to be able to see the leaves on the ground again in week 4.

Other January highlights:
I saw 62 species, 49 of them in Macomb County
Life birds:
Harris' Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Tundra Swan, Carolina Wren, and Northern Saw-whet Owl (only heard faintly in the woods).
Favorite life bird:
Even though by rarity standards it should be the Harris' or Golden-crowned Sparrow, my favorite lifer for January was the Carolina Wren. :)

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