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We’ve had a few nice days recently so I took the opportunity to hike a couple of sections of the Red Cedar State Trail. There were quite a few hikers and bikers taking advantage of the nice weather.Red-Cedar-State-Trail-14-9-_1875

The fall leaves are starting to turn along the trail. The Sumac is in full color right now.Sumac-Red-Cedar-State-Trail-14-9-_1836

I also saw a number of butterflies along the trail. This Eastern Comma posed for me.Eastern-Comma-14-9-_1839

I stopped to take a photo of a Bumble Bee on this Bottle Gentian flower. As I was getting ready to take the photo the flower seemed to eat the bee. As it turns out the Bumble Bee is one of the few insects that can pollinate the Bottle Gentian. It is strong enough to pry the flower open and get inside of the flower.Bottle-Gentian-14-9-_1819

Late summer is probably not the best time to visit Crex Meadows. The summer flowers and butterflies are gone and the Sandhill Cranes have not started their fall migration. My wife and I were a little desperate to get out. We haven’t been able to get out much because of a home remodeling project and the constant rain. The weather was looking good for a couple of days so we decided to drive up to Crex. The Northern Lights were supposed to be out and I hopped to get some star trail shots.

We drove around looking for wildlife but didn’t find a lot to photograph. There were a few Eagles perched out in the marsh but they were quite far away. There were some Pied-billed Grebes and Trumpeter Swans but they were too far away to photograph.

It was a beautiful day in the morning and early afternoon but as sunset came the clouds moved in and there was no sunset or clear skies so we called it a night.

The next morning didn’t start off much better. I had planned to get up early to photograph some star trails but decided it was going to be too cloudy. It turned out to be a good decision. This was as close as we got to a sunrise.

Phantom Lake Sunrise

Phantom Lake Sunrise

Things picked up a little later in the morning when the sun created some really nice light against the clouds and provided a little color on the horizon.

Crex Meadows

Crex Meadows

As we drove around we could hear the Sandhill Cranes off in the marsh. Soon they started to fly out to their feeding grounds. I was lucky enough to catch this family before they headed out. Although there were only about a hundred swans around there will be thousands of them during the fall migration. Check out my blog for additional fall Sandhill Crane photography information.

Sandhill Crane Family

Sandhill Crane Family

On the north side of the refuge we found a family of Trumpeter Swans near the road. We counted at least three cygnets although it was difficult to tell because they were hidden in the weeds.

Trumpeter Swan Family

Trumpeter Swan Family

As we were leaving Crex Meadows I put my camera gear away. Big Mistake! As were driving through Grantsburg near North Oak Street and Memory Lake a mama bear and three cubs ran across the road and down the sidewalk.

I’m not sure why but this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird was standing guard over one on my hummingbird feeders. This was the last week of summer and she was about the only hummingbird around.Ruby-throated-Hummingbird-14-9-_1634

A couple of weeks ago I decided to take a stroll through the prairie on my farm. I had my macro lens on and thought I might be able to get some shots of the insects feeding on the last of the summer flowers. As I approached a large patch of Daisy Fleabane I noticed it was covered with bees so I started taking photographs of them. I then noticed that there was a Monarch Butterfly feeding on the Fleabane. Then I saw another Monarch and soon I noticed there was a half dozen of them. I was afraid I would disturb them trying to photograph them with my macro lens so I went back into the house and switched to my 200-500mm birding lens. I spent several hours in the afternoon photographing the Monarchs. This was the most monarchs I have seen in several years.

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Slack Line walking has become a popular sport at Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum in Duluth’s Canal Park. I had seen a different group walking about a month ago. The fellow in the first photo was quite good. He completed the walk and then returned to the pier walking backwards. In the middle of his return trip he did some aerobatics. The remaining walkers weren’t so good and took a dive into the lake. The walkers seemed to be attracting a large crowd that the arrival of the John G. Munson.Slack-Line-Walking-Uncle-Harvey's-Mausoleum-14-9-_0670

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On a beautiful Saturday we took a walk on the Park Point Beach from the Sky Harbor Airport to the tip of Park Point. These are some of the things we encountered along the way.

Driftwood shelters are a common sight on the beach. Duluth Minnesota is in the background.

Driftwood Shelter

Driftwood Shelter

Driftwood is also found all along the beach. On one walk we found a young couple trying to carry a large root system to their car. I would probably make a great coffee table.

Driftwood

Driftwood

This is a memorial to Luke Voigt. Luke was tragically killed in a freak accident. The family was on a sailboat trip when a violent storm approached. They headed for safety at tip of Park Point. Everyone left the sailboat for shore when large hail started to fall. They then headed back to the sailboat but before they made it a lightening bold hid the water. Seven people were injured and Luke was killed.

Luke Voigt Memorial

Luke Voigt Memorial

Park Point is mainly a sand beach but in many areas there are pebbles along the shore.

Pebbles

Pebbles

More photos from Park Point can be found on my website.

I continue to find insects on the farm.

Red-legged Grasshopper

Red-legged Grasshopper

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Dusky Stink Bug

Dusky Stink Bug

This is the first time I’ve seen the John G. Munson since early spring when it was one of the first boats to leave Duluth. We watched for about six hours as the tug boats attempted to free it from the icy grip of winter. It was in sharp contrast to a beautiful late summer day when it sailed into Duluth.

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John-G.-Munson-14-9-_0681

John-G.-Munson-14-9-_0690

While taking a walk along Park Point Beach in Duluth we encountered this dog and his stick. We watched as a couple and their dog walked along the beach. The dog owner was throwing this long stick out into the lake and the dog was excited to retrieve it. The stick was so long that the dog had a little trouble bringing it to shore because the end of the stick was causing him to move in circles. Never-the-less he was one happy dog.

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This time of year I’m finding a lot of insects as I walk around the farm.

Garden Spider

Garden Spider

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Red Milkweed Beetle

Red Milkweed Beetle

 

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