Duluth is also known at the Arctic Riviera. Thus, when a snow storm hit two hours before dawn, it was a HUGE invitation for me to get outside with my camera. Today’s wind is out of the northeast which mean big waves as they coming rolling down hundreds of miles of open water of Lake Superior. Thus, rather than being a “stay inside” type of day, I’ve had a great time outdoors. I will admit to having gotten wet due to the sloppy snow, but birding was easy. The snow concentrated birds in prime birding locations. However, taking photographs was a challenge! 🙂
Blue Morph Snow Goose Family
Snow Geese in the Snow Videos
Wave Videos from Canal Park: The first video was taken from the 2nd floor of the Duluth Marine Museum. For the second video I had moved outside, but unlike folks seen in my first video, I am well back of the Lakewalk. The waves were throwing up on shore 20 to 30 pound rocks. The tourists did not realize they were in danger … not from the waves but thrown rocks. I warned a few folks before I went back to my car.
And a photograph of our house from an hour before sunrise this morning, just as the storm was really getting started in the Duluth area.
Folks like to see “northern” birds, and for that opportunity they could charter a bush pilot and fly into a remote lake near the Arctic Ocean, or they could visit Duluth in the late fall and winter. In a little over a month the visitor center at Sax-Zim Bog will open for the winter. I look forward to another winter of helping out at the center as a volunteer naturalist.
In the meantime one may enjoy the late fall migration along the north shore of Lake Superior. In the past few days I have enjoyed watching:
Hundreds & hundreds of Slate Colored Juncos
Large numbers of
American Tree Sparrows
One Ross’s Goose (Park Point Recreation Fields)
Many, many Merlins chasing songbirds for breakfast
One Short Eared Owl (dune grasslands while hiking out to the Superior Entry)
At my own feeder:
Woodpeckers … Downy, Hairy, Red-Bellied, and Pilleated
Finches … Purple and Gold
Chickadees and Nuthatches (red and white breasted)
A Gray Fox (15 minutes under the feeders eating 50 minutes before sunrise)
Here are a few images from the past two days … a video of the snow buntings is included.
Merlin (imitating a turkey … don’t think the songbirds were fooled!)
Lapland Longspur (just a few minutes after sunrise)
This afternoon I arrived home in Duluth after two days in the car driving back from Kentucky. Helping to lead the bike tour was fun, but that long a period in the car demanded exercise upon reaching home. Thankfully northern Minnesota did not disappoint and my I was presented with bright sunny skies, and stiff winds off Lake Superior. After unpacking the car I hopped on my bike and headed up the shore.
My first impression was “juncos have arrived”! Yes, more northern birds have dropped down from Canada. It won’t be long before migration is over with except for late arriving hawks and early winter owls. It was nice to give my camera a workout. While on bike tour I did not have time to take many photographs. Our garden’s one Woods Pink Aster which is still blossoming was a major attraction for Painted Lady butterflies.
It is good to be home, if only for a couple of days. Soon it will be time to head off to the other end of Lake Superior for Molly and my lighthouse keeping gig.
In the last hour I have had visits from the following kinds of woodpeckers in my yard:
Red-Bellied Woodpeckers and
I normally also have Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers around, but I believe my local crew has already migrated south. In short, my yard is woodpecker friendly. In addition to the the obvious suet feeders, I never remove dead trees unless they threaten to fall on my home. Dead trees provide nesting locations, and food for all of my woodpecker friends (with the exception of the sapsuckers). In turn these birds with all their newly created holes create lots of habitat for many other animals. Oh yes, my local bear population also appreciates my suet feeders!