Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lake Superior Beach Photos

Friends Marsha and Denise from down state visited this past weekend, along with Denise's son Adam, who is a student at Northern in Marquette. It was such a beautiful day on Sunday. We spent time on the beach at First Creek plus we also checked out Sable Falls and went up into the dunes.

Here are some shots I took at First Creek.

Around half way between First Creek and Second Creek (Sable River), someone built a tee pee last fall. I had a photo before of the tee pee but I never went and checked it out in detail. This time we did. Someone really worked hard to construct the tee pee from driftwood. We counted at least 85 different pieces of driftwood used to make the structure.

After I posted my sorry excuse for a photo of the albino deer the other day, I received an email from local resident Wendy Lowe. Her husband, Jim, took the following picture with his web cam. Apparently the albino is not coming around as much as she used to. Wendy reports that sometimes the other deer are not nice to the albino.

What causes some whitetail deer to be albinos? Well, although albino deer a rare for the most part, albinism is not. Internet research shows that albinism is a recessive trait found in many animals including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and even plants! Albino animals do not have the gene for normal coloration and do not produce the enzyme responsible for skin, hair, and tissue coloration. The result of this genetic oddity is the total absence of body pigment.

In addition to the lack of body pigment, the eyes of an albino are pink because blood vessels behind the lenses show through the unpigmented irises. As you can guess, albinism is not a great trait for an animal, either predator or prey, unless they live in area with constant snow cover.

Obviously, being totally white year-round makes concealment in most deer habitat difficult. To make matters worse, many albinos in general have poor eyesight. Perhaps that is why albino deer are rare: lack of camouflage increases deer predator attacks, poor eyesight, and a recessive, rare gene. Because albinism is a recessive trait, both deer must carry the gene before it can occur in their offspring. An albino deer bred to another albino would have only albinos. An albino bred to a normal deer with no recessive genes for albinism would produce all normally pigmented white-tailed deer. Offspring from this cross would carry the recessive gene for albinism but would be normally colored. When carriers of the recessive gene for albinism breed there is a one-in-four chance they will produce an albino fawn. Based on deer hunter reports, only about one deer in 30,000 is an albino!

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