Sunday, September 25, 2016

Four hours in the U.P.

Four hours in the U.P.

I was born and raised in the UP of Michigan which is probably the reason I turned out a little wild. I try to get back to visit as often as I can. My last 4 hours here made me realize, that this place is
Michigamme River
 still pretty wild. I was visiting with my Dad and we decided to take a ride out to my brothers camp. We got 100 yards down the road from his house, and had to slow down as we rode by the fox den that is in the same spot year after year. We always slow down when we go by, to see if the fox is around. Just a bit further down the road
, there was a fawn that was recently torn apart by something. Of course that led to a conversation about wolves. On the ride out to camp, we saw about 15 deer along the highway, which led to a conversation about how this deer season, maybe we will see an actual deer. 

My brothers camp is located on the Michigamme river. It is one of my favorite kayak fishing rivers and a few years ago I took my friends on a trip there. We caught a lot of fish.
Waiting for dinner
We are going back this summer.  On the “camp” road we saw a Blue Heron fishing at the culvert. We startled it and it flew off, but it returned within a few minutes. I was wondering what fish were in the little stream rushed through the tunnel. Is was definitely hunting for something.

We rode around the old logging roads on the property but did not see anything worth noting. Except that the food plot was growing nicely. The leaves were still thick on the trees so we didn’t even see any birds.

We came back to Dad's house which is on a nice 250 acre lake. As we were standing in the yard, a huge bald eagle came swooping over head. It flew past us, turned around and came back. It swooped down near the edge of the water  and grabbed a dead fish. He started flying away with it, but dropped the fish back into the water.
Eagle in tree
The fish looked like a pike about 20 inches long. The eagle flew up into a tree and landed on a branch. The branch it was resting on was small, and it was swaying back and forth in the wind. The eagle had to flap its wings to keep from falling. I knew the eagle would go back for the fish and I wanted to capture it on video. I decided to try to get a better angle and ran to the other side of the house. As I got to the other side of house, I saw the eagle flying off with the fish. Dang, he was quick. I missed it. 

It started to rain so that put an end to our playing outside. We came in the house and watched the Packers beat the Lions. Technically the UP of Michigan is in Michigan, but most Yoopers are Packer fans. 

The rain continued and I had to force my dog Stella, a Boston Terrier, to go outside. She saw the rain and I practically had to push her out the door. I stood there waiting for her to come back and wondered what was taking her so long. I
Stella and the Partridge
tend to worry if she is gone for very long since the fox usually swings by the yard every day. She only came back after I yelled for her.  She looked like she had been up to something but I didn’t give it much thought. A little while later, I went outside and she was right there ready to come with me, regardless of the rain. She ran to the side of the house and was into something. I went to take a look and there was a headless partridge. It seemed fresh. Stella was munching on the bird.  She had extra interest in the exposed crop and she had a feather sticking out of her mouth. Did I mention she loves dead stuff? Deer parts especially. 

I wondered how the bird died. Did Stella kill it when she was out earlier? I felt it and it felt soft and possibly a little warm. It seemed fairly fresh. The only thing missing was the head. The rest of it looked perfectly good. I decided if Stella would have killed it, she would she would have been more fired up when she came in. I decided to clean the bird and Stella was pretty excited. She would have liked the whole thing given back to her. After all, she is the one that found it. After I cleaned the bird, I examined it and the edges of the breast meat looked a little gray. I was bummed. I was hoping it would be edible. 
Breast meat

I decided to place the breast and the carcass on the shore of the lake near where the eagle grabbed the fish. I brought Stella in the house and decided to grab the better video camera. A short time later I went back outside to find the dead partridge gone.  The only thing left was a pile of feathers. Dang I missed it again. 

My new mission is to film that eagle grabbing some food from the shoreline. I wondered if was the same eagle we fed on Thanksgiving a few years ago. There is a special bond that you get with animals that you share the same space with. Whenever I come here, I fall in love with this place all over again. I think Stella does too.

My bird dog


  1. Thanks for sharing your love of the animals & land! I can't wait to go on the Michigamee Reservoir & see some eagles myself again next summer!

  2. Thanks for sharing your love of the animals & land! I can't wait to go on the Michigamee Reservoir & see some eagles myself again next summer!