WITH APOLOGIES TO WASHINGTON IRVING &
THE SKETCH BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, ESQ (1819-1820)
THE "CAMERA SKETCH BOOK" OF J.H. MCCOY
GLORIA'S 100th BIRTHDAY - JANUARY 30, 2023
INDIAN DAVE IN THE MINDEN CITY HERALD
++TWO ARTICLES BY J.H. MCCOY
Born in Detroit on January 30, 1923, Gloria grew up in Minden City and lived there all her life.
She married Joseph McCoy and gave birth to twelve children, eleven of whom grew into adulthood. She was selfless and giving - a blessing and an example to all.
Covered with snow on her birthday,
she is at peace in the winter silence.
ETERNAL REST GRANT ONTO HER, O LORD
REMEMBERING DR. PIERRE WAGENER:
WAGENER COUNTY PARK
MURAL - COMMUNITY HOUSE - HARBOR BEACH, MICHIGAN
SCREECH OWL - RED PHASE - A FIRST!!
ALL PREVIOUS OWLS WERE GRAY PHASE
OWL HOUSE FROM THE BLACK CROW IN MINDEN CITY, MICHIGAN
"If you build it, they will come."
SNOWY OWL - FIRST ONE OF 2022
Seen on Ruth Road in Huron County, January 30, 2022.
On my way to the cemetery to take a picture of my mother's grave on her 99th birthday!
BEST BUTTERFLIES & MOTHS OF 2022
BIRD WATCHER EXTRAORDINAIRE, HEAD OF THE PORT CRESCENT HAWK WATCH, CHAIRMAN OF THE HURON COUNTY CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT, ENVIRONMENTALIST, CRUSADER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES, EXPERT ON HURON COUNTY BIRDS, MENTOR, AND FRIEND.
MONICA KORNACKI ESSENMACHER
AUGUST 26, 1952 - APRIL 21, 2022
Monica Essenmacher died in the late afternoon on April 21, 2022. Her unexpected death shocked the Thumb Area birding community and brought many to tears.
She succumbed to complications after a heart procedure in Bay Regional Medical Center.
The day before her death she was at Kinch Road, counting hawks and enjoying the spring weather during the annual raptor migration along Lake Huron. While in the hospital, she was concerned about recruiting volunteers to cover the hawk watch while she recuperated. Her beloved hawks were on her mind to the end.
Monica was a very spiritual person; she believed in the power of nature and the environment. She had a "spirit animal," the Osprey
(of course, it was a raptor). On the day of her death, her friend and fellow birder Darlene Friedman was in Harbor Beach, watching and photographing birds.
At about 5 p.m., almost the exact time of Monica's passing, Darlene took this picture of an osprey, which flew right over her car. She
sent the picture to Monica's daughter in the hospital, unaware of
her friend's death. Her daughter found a special meaning in the circumstance and photo. She said it was a comfort to her.
All who see this picture and knew Monica share in the sentiment.
The Osprey was Monica's "spirit animal," her totem; and now like
the Osprey, Monica also "flies free."
Monica was a mentor and a friend. However, I did not learn of her passing until April 27th. A fellow birder gave me that awful news
as we talked on the phone. I was shocked, stunned, and saddened.
I still find it hard to believe that she is gone.
In fact, the morning of the 27th, it had snowed and I sent Monica a picture of my snow-covered deck with the caption: "Michigan, my Michigan." Little did I know that she would never see it - that she
was already beyond all earthly care.
Monica Essenmacher was a legend in the Thumb birding community. Her name will always be associated with hawks and the hawk migration. Each spring and fall, she will be remembered by those
who look skyward and follow the raptors on their annual flight across the Thumb.
The hawk migration was on her mind to the end. She left this world thinking about what she loved most.
Monica's spirit lives on - in the ever-changing seasons; in the winds that propel hawks and raptors on their migratory journeys; and in
their freedom and power.
Look skyward. Listen for her in the wind. She is there.
Rest in peace, Monica.
Fly free in the unbounded skies.
PHOTO BY DARLENE FRIEDMAN - HARBOR BEACH, APRIL 21, 2022, 5 PM.
WATCHING FOR WARBLERS IN THE "TANGLE"
BLUE JAY CLOSE-UP IN THE "TANGLE"
NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY
** THERE HAVE BEEN VERY FEW BIG BUTTERFLIES THIS YEAR,
AND I HAVE BEEN WATCHING. ONLY AN OCCASIONAL MONARCH.
NATURE'S FIRST GREEN IS GOLD,
HER EARLY LEAF'S A FLOWER;
BUT ONLY SO AN HOUR.
THEN LEAF SUBSIDES TO LEAF.
SO DAWN GOES DOWN TO DAY.
**(9636 Roberts Rd. - HOME)**
+++ "REMEMBERING MONICA" - SCROLL DOWN +++
4/21/2022 Linwood, Michigan
Monica Kornacki Essenmacher, an ardent naturalist, birder, and teacher, who recorded hundreds of hawk migrations across Michigan, died April 21. She was 69. Friends knew her simply as "Birdie," and it was clear why. Over the past four decades, she spent countless hours crisscrossing the Saginaw Valley and Thumb in her Subaru, binoculars in hand, documenting Michigan's native birds as few have.
Monica had a special love for raptors and founded the Port Crescent Hawk Watch, a nonprofit that enabled fellow enthusiasts to track avian migrations across the Thumb.
She also co-founded the Huron Audubon
Club, which, in addition to supporting birding,
sought to protect and improve native habitats
in Huron County.
She passed away suddenly due to heart disease April 21. A memorial service will
take place in the coming months.
Monica was born in 1952 in Windsor, Ontario, where her parents resettled after World War II. Her mother, Zofia Marcinkowska, spent five years in a Nazi concentration camp for helping Jews escape Poland. Her father, Emil Kornacki, was a Polish officer who earned the nation's highest medal of valor while fighting in Italy.
Her parents gained entry to the United States
as refugees shortly after Monica was born and built a life here.
Monica and her younger sister, Elizabeth, grew up on Detroit's east side during the height of Motown. She became a U.S. citizen in 1965, graduated from Osborn High School, and later earned a teaching degree from Eastern Michigan University. She spent three decades as a Catholic elementary school teacher in Auburn, Mich., educating several generations of students. She also directed youth theater in Port Austin for several summers when her daughter and nephew were young.
Monica's biggest commitment was to her family. She was a devoted mother to Elise,
her daughter, who she loved more than anyone; a lifelong best friend to Elizabeth, who she considered her best friend and other half;
and a second mom to Elizabeth's son, Ian.
Monica was a lover all animals and had many pets throughout her life-including six dogs, three cats, and countless Guinea pigs and hamsters.
Monica and Elizabeth, both divorced, moved to Linwood in 2013, turning their 3.5-acre property into a nature sanctuary
of sorts. They built bat houses, planted wildflowers, cared for their three rescued hounds - Alice, Annie, and Lucky - and constructed endless gardens around the property. Before her death, Monica had recently devoted much of her time to spaying, neutering, and re-homing stray cats in Huron County.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Mitten Kitten Rescue and the American Bird Conservancy.
Monica's eyes were always on the sky. She often said she hoped to become a hawk when her life came to an end, as to see the world from the perspective of the creatures she admired so much.
We have no doubt she is flying among them.
Breeding adults have a distinctive black belly and a rusty mottled back
JOSEPH H. THOMPSON - NORTHBOUND
(Captain David Connell, former student & Sand Beach Township resident)
SHOREBIRDS ALSO HEADING NORTH WITH THE THOMPSON
HISTORIC VESSEL - the JOSEPH H. THOMPSON (formerly the MARINE ROBIN) was a troop carrier in WW II (Normandy). Now
a converted, self-unloading barge, propelled by the tugboat
LAURA L. VANENKEVORT.
EASTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAIL **
SILVER-SPOTTED SKIPPER VISITS BERGAMOT IN THE BACKYARD - AUGUST 23, 2022
from the Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America:
"The most easily recognized skipper across North America, in forest edges, fields, and gardens. Adults usually perch with their wings closed, but may bask with wings open in early morning sun....Note the large irregular silver-white patch on hindwing below.... Above brown with glassy yellow-orange band on forewing....".
GREAT SPANGLED FRITILLARY
AUGUST 24, 2022
The silver spots on the hindwing are used to identify this beautiful butterfly.
With a torn and damaged wing, the short life of this Great Spangled Fritillary is just about over.
SOMETIMES MOTHS ARE FOUND IN STRANGE PLACES! WHILE TRYING TO IDENTIFY THEM, YOU CAN LEARN THINGS.
EASTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAIL
THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN WITH AN IPHONE 13 AND SENT TO
ME BY MY BROTHER-IN-LAW, BUCK BUCKNAM. THE COLORFUL TIGER SWALLOWTAIL WAS PHOTOGRAPHED ON A BUTTERFLY BUSH AT HIS PARENTS' HOUSE IN MARBLEHEAD, MASS.
GEOMETER, MEANING "EARTH MEASURER," REFERS TO THE WAY THE CRAWLING LARVAE OF THIS SPECIES DRAW THE REAR OF THE BODY UP TO THE FRONT LEGS, FORMING A LOOP, AND THEN EXTEND THE BODY AGAIN.... GEOMETERS ARE ALSO CALLED "LOOPERS," "INCHWORMS," "MEASURING WORMS," AND "SPANWORMS." ... MORE THAN 1,000 SPECIES OF GEOMETERS LIVE IN NORTH AMERICA; SOME ARE SERIOUS PESTS."
(from the Golden Guide: Butterflies and Moths)
SHOREBIRDS IN THE THUMB **
WAGENER COUNTY PARK
HARBOR BEACH, MICHIGAN
REMEMBERING THE MCCOYS OF MINDEN CITY (1975)
MCCOY SIBLINGS NOT IN THE PHOTO: TOM MCCOY, HELEN BENNETT, MARY SWIGERT STILL LIVING: LORAINE MCCOY (top row, second from the left)
"ONE GENERATION PASSETH AWAY, AND ANOTHER GENERATION COMETH: BUT THE EARTH ABIDETH FOR EVER. / THE SUN ALSO ARISETH, AND THE SUN GOETH DOWN, AND HASTETH TO HIS PLACE WHERE HE AROSE." ++ ECCLESIASTES (KING JAMES VERSION)
NB: CHECK OUT THE MCCOY GROUP PAGE ON FACEBOOK --- "MCCOY FAMILY MINDEN CITY."
"TIMBERDOODLES" & LUCK
THE MINDEN CITY HERALD - JUNE 15, 2023
Once known as the "Robin Snipe" - Champion long distant migrant
9,000 miles from south to north in the spring, then the reverse in the autumn
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and WHIMBREL
** MY BEST SHOREBIRD YEAR EVER IN THE THUMB - 2023
(Same or different??)
TUNDRA OR TRUMPETER? / MUTE SWAN (orange beak)
The American Woodcock is seldom seen in the open. Only on its breeding grounds does the male “timberdoodle” advertise its presence with a nasal bzeep! and a spectacular aerial display, its so-called “sky dance.”
For most of the year, this “woodland-loving shorebird” remains hidden in swampy forests and swales and is only discovered when it explodes from cover and flies off on whistling wings, zigzagging through the trees and brush.
Last week, however, I spotted this secretive gamebird on my lawn. It was pure serendipity.
As I drove down to the mailbox, I noticed an adult robin in the newly mowed grass at the edge of my wooded lot. On the way back, the robin had been replaced by a woodcock. It was probing the ground with its long bill and seemed oblivious to my presence. I grabbed my camera and took several pictures from the car window.
I watched this charismatic bird for about five minutes as it rocked back and forth and searched the lawn for worms and insects. Then suddenly, it flew into the woods and was gone. I was lucky to see it at all - the timing had to be perfect.
I put three of my pictures on Facebook (not the one in the article), which got many “likes” and generated several “comments.” However, I am sure my Facebook “friends” do not realize that similar woodcock photos will never appear there again…. unless, of course, my luck with “timberdoodles” continues to hold.
+++ ARTICLE BELOW - SCROLL DOWN +++
Facing the camera on my lawn in Sand Beach Township (Huron County), an American Woodcock shows off its long, straight bill, its bulging, high-placed eyes (for better vision when probing the ground), and its distinctive camouflage patterns.
from THE MINDEN CITY HERALD - JULY 13, 2023
I have often seen pictures of a mother opossum carrying her young on her back, but never the real thing. Then finally, I got my chance.
Early one morning in late May, I drove into Wagener County Park (Huron County) to check the beach for shorebirds. At the entrance, I noticed an odd-looking opossum, waddling across the newly-mowed lawn and coming toward the park road.
We were on a “collision course,” but the opossum saw the vehicle and quickly reversed directions. It ran back toward the trees while I managed to take a few “going-away” shots with my camera from the passenger-side window.
The opossum stopped at the edge of the woods and looked back, just before disappearing into the trees. It was only there for about ten seconds, but I got my photo. I also realized why the opossum seemed so large and “disheveled” at first glance - it was a mother opossum, carrying her young on
Afterwards, I checked my pictures and tried to count the baby opossums. There were at least six … probably more, because the photographs only showed one side of the mother.
I wanted to learn more about North America’s only marsupial or “pouched animal.” I had questions about how the young opossums developed in their mother’s pouch and when they begin to ride
on her back.
So, I turned to the Kaufman Field Guide to Mammals of North America. It supplied some answers:
“Each litter contains eight to a dozen or more young, born after less than two weeks’ gestation. The babies are born in an embryonic state: naked, undeveloped, and the size of a bumblebee. They make their own way through their mother’s fur into her pouch and attach to a nipple, which swells in their mouth, attaching them securely for the next two months. If the litter size exceeds the number of nipples (13), unattached young die. During their third month, the young ride around on their mother’s back, returning to the pouch only to nurse.”
During their travels, the mother opossum teaches her young what to eat and where to find it. When she locates a good food source, the baby opossums climb down and forage with her. Then they get back aboard, and the search continues.
Opossums are omnivores and will eat just about anything. The Kaufman Field Guide describes some of the items on their menu:
“Opossums feed on insects, small animals, various fruits, and even snakes. They also eat carrion, including road kills, and as a result they are often killed on roads themselves.”
Eventually, the young opossums will be strong enough to keep up with their mother and find food on their own. According to Kaufman, “…a female may have two to three litters per year.”
I was looking for shorebirds on that May morning, but settled for a classic photograph of North America’s only marsupial… with her young ones in tow. Luckily, the mother opossum looked back at the camera during the few seconds she posed for a picture. However, most of the baby opossums did not. They were too busy holding on or getting a better grip before their “wildlife taxi” pulled out and headed into the woods.
Notes: The technical name for the marsupial described in this article is VIRGINIA OPOSSUM (“Didelphis virginiana”), a mammal species found only in North America, and originally in the South.
Undoubtedly, the colonists of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia (1607), were curious about the strange creature and asked the native Powhatans for its name. The tribesmen replied with some version of their word, “aposoum” (“white animal”). Eventually, the native term was anglicized and used to name the opossum.
In 1608, John Smith, the leader of the Jamestown expedition, wrote a famous description of the strange-looking animal, which he saw for the first time in Virginia:
“An Opassom hath a head like a Swine, and a tail like a Rat, and is of the bignes of a Cat. Under her belly she hath a bagge, wherein she lodgeth, carrieth, and sucketh her young.”
The word “opossum” dates back more than 400 years, echoing the language of the Powhatans and the English adventurers, who coined the term. ++
Carrying her young on her back, a mother opossum poses briefly for a photo before disappearing into the woods at Wagener County Park.
DUE TO EYE PROBLEMS AND OTHER HEALTH ISSUES, I HAVE TEMPORARILY DISCONTINUED MY ARTICLES IN "TMCH." JHM, 7/15/23
CELEBRATION OF LIFE: HURON NATURE CENTER - SEPTEMBER 9, 2023 - 2:00 PM
Dr. Pierre O. Wagener, born and educated in Paris, France, settled in Sand Beach Township in 1881, where he established his practice.... In 1889, he married and the couple, arriving here by train, were warmly welcomed by the townspeople. Shortly afterward, he built a home and office
on Huron Avenue, where he continued his medical practice until his death in 1921. Dr. Wagener
was an exceptionally talented and successful physician and surgeon, and his services extended over
a large part of the county...
The life of this medical pioneer still remains vivid in the minds of many residents. Wagener County Park, 5 1/2 miles south of Harbor Beach was dedicated to his memory in 1935.
[taken from a History of Harbor Beach]