Summer is coming to an end and many North America birds are beginning their annual migration south.
And so it was for me this week, traveling from north to south, Michigan to Florida.
I was in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, in farming country south of Grand Rapids along the Thornapple River. The place used to be a mill town long ago with a dam on the river creating a miles-long pond to power the wheels and stones that once ground corn and wheat from local farms into meal and flour. Those products were first carried away to the city on horse-drawn wagons and later by train.
But those days are long gone and so is the mill and the train, though the dam and the pond remain.
The farms are still here too, but nowadays their products, corn, soybeans, diary, are carried away on trucks bound for modern processing facilities far away, and the town has become a bedroom community wrapped around a modern plant that manufacturers hot water heaters. It's a clean, quiet, safe little town with a block-long main street of small stores, a few good restaurants, and an absolutely excellent coffee shop.
And that long gone railroad is now a rails-to-trails conversion, part of the North American Birding Trail, used by joggers and cyclists and people out for a morning walk with their dog. A paved portion of it runs right through downtown, next to the old dam, between the river and what's left of the millpond. The pond is now overgrown with returning native wetland plants and a hundred of varieties of birds, mink, muskrat, bobcat, fox, woodchucks, and other species.
It's also become a stop on the migration route for birds traveling between Canada and their wintering grounds in Central and South America.
Like these Canada Geese flying in formation. Their honking filled the air one evening as I hiked along the trail.
I left Michigan and drove a thousand miles south to the Florida Panhandle.
Migration isn't quite in full swing here yet.
I caught this this female kingfisher in the pines of Santa Rosa Island near Fort Pickens. I feel a kinship with her, given that's the same WTF? expression on my face most of the time these days.
That's it. That's my week in pictures.