The Wonderful World of Winter Woodpeckers

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The feeder frenzy of November is about to begin. Shortly after the crimson and gold colors of autumn disappear, and the first snowflakes swirl about beneath a panoramic sky of gray, an ever-changing menagerie of Eastern Bluebirds, Blue Jays, House Finches, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Cardinals and Black-capped Chickadees will appear at feeders, almost as if by magic. Hang some suet and add extra sunflower seeds to the mix and the woodpeckers of winter may quickly join the feast. The one-ounce Downy Woodpecker, North America’s smallest woodpecker, and our red-crested forest giant, the Pileated Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker of North America, are among the mix of local species that frequent the feeders on the wilder side of Oakland County. Continue reading

THE WILDER SIDE OF NOVEMBER

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

November is upon us once again, an excellent time of the year to get outside and enjoy all the wonders of the wilder side of Oakland County. The fields, forests, wetlands, wildlands and trails bring unique sights, sounds and smells and enjoyable wildlife encounters in a mosquito free environment with the cascading fall of colorful leaves nearing its end, new vistas unfold, exposing the geology and glacial history of our county. It’s time to arm yourself with a camera, and perhaps bring along the family or a good friend and seek out seasonal secrets of nature’s way before snow blankets the landscape.

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The Magic of Night – A Nocturnal Creature Adventure in Rochester Hills

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Darkness: for some it’s a fearful time. A simple walk in the woods in the waning days of October stirs over active imaginations and creates imagery of ferocious fanged creatures with sharp claws and nasty temperament. Illusions of reality run wild. For others, the darkness of autumn is a soothing and magical time of nature when the woods are alive with nocturnal creatures and the songs of owls, the whispering of the winds, and perhaps the distant yip of coyotes.

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Mountain Biking At Stony Creek – A Wilder Side Confession

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Stony Creek Metropark extends from easternmost Oakland County well into Macomb County and entices hundreds of visitors on crisp autumn days. Some come for birding with hopes of seeing the resident Bald Eagles, others visit the nature center, while many just come to hike the trails, fish, or take photos of colorful leaves. Others have a late season picnic, or just jog, walk or bike around the scenic 6.1-mile paved trial that circles Stony Lake. The Stony Creek Metropark brochure, which may be viewed online, or acquired at the entrance contact station makes mention of the “heart pounding excitement of riding miles of mountain bike trails.” I tended to always ignore those words, but that is where this true life confession Wilder Side of Oakland County trail tale really begins. Continue reading

October Splendor, Adventure, Awareness and Safety

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The splendor of October swept into Oakland County on schedule with traces of frost on the first day of the month. Hours of daylight are shortening, but opportunities for trailside adventure and colorful kayaking adventures are increasing. It’s a month of cider-making, corn mazes and pumpkin hunting. October is the time to watch geese high overhead, listen to trumpeting of Sandhill Cranes, and celebrate Eastern Bluebirds beneath a clear blue sky. Set out an autumn bird bath, and it just may lure these beautiful birds, and a House Finch or two, as quickly as late season wildflowers lure honey bees. The days of October are in a word, glorious for all that love nature’s way and the hundreds of miles of trails that enrich our county and increase accessibility to our woodlands, wildlands and parks. Continue reading