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Years ago, Bill O’Rourke of Traverse City rescued a baby squirrel. He raised him, named him Angus and “came to realize how smart these little critters are. He loved to play, wrestling with my hand, chewing on my finger. He would often jump around like he was the happiest squirrel in the forest, like he just won the squirrel Publisher’s Clearinghouse or something.”

Flash forward: O’Rourke sees a squirrel scratching a persistent itch near Boardman Lake in Traverse City.

“When he started to scratch under his arm I knew that satisfied look on his face was right around the corner, I’d seen Angus do it a million times,” he said.

He was ready with his camera, to take the shot he titled “That's it, right there!”

O’Rourke’s photo becomes one of four finalists named after the first week of The Detroit News’ Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest: Woods and Wildlife. It’s the second of three Celebrate Michigan contests this summer, open to all non-professional photographers age 18 or older. Submit your photos through noon July 28 of animals and forests, including pets, farm animals, zoo scenes, wildflowers and more.

Detroit News photo editors will select four finalists each week. When the field of 16 is chosen, the winner will be determined by five days of public voting, August 2-6.

The winner will receive a $500 Visa card.

This week’s other three finalists are:

■ “Dinner Time,” by Linda Sorensen of Canton: “The mama sow had been lying on the ground, nursing about six piglets,” said Sorensen, who was visiting Kensington Farm Center in Milford with her grandson. “After a bit, she got up and started moving around. The piglets pictured weren't ready to quit eating and wiggled their way under the mama to continue their nursing. It was a short lived moment and I'm so glad I snapped a quick photo.”

■ “Eye See You,” by John Clark of Westland: A frog pokes its head out of the duckweed in a pond at the Dahlem Center in Jackson. “I loved how some of it stuck on his face so I got my camera as close to the water as possible and focused right on the eye,” Clark said. “Even with a large F-stop, the foreground and background blurred out wonderfully and he just stood out.”

■ “Drake Wood Duck, Full Wing,” by Kellen Crow of Commerce Township.  At his favorite duck hunting pond last fall,  “This drake wood duck put on a display for a hen wood duck and hen mallard, trying to catch their eyes,” Crow said. "He was amazing."

(Note: A previously announced finalist for this week has been disqualified.)

The third Celebrate Michigan contest, Favorite Places, will be open July 28 to Aug. 25 for photos of anywhere that’s special to you, indoors or outdoors.

At the end of the contests on Sept. 6, three Editors’ Pick bonus prizes of $150 cash cards will be awarded for three photos chosen from the pool of finalists by The Detroit News staff.

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