N3- Terry and Andrea Grabill have occasionally regaled us with wonderful stories and photos from the world of birding. We are happy to announce that they have agreed to do a Q&A column for all of us who share a fascination with our feathered friends.
How can I make the birds that come to my feeders safe from window collisions?
Bird-window collisions are a real problem at homes with large windows. The very opening that allows us to better view birds often puts them in danger! Many backyard birders enjoy having a lively bird feeder that is easily viewed from the comfort of our homes and can, unfortunately, cause collisions that often are fatal.
Often, collisions result from birds leaving feeders in a panic, perhaps to avoid predators such as hawks or domestic cats (more on that in another edition). Cover items near the feeders can give an escape path that does not include the window. Windows give the illusion of a clear path to safety.
Bird-window collisions can be reduced by having items in your windows. If a bird can see the reflections of landscapes in windows they think that they can keep going safely. So, by tastefully placing items in the window that breaks up the sense of safety and being able to continue flying, the birds will know that there is a danger to them and they will have time to correct and change their path. Here at the BirdGoober home, we have strung 4-5 silver holiday bulbs on fishing line and hung them in our upper windows. We’ve not had a collision there in years! Many online retailers sell window clings and treatments that are designed to reduce the dangers.
While standing outside, medium sized black birds flew in the same direction, not as an organized flock, but in a steady stream that lasted for several minutes involving possibly hundreds of birds. What are these and why do they do this?
In Michigan, late August is the time for blackbirds to gather in flocks to roam the countryside feeding in preparation for their migration south. These mixed flocks can contain thousands of individuals of several species, including common grackles, red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, and European starlings. The cloud-like river of birds can be very impressive! As we finish this edition, a flock of at least one hundred perched in the hardwoods in our backyard.
Blackbirds come together in flocks in the fall as they are getting ready to migrate. People always say there is safety in numbers, right? So, birds instinctively do the same! People notice blackbirds more because it’s a “cloud of black moving in the sky” which is great because at least people are noticing the birds! Birds tend to fly in flocks for safety from predators as well. When you are travelling hundreds of miles to migrate and it’s better to have a group for safety…just like humans!
The flow of these clouds of black can be mesmerizing to watch. Flocks of starlings, especially, are known to flow in the air in what’s called a murmuration. Research has shown that in these sky-dances, individuals key in to the motion of the six nearest birds and the result is a beautiful black cloud that seems to move as one.
BirdGoober is Terry and Andrea Grabill, of Newaygo. They have been birding together since they met and love to share their passion for birds with people of all ages. Please send your birding questions to the Grabills at email@example.com or visit their website www.birdgoober.com.
Classical guitarist Paul Vondiziano will be at the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts Friday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. on the main stage. Vondiziano is a prestigious guitarist who plays music from Bach to Mediterranean composers with brilliant technique.
Vondiziano’s performances typically include works such as Fernando Sor’s "Mozart Variations Op.9”, Manuel Ponce’s “Suite in A Minor”, J. S. Bach’s “Prelude-Fugue-Allegro”, Joao Guimaraes’ “Three Brazilian Pieces”, Carlo Domeniconi’s "Koyunbaba Op. 19”, as well as some of his own original pieces.
Vondiziano was born in Larnaca, Cyprus where he began his study of the guitar at the age of eight. He continued his education in the United States in both philosophy and music, and holds a Master of Music degree from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania. Following his studies he returned to Cyprus, where his performance activities led to further engagements and tours in Europe. Since his return to America he has been active as a performer, and continues to make appearances abroad.
This talented guitarist has collaborated with various musicians and ensembles and has performed as concerto soloist with ensembles such as the Cyprus National Chamber Orchestra, Boise Philharmonic, Kalamazoo Symphony, Plymouth Symphony, and various university–related orchestras. He has had well received solo performances in Athens, Greece, Nicosia Cyprus, Sotogrand and Jimena in Spain.
Tickets are only $15 and are available at www.dogwoodcenter.com, through the Dogwood Box Office, downtown Fremont at NCCA-Artsplace or click here. Seating style is reserved seating with social distancing. Seating is limited to 75 total. Masks worn over mouth and nose will be required at all times in the Dogwood Center. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Discover the Big Top Within with Cirque Amongus at the Dogwood Center on Saturday, October 31, from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.! The half-day Circus Camp will promote teamwork and self-esteem while introducing children, ages 6 to 12, to a wide range of circus skills.
There will be an abundance of fun as participants laugh and giggle while they ride unicycles and tiny bikes, walk a tightrope, do magic tricks, stay atop a rolling barrel, swing on a trapeze, or learn to juggle! Participants will also have the unique opportunity to see a performance by Cirque Amongus instructors!
Advanced registration is required. Please include your phone number when registering so we can contact you with details before the class. Registration will be limited to 20 participants total, which will be broken up into 4 small groups of 5 participants each for activities.
Each participant will use hand sanitizer between activities and equipment will be sanitized between groups. All participants will be required to wear masks, no food or drinks will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring a water bottle. Each participant will take a brief health survey prior to entering the facility.
The cost for the morning is $20 per child. Children must be ages 6 - 12 years old to participate in this full morning of activities between 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
The program is funded in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Register at www.dogwoodcenter.com, through the Dogwood Box Office, downtown Fremont at NCCA-Artsplace or click here. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts, 4734 S. Campus Court, Fremont, MI 49412
The NCCA-Artsplace Fall Community Photography Contest is a free annual contest for all ages and all levels of skill. The 2020 contest had 51 entries and award winners were selected by Dee Burkle of Awards and More.
The first place award was given to Aeriel Stroven of Fremont for her photograph “Autumn Umbra”. Second place was awarded to Avery Geisen of Grant for the entry “Fragmented” and Amalie Jansen of Fremont was awarded third place for “Flowers in the Sunrise”. An Honorable Mention award was given to Susan Gilliland of Hesperia for "Into the Woods".
All entries will be on display through October 31 in the corridor gallery at NCCA-Artsplace, 13 East Main Street in downtown Fremont.
On the Run: Events without the Busy Buzz
By Alexis Mercer
Most cross country meets that the Newaygo High School team attends throughout a typical season are large; consisting of hundreds of runners per race, with multiple races per day.
The Michigan State meet that takes place in mid-September, for example, would often contain more than 500 runners toeing the line per division. The gun would go off indicating runners could begin and the ground at Forest Akers Golf Course would tremble with the impact. With five high school divisions (both boys and girls) and also a college division, this meet meant thousands upon thousands of runners, spectators, and volunteers from the break of dawn until the sun was setting.
Covid changed all that.
Michigan State was canceled. The Portage Invite (the only invite we attend where schools from other states were allowed to travel to participate) canceled.
Other meets weren’t canceled completely but altered to meet the safety requirements given by the MHSAA and allow runners to still compete.
CSAA schools have added JV races to allow everyone to be able to participate as opposed to limiting the number of runners who can attend. Hill and Bale, an early season meet, limited the teams to 10 and allowed 7 runners per gender to compete.
So when Allendale sent out information saying they were changing format to allow all schools who had originally participated to be able to compete, I was thrilled. My athletes love the Allendale course. Its elevation change is perhaps 1 ft total. They run quickly and the weather most often seems to cooperate being that it is held in early October. Not too hot, not too cold.
There were annoying complications, like parents having to sign up early for spectator passes and an online system that wasn’t easy to navigate. But we would get to compete!
Allendale put on a lesson in event planning, however. The teams would be split up into geographical regions. 7 regions total competing between Friday evening and Saturday all day. No more than 7 teams per region and each team could then allow 10 runners to participate. Results would be compiled from all regions and handed out the following week.
All of this was impressive and I was grateful to them for finding a way to make the race work for our athletes.
But I have to say, as I pulled in to the nearly empty parking lot at 4:00 on Saturday afternoon, and found my team huddled in the location where we would have normally put our team tent, coolers, food, bags, and blankets, only with their one extra layer of clothing over their uniforms, I could only think of one description for what I was feeling: eerie.
The masses of people. The rolling off a bus at 6:30 am having watched the sun rise on the way to the meet. The smell of the caramel corn being made in person as you ordered right at the half mile mark. The volunteers holding back crowds to cross the track in order to get to the start line on the East side of the field. Sprinting through parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends who happen to live nearby and are so excited to watch a race to get to a point on the course where you could scream for your school’s athletes and be heard. Hearing over the loudspeaker to stay off the football field unless you are a runner.
It was all missing.
I’m grateful for any chance to compete in a safe way. I’m grateful to Allendale for being brave enough to rework a well-oiled machine and find a new format for their race. I’m grateful that my runners put their hearts on the line and ran the course with pride regardless the number of competitors in the field.
But I can’t help but think about just how eerie it all is.
Fremont’s Harvest Festival has Hay Art, Beer Tent & More
Ok no parade. We get it.
One of the best parades in the region has always been the Harvest Festival version, a cavalcade of marching merriment that provides an avenue for the innovation of entrants and generally a boatload of candy for kids on the curb.
Toss in an election year and the route would be seeing local and regional pols turn out to deliver a few waves, a few handshakes and hopefully some prime sweets for the kiddos since no one running for office wants to be remembered as a purveyor of cheap candy.
But not this year.
Festivals have mostly gone by the wayside in this era of pandemic produced postponements.
And this will certainly not be anywhere near the same as previous Harvest Fests.
But hey, there’s the ever popular Hay Art Contest, a Porch Decorating Contest, Downtown Sales Specials, a Dessert Contest…
And a Beer Tent.
Yes, Brew Works is hosting not only a beer tent but one that will include entertainment as the always entertaining group Yard Sale Underwear will be cranking out the tunes starting at 6pm.
So drive around and take in some Hay Art, help our local businesses by patronizing a store or two, hit the farmer’s market Saturday morning…
And pay a visit to Brew Works. It might not be a parade, but hey, when’s the last time you were at a good old small town festival beer tent?
Check out the Fremont Chamber of Commerce facebook page for more info.
And here’s your guide to Hay Art.
2020 Hay Art Locations List
Semlow Chiropractic 119 N. Stone Road
Gerber Life Insurance Corner of Stone and Hemlock
West Michigan Family Dental 517 N. Stone Road
Church of the Living Christ 605 Hemlock Street
Pathfinder Elementary 109 W. 44th St.
CBD Store of Michigan 37 E. Main Street
Five Star Real Estate – Wakefield Team 37 E. Main Street
Fremont Area District Library 104 E. Main Street
Fremont Lions Club Veterans Park
Crop Walk 2020 – Church of the Living Christ Veterans Park
Fremont Rotary Club Veterans Park
Fremont Area Chamber Veterans Park
WISE Veterans Park
The Original Print Shop 29 W. Main Street
Elsies Ice Cream Station 104 S. Division
Edward Jones – Lou Deleguardia 46 W. Sheridan
Fremont Dental 111 W. Dayton St.
Kent Scott Family 336 E. Elm St.
Fremont Christian Elementary School Decker Street
Vallejo Family 703 Connie Avenue
Ulnar Lawn Care & Newton Electric 7315 W. Lake Drive
Fremont Regional Digester 1634 Locust Street
Fremont Middle School 500 Woodrow Avenue
Compass Credit Union 115 S. Stone Road
Snipperz 937 W. Main St.
True North 6308 S. Warner Ave.
Laughing Stock Farm 9230 S. Warner Avenue
At a Thursday press conference it was announced that the Fremont Cinemas would be reopening thanks to the entrepreneurial efforts of Tanya Mendoza and Ken Terveer.
On Friday the word came down from the Gov’s office that theaters could reopen.
Or does Lansing recognize the importance of providing entertainment options to the people of Newaygo County?
Few folks favor hitting the theaters during our warm weather period which can be anywhere from about 5 months to that week in July depending on personal body temperature fluctuations.
And we are an outside kind of people here in the near north. When the first croci appear poking through the snow we are ready to take it outside and it isn’t until the last of the leaves fall and deer hunting season comes to its post Thanksgiving end that most of us become ready to bring it indoors for the winter.
Then, with daytimes reduced to a few hours and nighttime activity limited to shoveling snow we hunker in.
But now and then you just got to get out right?
And what better place than to go to the movies?
Now we’re not saying it was merely the article by Lola Harmon in N3 regarding the impending reopening of the Fremont Cinemas that caused the Gov to suddenly toss open the doors to theaters across the lower part of our bipeninsular paradise…
But the timing...the timing is certainly intriguing.
From the press release last Friday:
Beginning October 9, a number of previously closed businesses are slated to reopen statewide, including indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks, and more.
Under Executive Order 2020-183, instead of being limited to 10 people, non-residential indoor gatherings and events now must limit attendance to 20 people per 1,000 square feet or 20 percent of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 500 people in Michigan’s largest venues. Non-residential indoor venues must require a face covering. Instead of being limited to 100 people, non-residential outdoor gatherings and events now must limit attendance to 30 people per 1,000 square feet or 30 percent of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 people.
By Marianne Boerigter
Have some fun this fall and shoot away….with your camera! Newaygo County is prime country for that perfect fall photo. Take your best shots and enter the NCCA-Artsplace Fall Photography Contest. The contest is an annual community event that anyone can enter and showcases the fall beauty of our area. Entry deadline is Thursday, October 1, by 4:00 p.m.
This free competition is for all ages and all levels of skill. All entries must have a fall or harvest theme. Participants may submit up to two entries. Each entry must be an 8”x10” unframed photograph.
All entries will be on display October 2 through October 31 in the corridor gallery at NCCA-Artsplace. First, second and third place awards will be announced by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 2 at www.ncca-artsplace.org and @NCCA-Artsplace on Facebook.
Registration forms for the competition are available at NCCA-Artsplace, 13 East Main Street, downtown Fremont or call 231.924.4022. The guidelines and forms may also be printed from www.ncca-artsplace.org.
Flying Bear Books in downtown Newaygo is currently hosting an exhibit featuring recent works by local artist Brenda Huckins Bonter.
This enticing bastion of bookery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12-6pm.
From the artist::
During the pandemic shut down, I found myself with plenty of spare time. I really missed the watercolor classes that I taught at St Marks and Ukulele classes at Sleeping Bear Books in Newaygo. Long walks with my dog Bengee became a daily occurrence. I live near the North Country Trail and Coolbough, so I had plenty of time to observe the beauty of nature and some of it’s amusing quirks along the trails. I became fascinated with what I call “Tree Spirits'', the areas of trees where limbs have broken off, burls are formed, and sometimes even holes bored by birds that create interesting “faces”. I started carrying art supplies and my camera in a backpack so I could make quick on site sketches and a photo. Back at home I enhanced the pencil sketches with stronger lines and shapes then added watercolor. I explored techniques to mimic the bark pattern on trees as well as bringing out the faces. The photos helped with the actual colors but my imagination took off as I played with interesting combinations and textures. Now that I have this volume of work I thought it might be fun to share it with the community.
“Dragons cannot be truly tamed but they can be bonded with and trained”-From Game of Thrones Wiki
From our friends at NC Parks:
Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam, #midragontrail, is in the process of adding just over three additional miles to usable trail this build season. Fundraising and construction have been going strong on the Dragon Trail since ground was broken last fall. By the end of 2020, just over 13 miles will be open overall. To date, eight miles of trail are in and ready for hiking and biking.
“We’ve got some great momentum going on the trail,” said Nick Smith, Director of Parks and Recreation at Newaygo County. “Through the help of individual donors and some amazing trail partners, we’re able to keep our builders and volunteers busy working toward our overall goal.”
The miles of the Dragon Trail that will open later this year will connect already opened portions to Big Bend Park - Campground in White Cloud. Thanks to a generous donation of $50,000 from Big Prairie Township Parks, a bridge will be installed so that riders and hikers can use the trail from Big Bend Park all the way to Hardy Dam County Marina, Sandy Beach County Park, and Operator’s Village Day Park. A 1.5-mile portion in Brower Park, called Brower Loop, is already open for use; as well as a small section in Newaygo State Park.
In the coming months still, four more bridges will be installed, connecting more constructed trail. Also, later this year a route over the Hardy Dam itself will be finalized, adding more official mileage to the total for 2020. As segments are officially open, the Dragon Trail website will detail access points on the trail conditions section of the page.
“Mountain bikers and hikers are loving the trail so far,” said Dragon Trail fundraiser Jodi Overman. “With a total project goal of over $3 million for a 47-mile trail we still have a ways to go’, and any gift, big or small, will help us get further along so we can get it built.”
To access the trail on the southwest side of Hardy Pond, it’s best to park at Sandy Beach County Park. Please be sure to follow park guidelines regarding parking passes.
To learn how you can help build or maintain The Dragon, or make a gift, visit www.thedragon.us
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“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman