Tag Archives: McQuade Harbor

Birding by Bicycle: Horned Lark!

Yesterday I added a new trusty mount to my herd, a mountain bike. This new bicycle will not often be used for trail riding. Instead I plan on biking the numerous remote wilderness logging roads found throughout northeastern Minnesota. Although I can reach all of these areas via my Subaru Outback and then hike, the bike allows me to quietly cover much more territory while getting some nice exercise.

This is my second bike which may now equipped for bicycle birding. My road touring bike, aside from taking me all over North America with Molly on self-supported bike tours, doubles as a birding road bicycle.

My biking kit is pretty basic but includes:

  • front handlebar bag capable my Canon SX-60 super zoom bridge camera
  • tire change kit
  • phone and wallet
  • light cycling jacket

In addition, I always have my monopod attached to the bike. When you are in the middle of a 20 mile ride, upon getting off one’s bicycle because of heavy breathing (remember, this is exercise) it is hard to hold a “zoomed camera” very steady. Try giving birding by bicycle a try! (see prior post with a similar them … shows closeup of my equipment)

The Horned Lark I photographed this morning

Birding Bicycle #1: Mountain Bike used for riding dirt logging roads. I also used this bike to explore some remote lakes. Six hours later I would return by car to photograph the Northern Lights display! (good to see areas in the daytime first)

Birding Bicycle #2: Touring Bike used for riding paved roads

Northern Birds … in the Rain!

The weather the past two days has been ugly with over an inch of rain, but the birds flying south from Canada including the Arctic regions do not seem to care. Yesterday there was a bug hatch taking place at McQuade Harbor, and flocks of combined Palm Warblers, American Pipits and Horned Larks enjoyed dinner at the harbor. My freindly neighborhood snow goose continues to hang out in the same area.

Today’s weather was even worse than yesterday. I made a drive over to the Old Stella Jones Pier, where I found a flock of over 600 horned larks, a small flock of American Golden Plovers (14 birds), and a few Kestrels. Photography was difficult due to the mist and fog.

Tomorrow the sun is supposed to return. I am looking forward to getting out in the forest and enjoying the colors.

Snow Goose in the Rain

Horned Larks

Palm Warbler

Northern Birds … Arriving Now!

The final migration wave of birds from northern Canada are starting to reach Minnesota. During today’s dawn bicycle ride up the shore of Lake Superior I saw both a Snow Goose, and Pipits. Both birds are always late migrants into our area.

Yesterday Molly and I took a final boat ride on NorthStar Lake. This gem of a lake, where we have a small cabin, is 100 miles NW of Duluth. The Common Loons are now in their winter plumage and should head south any day now. The Bald Eagles appear to have kicked their youngster out of the nest. Winter will be hear soon in the North Country.

My Trusty Steed … this morning’s bike ride

A Snow Goose makes a rare visit to our area

Your type is not desired here!

A fall plumage Common Loon

This Bald Eagle couple have kicked their youngster out of the nest!

A Black Bellied Plover … still in breeding plumage (video taken two weeks ago)

Reach Out and Grab Some Color!

Man has it been dreary recently in northern Minnesota. The skies are forever cloudy, and most of the birds that I’ve seen have been black and white (or brown). Arrgh! I needed a color fix which thankfully a local cardinal provided when I got home this morning!

Seriously, I should probably work the North Shore of Lake Superior harder, but I’m not interested in making the drive up to Grand Marais and back. Jim Lind and John Richardson are reporting some cool ducks at various river mouths and harbors between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. I suggest watching for their names via eBird (Lake and Cook Counties)

Color! Red: Cardinal in my yard next to Amity Creek

Black & White Bird #1: Goldeneye at McQuade Harbor

Black & White Bird #2: Bald Eagle “grabbing some color” inland from Two Harbors