Saturday, May 31, 2008

Heart and Hands award nominations due June 16

HANCOCK -- Nominations for the annual Keweenaw Heart and Hands award are due by Monday, June 16. Persons or couples who have given of themselves in the service of peace, justice or the environment in the local community are eligible.

Anyone can nominate a person or a couple for this award. The nomination form takes only a moment to fill out, and the recognition will mean a lot to a deserving individual! Nominations should include a description of how the candidate has had a significant impact on the Keweenaw community in the area of peace, justice, human needs and/or environmental stewardship. Please be specific about what form the person's contribution and involvement has taken.

The winners of this award will be honored during a 4th of July Celebration in Hancock. They will have their names engraved on the beautiful wooden sculpture pictured here and will receive $1000 to be designated to the non-profit charity of their choice. To obtain more information or a nomination form contact Terry Kinzel at 482-6827 or via e-mail at tkinzel@pasty.com.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More bird photos: Feathered friends observed in Chassell

CHASSELL -- Keweenaw wildlife photographer Michael Shupe often shares news of his observations of birds with readers of the local birder email list-serv. This week he shares with Keweenaw Now readers some excellent photos of two species he recently observed near Chassell -- the Savannah Sparrow and the White-Bellied Nuthatch.

Wildlife photographer Michael Shupe recently captured this close-up photo of a Savannah Sparrow near Chassell. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2008 Michael Shupe. Reprinted with permission.)

"The Savannah Sparrow is one of a recent wave of migrants, and this one was out in Chassell in a wetland area," Shupe writes. "The White-Bellied Nuthatch is a frequent bird feeder visitor that lives here throughout the year. This one was photographed along the banks of the Snake River, in Chassell."

This White-Bellied Nuthatch was photographed along the Snake River in Chassell. Photographer Michael Shupe notes this species is local, living year-round in the Keweenaw. (Photo © 2008 Michael Shupe. Reprinted with permission.)

Shupe notes that both of these species should be common at Swedetown Creek as well.*

See more of Michael Shupe's photos of birds and other wildlife on his Web site. You can also see prints of his work in his Gallery at 514 Shelden Avenue in Houghton.

*See our May 26, 2008, updated article, "Migrating birds snack at Swedetown Creek."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Updated: Migrating birds snack at Swedetown Creek

HANCOCK -- Goldfinches and sparrows were among the feathered visitors who stopped for snacks at Swedetown Creek in Hancock this weekend. Russ Hanson has been maintaining a feeding station just off the parking area near the boat launch.

Three hungry goldfinches enjoy a snack at the bird feeders near Swedetown Creek in Hancock on Friday, May 23. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

A short walk down the path to the creek led to a peaceful spot near the water where the birdsongs seemed to announce the arrival of spring -- at last.

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Swedetown Creek, near Portage Lake, is a peaceful spot for watching migratory birds and listening to their songs. (Video clip © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

The Copper Country Audubon Club has offered the City of Hancock $1000 and volunteer work for maintenance if the City decides to make the area at the mouth of Swedetown Creek a park.

Editor's Note: At their meeting on May 21, the Hancock City Council did not take a re-vote on whether or not Government Lot 5 is or should be a park. Watch for an update on this issue, coming soon.

Update: Whimbrel spotted at Hermit's Cove

On the other side of the Keweenaw Peninsula, a few miles north on U.S. 41, local birder David Flaspohler, associate professor in Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, spotted a Whimbrel at about 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 25. Flaspohler photographed the bird at Hermit's Cove, between Gay and Lac La Belle.

David Flaspohler spotted this Whimbrel Sunday morning, May 25, on the beach at Hermit's Cove, between Gay and Lac La Belle. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2008 and courtesy David Flaspohler)


The Whimbrel is a kind of Curlew, a genus of wader or shorebird species that breed across areas of subarctic North America, Europe (as far south as Scotland) and Asia. In September 1977 the Whimbrel inspired a stamp in the Faroe Islands.

The Whimbrel is the subject of a stamp issued on Sept. 29, 1977, in the Faroe Islands, located between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, north of Scotland, between Iceland and Norway. The Faroe Islands (meaning "sheep islands") have been an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. This mage (from Wikipedia) is in the public domain, released by the copyright holder Postverk Føroya -- Philatelic Office.