Brighton, Birds, Bats, and Bikes

Ka-WAAUK!  KA-WAAUK!!!!  WAAUK!

That’s the sound I’ll associate most with our most recent camping expedition to Brighton Recreation Area (MI).

Was it the sound of the Detroit Tigers bats pounding the LA Angels? Hardly.

Perhaps the sound of squeeky doors opening in the chilly, overcast air? Nope.

It’s the sound of all the Sandhill Cranes who make their home around Bishop Lake. Many were bold enough to stroll right through the campground in the morning hours. Others flew far overhead, where we never could see them through the ever-present dark clouds. But, there were few times during our three days there where we didn’t hear them. No, I never did get any photos. My best chance was one early morning as I strolled across the campground to the restrooms. Three Sandhills were prancing around an empty campsite. There was lots of wing flapping and hopping going on, as they stretched their early morning bodies. Naturally, my camera was back in the Fireball – who takes their camera to the bathroom, anyway? Besides, you can find superb photos of cranes at some of my birder blogger buddies Quietsolopursuits and LiveLaughRV. (Thanks to Ingrid at Live Laugh, a trip to the International Crane Foundation in WI is on the travel wish list for 2016.)

Since this was our first trip to Brighton, we weren’t familiar with the park. Knowing what we now do, we would opt to camp in the rustic section of the park (pit toilet/no electric) instead of the improved campground, where all sites have electric service. Although we had a pretty good site, overall it’s pretty cramped. The rustic sites were huge.wpid-20150826_124806.jpgWe loved the mountain bike trails, but did stress ourselves out a bit by riding pretty much beyond our technical capabilities. But, we’ll probably never get any better at this if we don’t stretch our comfort zone(s). John’s not so eager to do this – I am really wanting to be a more proficient mountain bike rider. Protruding tree roots and dropoffs caused several anxious moments along the ride for all of us – sister Lynn and brother-in-law Jerry were along for the trip, and for the ride.20150826_12280020150826_122852In additional to mountain bike trails, there are hiking and equestrian trails throughout the Park, which is spread out over several small lakes. 20150825_16104420150828_09160320150828_090926wpid-20150828_093426.jpg20150828_093704On one hike around the lake, we discovered these enormous weeping willow stumps. I had no idea that willows could be so massive. Wow. This stump was easily 4-5 feet across.20150825_155130My love affair with Detroit Tiger baseball is going through a rough spot – it’s hard to love a team that just can’t seem to put together two wins in a row.  We got beat 2-0 on the day we went to the game. But, the loss was tempered by the fact that we had the best seats I’ve ever had for a ballgame. Being close to the field is amazing.20150827_120705 There were 30K+ people at the game, but we just couldn’t cheer/stomp any runs across the plate. Last place sucks! Dont want to be a fair weather fan, but….

Naturally, now that we’re home, the sun has decided to peek out.  First sunshine we’ve seen in a week – honestly.  Lots of cleaning, organizing and planning to do.  The East Coast is beckoning. We’ll be some of the lucky folks for whom camping season really begins in September, vs those for whom the season is ending.

13 thoughts on “Brighton, Birds, Bats, and Bikes

  1. Thanks for the shout out!

    I ALWAYS have a camera with me, I’ve learned the hard way that anytime I leave it behind is the time when the best photo-ops arise.

    I’ve seen the signs for the metro parks near Brighton, but didn’t think that they would be so nice, silly me. I should have known that since it’s still Michigan, that they would be nice places to camp.

    I no longer follow baseball like I used to, but once in a while I’ll tune into a game while driving home on a weekend outing, and the Tigers are terrible this year. The entire team has been in an extended slump after starting the year with so much promise. A few questionable trades haven’t helped either.

    I’ve thought about taking up mountain biking as a way to get around in the woods, but I doubt if I would be able to photograph much while on a bike. I have a lot of respect for any one who does tackle some of the mountain bike trails that I hike though, it can’t be easy.

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    • Brighton Rec Area would probably be a pretty good spot for birding, I think. There’s a mixed forest, lots of water and marsh. The entry to the campground, where Jezzy is posing with the turtle, is as beautiful as any drive. Wildflowers, cattails and marshy plants, and neatly manicured lawn make it so welcoming. But, next time the rustic camp with be our home. Nearly empty down there, and huge, fairly private sites.

      It makes me laugh to think of carrying anything expensive, like camera gear, while careening down a mountain bike trail, hell bent for election. But, as a way to move along with your gear, I think you’d be delighted with how well it would work for you. Outfitted with a rack, and open box-style panniers, you’d be able to have all the stuff along that you need, and carry it easily. Even that pesky tripod! My advice though? Stay off the singletrack!

      The Tigers are breaking my heart. Haven’t had an awful year like this in a long time. The season can’t end too soon. But, for some reason, I still have to listen to every heartbreaking game. Glad we don’t have cable, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to watch the carnage.

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  2. That is my favorite ever photo of Jezzie. She looks like a frazzled orphan wearing her bedraggled heart on her chest. And it makes me love her even more dearly!

    I enjoyed your photos, but am not a ball fan, so can’t relate to anything except the disappointment of losing–again. :)

    It is a lot more fun when the campground sites provide space and privacy. But we sometimes get stuck in the crowded ones, too.

    And I take my camera (phone) with me to the bathroom, too! But I still would have probably missed the cranes.

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    • Jezzy does look pretty bedraggled in that photo. I think that was shortly after we found that one of her bushy eyebrows had three sand burrs embedded in it. Getting them out required snipping off most removal of her long brow. She’s going to be a bit lopsided for awhile.

      In retrospect, I’m not sorry to have missed a photo op with the cranes. Sometimes, it seems that I spend so much time taking photos that I never really see the subject. It was a pleasure just to sit and watch them.

      Sigh – Tigers have lost three more games since we went. Gotten pounded, actually. Oh well. Get over it, Judy!

      Thanks for checking in, Sharon. Love hearing from you.

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  3. Now you know our secret….September is the best month here on the Cape, still warm, can still swim and most of the crowds are just a memory! See you soon!

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  4. Thanks for the mention and I’m one of those crazy people who carries her camera everywhere! That tree is huge. I had no idea they would grow that large. We left Door County, WI Thursday and hightailed it to SD…. from sweatshirts to T-shirts. From the furnace running to needing the A/C. Talk about extremes. All part of the adventure, eh!

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    • I should have known that you would take your camera to the bathroom at 6am! Hope some of my readers check out your fabulous Crane post. Going to get hot here next week – that will give me something new to complain about.

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      • Thanks Judy and 6 a.m. is a fabulous time to stubble upon wildlife :lol: It’s 95 degrees in the Badlands. My oh my, why was I complaining about the weather in Door County? I’ll send the heat your way ;-)

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  5. Just remember Judy, you can’t run through a campground. You can only ran through a campground because it’s past tents. Sorry ….. had to let that one go :-)

    Let us know if your east coast ventures bring you to the south at all. You might check our latest state park video posted last night. There’s about 6 of them an hour from our house in various directions :-)

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    • Not getting as far south as Georgia this year, Neil. One of these days tho….

      Took me a day to get your joke. Apparently I was not fully caffeinated enough to appreciate it the first time.

      Will check out the video. Also, I must not have your current blog address, because the blogspot site I checked did not have anything about Yosemite that I saw?

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