I was up before sunrise and drove down to Canal Park. I noticed in my semi-wakeful state around 4 am that the heavy rains had stopped. For me that meant clear skies and good birding. As the sun poked its head over the horizon Lake Superior and Canal Park shone out in her glory.
After Canal Park, I visited the Old Stella Jones Pier (reviewed with map yesterday). During the “golden hour” I found an American Golden Plover. After some significant time with my friendly plover it was off to Park Point where I hung out on the beach with the Semipalmated Sandpipers.
The Duluth shipping season will end within the next seven days. The harbor is now ice covered, and freighters would be locked in their winter slumber if not for the ice breaking chores of tugboats! On the birding front, hundreds of ducks are hanging out in the Duluth Ship Canal at the entrance to Lake Superior. If you saw the CSL Assiniboine steaming down upon you the best decision would be to get the heck out of Dodge!
Canadian Steamship Lines Assiniboine Enters the Ship Canal
Goldeneyes Decide it’s Time to Fly!
Earlier, back in the harbor … the Tug North Carolina Breaks Ice for the Assiniboine
Time to clean up photographs from the past two months as I sit here on the first day of 2017. There are two birding trips I never reported upon, and have some good images. Back in mid November I took a drive up Lake County #3 which leaves the Northshore of Lake Superior at the mouth of the Stewart River. This is an occasional birding route of mine, and 13 miles inland I catch the logging road, East Alger Grade to connect to Lake County #2 which comes back down into Two Harbors.
The second trip was a few days prior to New Year’s when I drove down to Canal Park. In addition to hundreds of bouncing goldeneyes, there is one beautiful male long-tailed duck.
The temperature fell to -7 last night with a HUGE wind to create dangerous windchills and Sea Smoke on Lake Superior. Thus, what’s a photographer to do? Enjoy the weather!
In my first image, the ore boat / freighter … the Great Lakes Trader arrives at Canal Park in Duluth this morning surrounded by Sea Smoke. After my Sea Smoke sunrise photo, I’ve included a pic taken a few moments later with seagulls. The birds are not scared by the freighter … rather the immense engines and propellers suck up and kill fish … free food for gulls to snatch out of the ship’s wake.
This image was my final photograph at Canal Park. I had to run with my gear to change my perspective and capture the ore boat showing the other lighthouse at Canal Park and the ice encrusted bow of the Great Lakes Trader.
This cold has finally driven some northern birds down to the Arctic Riviera. Pine Grosbeaks consider our northern Minnesota climate balmy compared to the northern Boreal forests in Canada. We are the southern Boreal forests! In addition, many northern eagles have now flown down to our area courtesy of strong northwest winds. Finally goldeneyes are making their winter home in the Duluth area now that Lake Superior is the only open water around.