Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer brings a variety of birds

Just because it's summer is no reason to stop watching birds. We keep our sunflower feeders full along with syrup for both hummingbirds and orioles.
Actually, it was the orioles that got us interested in trying to attract them to the backyard. Several years ago we had a male come into the yard. He hung around for a couple of days then left. By then, it was the beginning of fall and no doubt time for head for warmer temperatures.
The following year, we were ready with two oriole feeders and some commercial mix to make syrup. We attracted a few birds.
In the meantime, we saw a single hummingbird and decided to try getting it to feed and possibly attract others.
So far, we've attracted two hummers that continually fight around the feeders and orioles, both male and females.
This year, sightings have been down. I don't know whether we were late getting feeders up or there are less birds.
Both orioles and a hummer or two have hung around the past few years making them a joy to watch. "Oh look, there's an oriole," either my wife or I will say.
It doesn't take much to entertain us these days. Give it a try. You might surprise yourself as to what new birds you may see.
Male oriole at the feeder. By Beukema

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gaylord Offers Plenty of Activities to Choose From

   Gaylord is the home to several resorts, motels, golf courses, and the only free-ranging elk herd in the Midwest.
   If fishing is your primary interest take your pick of 100 lakes or six cold-water rivers to try your luck.
   Bring your bike or a good pair of hiking shoes and enjoy one of the many scenic trails in the area. Bike trips can be as short or as long as you feel in the mood for.
   Some destinations are under 20 miles terminating near Gaylord. A different ride involves more mileage and goes all the way to Mackinac City.
   Big Bear Adventures in Indian River not only provides river trips and other activities, it has a shuttle service that will pick you and your bike up at the destination you choose. Call them at (231) 238-8181 or visit
   Treetops resort is the spot for all things golfing. Home to the number one rated par 3 golf course in North America, it's the best place to try your short game.
   If you are looking for something more challenging choose one of the five courses on the property designed by such golf course architects as Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Tom and Rick Smith.

   A drive through the Pigeon River State Forest is as peaceful as it gets behind the steering wheel. Automobile turnouts are as plentiful as the picnic tables waiting for you to spread your on.
   Keep your eyes open to see some of the only free-ranging elk in the Midwest. With trees just beginning to leaf out, this is a good time to observe wildlife.
   Morel mushroom hunters will find good areas and, if observant, find the tasty fungi. Move slow and  pay attention. There's a good chance to find them.
   If you need a bike-mountain or fat tire-call Treetops at (989) 732-6711 or visit

Photo courtesy of Bill Semion

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ohio walleye tourney had a Michigan connection

   Last Sunday during the AIM Weekend Walleye Series tournament out of Port Clinton, Ohio Dearborn Heights resident, Ali Shakoor and his partner Brian Zarembski won first place good for $2,000.
   What seemed a tad unusual was all of the two-person teams participating were from Ohio with the except of Shakoor.
   The surprising thing was the light turnout of anglers for what seems to be known as a prime fishery. The weather was perfect; water surface smooth as glass, lots of water so no one got crowded off their spot and the best thing, fish on the bite.
   Everyone was trolling something. Most teams were on the crank bait bite while some pulled crawler harnesses.
   Walleye tournaments are known for being held in bad weather. Either it's cold, snowing, raining or sleeting, usually windy enough to make for some big seas and fishing hours cut short due to bad weather.
   On Saginaw Bay several years ago with good friend Lance Valentine of Walleye-101 when we got a call from a fellow angler well out beyond us taking on water.
   Seems as though his bilge pump had decided to quit at a moment when it was needed. Seas were running high and still building. We got to our fishing spot, turned around and headed back in without setting a line.
   We hung around to be sure our pal made it back safely. He was way down in the stern with the big motor pushing a water logged boat as best as it could.
   Anyway, being in that state south of Michigan was tough enough. But having a Michigan man on the winning team made it tolerable.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Detroit River Fishing-Still Good But Slowing Down

According to the people that fish it regularly, the Detroit River is one-of-a-kind. "We have a world-class fishery here," tournament angler Bob Luellen said.
"The Detroit River is always good," former touring pro Mark Sak said. "I admire those guys that go out and handling," he added.
According to Sak, "There's a secret about the Detroit River. It's phenomenal after dark." Just be sure you know where you are at and where you are going. The river isn't a place to take chance or get caught with little or no experience.
These past several weeks have yielded many catches of fish in the nine-pound- plus range. Those five-pounders and "eater size" are barely getting any recognition.
Even though the spawn is over for the most part, there are still fish in the river. Catching them is another thing.
"There are so many white bass that for every walleye you hook, you catch 100 white bass," Sak said.
But this time of year, other seasons; trout, bluegills, bass, salmon and other species are beginning to bite.
A great way to gain both experience and confidence for fishing the river is to get out and practice. Launch in one of the many inland lakes then tool around with the trolling motor to get the feel of using it and concentrating on your electronics.
Granted, you won't be dealing with a fast current, but at least you'll get some time in the operation mode.
Ask someone who fishes the river regularly to go with you in your boat, allowing you to be the operator.
That way, you'll get on-the-spot corrections and advice while learning at the same time. The Detroit or St. Clair River systems are no place to be for beginners.
Dealing with boat and freighter traffic, waves and wind are just some of the problems. You must be on constant watch for debris; large logs, barrels, stumps and about anything else you can imagine, floating down bound.
Get your boat inspected courtesy of the Oakland County Sportfishing Club on May 20 at Oakland County Sportmens Club, correct any issues then get your boat in the water!
Nick DeShano of Offshore Tackle, holding a huge crappie. Contributed photo

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

New nests being built-birds singing

Just above my garage door light hangs a weedy next connected to the top of the light and the expensive vinyl siding we installed a few years ago.
Long tendrils of weeds, cloth and whatever else Mrs. Robin could carry in her beek to build the next hang down several inches below the next proper.
Soon, the inside of the nest will be lined to accept several powder or soft blue eggs. Mother robin will sit on the nest, devoting her time to keeping those eggs warm and warding off any intruders.
I usually sneak up to have a look when I know she is off and in search of feed. I never touch anything and get out of the area quickly.
But we have discovered a problem with one robin and one sparrow. Pecking at our windows. We had them tinted a couple of years ago to cut down on the damage the sun does when it moves to that side of the house.
This side, the west side, receives sunlight for several hours each day. The affect is finish fading on furniture and drapes and curtains becoming brittle.
These two birds peck all day and well into the evening. Even the rain doesn't slow them down. Experts say it's the tint that gives off a reflection making the birds think there is an intruder nearby.
I hate to take the tint off but don't know of another solution.
But back to the birds in the next. The DNR reminds us to leave young wildlife where you find it. Bird parents are aware when young fall from a next and have the ability to get them back.
When the scent of humans is transferred to any living wildlife chances are it will be abandoned. Fawns are a great example.
I've actually stumbled across them while traipsing through the woods. I come upon them all of a sudden.
Those white spots help make them blend in to most any background. Mom usually leaves them during the day to feed but is close enough to hear them cry if they are inn danger.
Deer especially are sensitive to scent and may abandon young offspring if you get too close. The best scenario is to back off and take a long way around that fawn.Don't worry, his mom will return to care for him.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunny Monday is welcome

Despite the wind and cold weather over the weekend, today feels warmer and more like spring even with the winds still blowing making it for a chilly start for the week.
Ice is prevalent around the lakes here in Oakland County. East and North on the Great Lakes ice break up is under way.
I know it's last ice but stay off. You not only put yourself at risk, you risk the lives of those that come to your aid.
No fish is worth a life or the rescue efforts that go into first finding you, then getting you off the ice and home safe.
I haven't made it into the garage for a cleaning and organizing trip yet. With no heat out there it's a little like stepping into a freezer/cooler in a restaurant or butcher shop.
For me, ice out is going to be time for the first launch of the season for my fishing kayak. If it were today I wouldn't be ready to go.
Too much stuff laying all around with nothing in it's right place. I'm envious of those that have garages you can eat off the floor, look around briefly and find that rod, bait or tool you need with very little searching.
It's time to get rid of more stuff or bite the bullet, put the time in and get it straightened out once and for all.
At this stage of life I've learned how important it is to put things back where they belong. My dad was fond of saying, "You've got it in your hand, go put it away." Great advice.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

AIM Weekend Walleye Series headed for Detroit River

AIM (Anglers Insight Marketing) will bring it's 2015 AIM Weekend Walleye Series to the Detroit River April 19.
This is a team event consisting of two anglers per boat. If you have wondered how you would fish against pros and other anglers this is the event to enter.
"The great thing about this series is it doesn't time away from family life," AIM National Tournament Director Denny Fox said.
Fox comes out of a background of tournament fishing and boat sales. "I grew up on Saginaw Bay then moved to Wisconsin fishing Lake Michigan and Green Bay. I was all set to moved into the PWT when that trail closed," he said.
If matching talent with experienced anglers bothers or intimidates you, keep in mind they all had to begin someplace.
At one time they were new to tournament fishing, the particular water you will be fishing that you may not be used to and the pressures associated with tournament fishing.
I've been fortunate to have participated in several tournaments as a co-angler and understand the frustration that comes with being on rough water all day working against rain and cold weather only to come up empty handed.
It takes a really good mental attitude to stay focused and in the moment, paying constant attention to all that is going on around you.
Tournament fishing may not be for everyone but this activity could be the one that eventually grows on you.
Who knows. One day you may see your name on the Freshwater Hall of Fame list of inductees. Good luck!
Pro walleye angler and Hall of Fame Member, Mark Martin with a Detroit River walleye. Even Martin began as a newbie when he first began fishing tournaments. By Beukema