Crane colt lifted into Celebrate Michigan contest final

The Detroit News

Mudg Poster knew she was going to get pictures of the newborn sandhill cranes. It was just a matter of when.

She staked out the nest at Kensington Metro Park daily for two weeks hoping to catch the hatch, but came up empty each time. Then, while away from the park, she got a call from a friend letting her know the colts (the name for baby sandhill cranes) were cracking their shells.

“By the time I made it to Kensington Metro Park in Milford that evening, the colts were out of their eggs and moving around,” Poster said. The birds scampered over their mother and around the nest. “Suddenly, the mother Sandhill stood up with the hours-old chick on her back. I expected the wee bird to tumble to the ground, but it held on and surveyed the world from a totally new perspective.”

Poster’s resulting photo, “Just Hours Old,” becomes one of this week’s four finalists in The Detroit News’ Celebrate Michigan Contest: Woods and Wildlife. It’s the second of three Celebrate Michigan contests this summer, open to all non-professional photographers 18 or older. Submit your photos through noon Friday 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, Aug. 2-6. The winner will receive a $500 Visa card.

This week’s other three finalists are:

■ “Egret & American Lotus,” by Fred Drotar of Newport: A photo of an egret flying through a bed of American lotus, at Sterling State Park in Monroe County in August 2016.

■ “Surprise Visitor,” by Thomas Favazza of Shelby Township: “At Shelby Township's Holland Ponds, a wood frog hopped on my 8-year-old daughter’s hiking boot,” Favazza writes. “After searching for wildlife for awhile, she was so excited that it actually found her!”

■ “Sassy Pants the Squirrel,” by Sharon Bodenus of Little Lake: “I have a little red Squirrel who has stolen my heart and many of my friends’ on Facebook,” Bodenus writes. “She started to appear this spring and has since been here every day for her sunflower seeds. She is a sassy little thing and so she was named Sassy Pants.”

The third Celebrate Michigan contest, Favorite Places, will open at noon Friday and run until 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.

For the complete contest rules, go to detroitnews.com/celebrate-michigan, where you can find all of the weekly stories, links to the contests and the growing photo gallery of finalists.