I could have also titled this post: 500 Pics + 2 Videos + 1 Dawn Bike Ride = 1 Peregrine Falcon! In short, it was a fantastic time ten minutes after sunrise yesterday. While cycling along Scenic 61 at dawn I first heard a hawk’s fierce killing call, followed by a flash of movement in the corner of my field of view. I decided to get off my bicycle to investigate, and quickly found a peregrine falcon finishing up a morning song bird snack!
I was able to scramble down the steep bank to the shoreline rocks where I slowly inched my way towards the peregrine. As my angle to the bird put me directly in the morning’s low direct sun, I must have been invisible. Stopping only 20 yards away from the falcon I enjoyed watching the raptor as I clicked away with my camera. Realizing this might be a once in a lifetime experience, I tried to perfectly time the crashing waves on the rocks with the peregrine falcon in the foreground. To state it mildly, this was not your typical shorebird!
Upon getting home I chuckled to myself when I discovered I had taken 500 photographs and 2 vidoes. Isn’t burst mode a beautiful thing?! Here is one of my favorite images and a video. This experience just reinforces my next previous post … Birding by Bicycle .
The lupine have been blooming for two weeks inland from Lake Superior, but down on the shore the cool waters delay blossoms. Thus, this morning I drive up the shore to a favorite location where I knew the sun would align with the lupine at sunrise. Only for a few days near the Summer equinox does the sun rise directly in line with the shore. I liked the effect!
After my flower power session I moved on to Hawk Ridge. A few weeks ago I have photographed a classic ore boat arriving at Canal Park. I have been watching the shipping schedule and waiting for an early morning arrival. When I took my other ore boat arrival photo, I did not have a tripod. This time, I did it “right” and photographed the Cason J. Callaway as it arrived at Duluth.
Finally, while taking the above photograph, an Indigo Bunting serenaded me. This is said bird!
I’ll end this blog post with a pic taken of my own home. I arrived home at 6:30 am (been out since 4:45 am) as the sun finally dappled into my own yard!
The frozen Northland is frozen no more. In fact, summer is now just around the corner. In addition to birds, tourists are returning to the area! The NorthShore Scenic Railroad finished the restoration of Historic Steam Engine #28 (Duluth and Northeastern Railroad). While on a bike ride this afternoon up the NorthShore I chanced upon the steam engine out for a Sunday drive. While my ride was a workout, I always carry a camera with me. I adjusted my route and mileage and enjoyed a few miles of biking along #28! In a sure sign of Summer, I found some early blooming lupine … truly a Kodak Photo Moment when combined with the steam engine!
I also took a three videos. In the first video you get to hear the whistle. In the second one gets a close-up of the drive wheels, and in the final video the lupine appear. Ah … summer!
Even though Hawk Ridge is “closed” for the year, some of the best raptor watching occurs in November. As in the past, I find that one finds quite a few Bald Eagles, Red-Tailed Hawks and Rough Legged Hawks migrating along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
I particularly like to bird the Two Harbors Expressway between Duluth and Stoney Point, Old Superior Street, and Scenic 61. The raptors tend to hunt 1 to 2 hours after sunrise, and for the same period before sunset.
This photo of a Bald Eagle was taken this morning on Scenic 61. As a fyi, I wateched this eagle for exactly six minutes with my finger poised on the shutter. It was not concerned about me, just about finding a late breakfast.
For a pic of a Red-Tailed Hawk which I found two days ago on the Expressway a bit before sunset, follow this link.
For you non northern Minnesota types, it is perfectly okay to pull over on the Expressway. Just pull way off the road (the shoulder is big) and bird from the grassy areas. Traffic now that all the leaf peepers have gone back home to the Twin Cities is not that bad!