Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds as Summer Wanes

black and red hummingbird


The shortening hours of daylight as summer’s end draws near has accelerated activity of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that have again honored me, and perhaps you, with their beautiful iridescent colors, incredible flight patterns, and pleasing presence. From the moment of dawn’s early light until dusk, they are constantly flitting between my suction cup window feeder, an array of potted flowers, and a hanging feeder in my rustic arbor.

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Chicory: Queen of the Roadside!

blue chicory blossoms


The sultry days of summer are here. Goldfinches flutter over meadows. Dragonflies patrol the sky. Bullfrogs sound off from ponds. Tomatoes ripen on vines.Crickets sing to the night. Rabbits are everywhere. Thunder rumbles. But it’s chicory (Cichorium intybus) that really proclaims that the heat of summer is on.

Chicory is one of our most abundant midsummer flowers but sadly, it also carries the demeaning title of being classified as a weed. I guess that’s technically correct since it’s a non-native plant that grows profusely along many rural roadsides and other areas that have disturbed, well-drained soils that are bathed in full sunshine. However, their beautiful periwinkle blue flowers on spindly stalks make them an unmistakable sign of summer. It’s abundance in mid-August also reminds me summer is at its peak and the season will soon fade away.

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‘Oakland Together’ Online COVID-19 Safety Video & Art Contest Winners Announced

Four Oakland County residents were chosen by public vote as the winners in the ‘Oakland Together’ Online COVID-19 Safety Video & Art Contest.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter announced the winners during a Facebook Live update on August 11th, celebrating the creativity of the winners while reminding residents that the steps each of us takes makes a difference in stopping the spread of the virus.

“Oakland County is so fortunate to have such wonderfully talented artists and storytellers in our midst. Their collective message is simple and to the point. We have an obligation to our families, those we care about, our coworkers, classmates and friends, and even those we don’t know to wear a facial covering to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.”

Oakland County Executive David Coulter

The contest was open to county residents in two categories: youth ages 10-17 and those 18 and above. The theme was the continuing importance of practicing COVID-19 safety protocols such as wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently. Entrants could submit a video or visual art.

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Flying Dragons of Summer!

An upclose Yellow-legged Meadowhawk


Dragonflies have ruled the skies of planet Earth since before the time of the great dinosaurs. They survived cataclysmic extinction events that eliminated other species and set back human evolution In the blink of an eye, dragonflies can change their flight direction, speed, and elevation with aerodynamic skills that even the most advanced, high-tech drone cannot master. Dragonflies can detect, track, pursue, intercept, catch, and consume flying prey that are plucked from the air. Perhaps this makes them one of nature’s finest tuned killing machines, true masters of aerial predation. Some of these perching “flying dragons” appear to smile, just as this Yellow-legged Meadowhawk seemed to do. 

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Pick the Winners for the ‘Oakland Together’ COVID-19 Safety Video & Art Contest

Do you have an eye for visual or video art?

Here’s your chance to pick the winners of the ‘Oakland Together’ Safety Video & Art Contest. Voting is easy and it’s online. Now until 5 p.m. on Friday, August 7th, you can vote once a day to select a favorite video and visual art from two categories: Oakland County youth ages 10-17 and those age 18 and above. The theme was the continuing importance of practicing COVID-19 safety.

Those interested may vote once a day for the entries that best promote and encourage COVID safety. Voters can view the videos and visual art and vote for as many finalists across any of the categories at Voting ends on Friday, August 7th at 5 p.m. The finalists in each category who receives the most public votes will be the winners.

“We have some incredibly talented people who have shown their passion and creativity in capturing the importance of wearing masks and social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “Each of these artists has embraced the message that the virus is still with us and working as Oakland Together is the most effective way for us to beat COVID-19. I congratulate them all and thank them for their entries.”

The four finalists in the age 10-17 Visual Arts category are:

  • Rave Andrews, 16, West Bloomfield
  • Maria Clark, 10, Berkley
  • Steven Lowenberg, 13, Southfield
  • Natalie Radabaugh, 16, Rochester Hills

The finalists in the 18 and over Visual Arts category are:

  • Angela Clark, Berkley
  • Sydni Gothard, Waterford
  • Paul O’Hara, Rochester Hills

The finalists in the age 10-17 Video category are:

  • Owen Glossinger, 15, Beverly Hills
  • Charlisa Penzak, 12, Bloomfield Hills
  • Lucy Thomson, 12, Clawson
  • Aidan Wilson, 11, Royal Oak

The finalists in the age 18 and over Video category are:

  • Edith Dana, Commerce Township
  • A’Kena LongBenton, Troy
  • Eli Sider, Huntington Woods

The contest was open to original artwork submitted by the original creator, including but not limited to video, painting, drawing, photography, illustration and printmaking. Artwork was to promote and encourage COVID safety, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state of Michigan protocols.

A panel of judges selected the top entries from each age group and category. Criteria included creativity, overall artistic impact in communicating safety during COVID-19 and skill in mastering the chosen medium. Each finalist will receive $100; category winners will each be awarded an additional $250 for a total of $350 combined with their finalist prize.

Winners will be announced Tuesday, August 11th, and their entries will be displayed virtually on the county’s website,, social media channels and  through September 30th.

They will also be considered for use in upcoming public service announcements. The artists will be given credit if their creations are used.

Stay up to date about the coronavirus disease in the county and explore more information at

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