Tag Archives: Amity

Northland Love!

Although our weather can be highly variable … with temperature drops of 30 degrees when the wind shifts off Lake Superior, our local populace has been busy either raising families, or making preparations.

Merlin Hunting for Breakfast (mouth of Lester River on Lake Superior)

Mom Always Liked You Best! (Trumpeter Swan family at MacQuarrie Wetlands)

My Cover Appears to be Blown!

Snapping Turtle Laying Down Eggs

Calling Out for a Mate (Wilson’s Snipe at the Roy Johnson Wetlands)

Searching for a Mate (Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker)

Running the Gauntlet … Hudson Bay Bound

The weather is ugly! The route to Hudson Bay through Duluth is even worse!

Yup, the rains have come over the past few days, and the  recreation fields at the end of Park Point have been turned into mud flats. The shore birds on their way up to Hudson’s Bay and points north love the food opportunities on these new mud flats to reload, rest and feed. There is one big problem for the shorebirds and all the song birds migration through the Duluth area … Merlins!

Park Point Playing Fields
Marbled Godwit and Dunlins

Back on the Home Front … Amity Creek
Eastern Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, American Tree Sparrow, White-Throated Sparrow and Blue Jays

At one point this afternoon, I had 40+ Blue Jays in the yard!

One of Many Merlins Tracking the Migration … Songbirds Beware!

My Pond! Not Yours!

Had a super time hiking this morning on the dikes of the MacQuarrie Wetlands near Wrenshall, Minnesota. My good friends, Mike Furtman, had keyed me in to this amazing habitat just outside of Duluth. Quite frankly, I was amazed to find these wetlands in the Namadji River watershed, only a couple miles off one of my bike routes (Military Road). If you know the Nemadji area, you understand rolling hills.

Although the Trumpeter Swans in the first photo may look peaceful and graceful, the situation is 100% different. I watched the lead swan get chased away by “many couples” from various wetland ponds shortly after sunrise this morning. The cob (male swan) was trying to “swipe someone else’s woman”, and in each case the bonds formed by the couples were strong and they jointly chased away the interloper ... trumpeting the entire time. It was noisy beautiful!

The ponds had only gone ice free a few days before, and the “early migrants” were not about to give up their prime nesting spots to late arrivals … let alone break up a perfectly good relationship.

Chasing the Interloper … Trumpeter Swans

A Porcupine Surveying the Scene this Morning

Young Love at my own feeders … Pileated Power

Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose! (the higher in the air of the two immature bald eagles had just swept in a “goosed” the other eagle … and perhaps even stole some breakfast).


Back to Minnesota … back to Winter, or is it Spring?

This morning I drove over to visit the Wisconsin State Hwy #13 grasslands near Cloverland and the Roy Johnson Mitigation Wetlands. Given none of the lakes or area ponds are ice free, and the fact that one could still find snow in the deep reaches of the forests, I had low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to find an area that was thinking Spring might be around the corner.

Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans were finding minuscule openings of water to stage, and a few early migrants … mainly red-winged blackbirds, robins and American Kestrels were present in reasonable numbers. Early arrivals of other grassland birds were not yet present.

Still lingering in the area were Rough-Legged Hawks like the one pictured below as it waited for more favorable weather and southerly winds to push northward. When I return home I found a few Goldfinches starting to wear their summer plumage.

Transitions …