Blackburnian Warbler

Cover Image – Male Blackburnian Warbler

Paul has spent over a decade exploring all areas of Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP), walking countless hours along waterways, and through Lake Superior State Forest, and Hiawatha National Forest. During a down economy he and his wife returned to the family summer cottage in the EUP, learning to live a spartan life and have since remained there. One year he ate a diet of entirely wild edibles he picked, wild game he hunted, and wild fish he caught. While doing this he gained a measure of understanding of the life of subjects he sought to photograph. Paul developed a deep connection with nature while focusing on birds in a relaxed, non-hurried manner. That led to opportunity for exquisite bird photography on daily walks, while driving back roads, collecting wild edibles, and fishing. He proved to himself what he strongly suspected before he moved to the EUP permanently: it is a fantastic place for birds!

This limited edition book is a culmination of rare opportunities. It is a hard bound museum quality “coffee table” book (11″ x 11″) with approximately 120 pages and 105 photographs. Almost all photographs have sold numerous prints. Accompanying each photograph is a narrative about how the photograph was taken, and/or the behavior of the subject(s), and/or the environmental circumstances which led to the photograph. This makes this book more than a collection of beautiful photographs. The reader will be educated, entertained, and feel the excitement of adventure that Paul felt while making the images.

The pages of this book are printed on thick satin paper. The book is made from recyclable non-toxic materials.


Great horned owl family

Back Cover Image – Great Horned owl Family


White-winged crossbill hoarfrost

Male White-winged Crossbill in Hoarfrost

In a winter when White-winged Crossbills found the abundant crop of spruce cones in the EUP a humid night produced hoarfrost. That did not stop this bird from feeding out in the open the next morning. It also saw I was certainly no threat after a slow approach in chest high snow.
This is an example of how seasonal weather patterns affect food sources for birds. In the conifer forests of Michigan, in the year after a drought year (rain amounts well below average) many conifers produce a bounty of cones. This attracts many birds which like to eat the seeds of cones. The white-winged cross-bill specializes in extracting the seeds of spruce cones. It inserts its curved bill between the layers of the cone, opens its mouth, and the oppositely curved mandibles open the space perfectly so it can then easily extract the seed with its tongue.


Common Loon with chick

Common Loon with Chick

When I discovered this loon at Cranberry flooding in Chippewa County of the EUP, she had a chick not more than 2 days old.


Black-throated Blue Warbler

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler

In certain private dry hardwood forests of the EUP, with the owner’s permission, I might set up a water drip and small pool if there is a dry period during mid-May. I use the following: a noiseless submersible pump, a bucket, a concave dish, flexible tubes, and my imagination. I also use a powerful rechargeable battery to power the pump. At the time this photograph was taken the trees had not fully leaved out and the forest understory had colorful emerging saplings, (Aspen and Oak pictured). On the calm morning the sound of the water attracted this colorful resident.


Foxes moms tired

Foxes – Mom’s Tired

I took this photo right after sunrise, just outside of Pickford, in the EUP. The family group was completely unaware of my presence. I safely pulled my car into position on a back road with the sun directly behind me as I edged past a line of shrubs. They heard the shutter of my camera, but could not see me.



Male Bufflehead skiing stop courtship behavior

Bufflehead ducks perform hilarious courtship behavior during April in the EUP waters: head bobs, blowing bubbles, sneaking up and poking another duck in the rear when coming from under water, etc. Here groups of males and females circled the waters adjacent to a causeway where I parked my car. I photographed out of the window when the show came to me – a female decided to leave the water and sit on the shore right in front of me. Repeatedly males would make short flights and come to a skiing stop to impress her.


Saw-Whet Owl

Saw-whet Owl

Saw-whet owls breed in the EUP. They stop along the northern shore of Lake Huron in the fall during their southward migration, but they are mostly undetected by birders. Finding them is much easier in early October, the time when Ruby-crowned kinglets congregate along the northern shore. Numerous kinglets will fly back and forth continuously, landing on branches to their left and to their right, at a distance of anywhere from approximately 4 to 8 feet from the daytime roost of a Saw-whet owl. At the moment of landing on each branch each kinglet will make a distinctive clicking noise. The resulting chaotic noise of many of them can be heard from quite a distance. I walk to that noise, if possible. The behavior of the kinglets will pinpoint the location of the owl, which is usually well concealed.


Natural bird feeder

Natural Bird Feeder

In early winter on a year when cone crops in Michigan were excellent White-winged Crossbills and Common Redpolls were abundant in the EUP. While walking down a snowy back road I saw a small flock of birds rise up and fly away from a little frozen creek at roadside. They went back after I passed, so I investigated. I found that a flock of White-winged crossbills and Common Redpolls were using their bills to scrape the ice and remove small seeds embedded in the top of the ice at that spot of the creek. It seemed that wind had previously blown small seeds from the surrounding forest into the creek and currents concentrated the floating seeds at that spot, and then the creek froze. Notice the Common Redpoll with its head under the tail of the male White-winged Crossbill.


Cape May warbler in maple blossoms

Male Cape Male Warbler in flowering maple

On a cold early May morning (about 35 degrees F) this warbler, which normally feeds exclusively on insects by the time it arrives on its breeding grounds in the northern spruce forests, reverted back to its habit of feeding on nectar, which it does during its winter in the tropics. There were no insects to be found that morning, after a frost the previous night.


Common merganser family

Female Common Merganser with chicks

This photo was taken along the shoreline of Caribou Lake, in Chippewa County of the EUP. I saw the family skirting the shoreline so I got into position a few hundred yards ahead of them, hiding behind a cedar. The ducklings usually follow behind the mother in the water, but they detected me and gathered as close to mom as possible while mom boldly guided them past me.


Bohemian Waxwing in crabapple

Bohemian Waxwing in Crabapple Tree

Some years Bohemian Waxwings arrive in the EUP in late fall or early winter. They often arrive in large flocks and feed on a variety of berries. A group of over 100 birds found this crabapple tree soon after this photo was taken, and within 2 days all of the berries were eaten.


Book Copy Editor:   Bonnie Stewart Mickelson