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A few weeks ago we made a spontaneous decision to take a vacation to the desert southwest. On our first day we made it well into Nebraska. As we approached our destination the Sandhill Cranes were gathering for there evening flight to the Platte River. The sky was filled with thousands of them. The next day we drove on to Denver where we decided to hold up for a day because of a snowstorm in the mountains west of Denver. It also gave us a chance to visit with a cousin we had not see in 30 years. The following morning we were up early to beat the rush of skiers heading for the mountains. There were no problems and the roads were good.

We left I-70 and picked up Utah 128 which follows the Colorado River into Moab, Utah which was our fist destination. It was a beautiful drive on a beautiful day.

There were some very interesting clouds in the sky. I suspect they were the result of con trails but I’m not sure.

Spring is the time I like to drive over to Gilbert Creek Wildlife Area to view the birds. We had driven past last week and noticed that there were already a number of Sandhill Cranes in the area. I drove down just after sunrise and didn’t see much to photograph. Later in the morning we were in the area so we drove over to see if things had improved. Just as we arrived my wife noticed a couple of Sandhill Cranes calling. There was another pair in the wetlands but we couldn’t see them.

There were quite a few Red-winged Blackbirds around but we didn’t see any females.

Lots of Canada Geese in the pond.

There were also quite a few ducks around including  this pair that seemed to be staking out a nesting place. There were also a number of Wood Ducks around but they were a little skittish so no photos.

When things get a little dull I like to take photos of just about anything. This is last years Cattail.

We were out for a walk on this beautiful spring day and noticed a large number of flowers on the Red Cedar Trail.

Marsh Marigolds

Bloodroot

Common Blue Violet

Spring Beauty

As we were returning home one day my wife noticed a Bald Eagle on a deer carcass along the road. We turned around and went back hoping to get a photo. Unfortunately another car came along and the Eagle took off. I did manage to get a photo of it sitting on a dead tree along the road and a second photo when it flew up into a pine tree.

 

I’ve heard about people surfing in the winter in Duluth but had never seen it. As we were driving past Brighton Beach as we entered Duluth there was a big crowd along the beach with surfers in the water. There were also a couple of folks with Kayaks in the water. It was really cold with a 25 mph wind blowing and the temperatures hoovering just above freezing. I had a difficult time holding the camera steady because I was shivering so badly. I can just imagine how much fun it was being out in the lake. I only saw a couple of the surfers catch a wave and the ride was really short.

As we finished hiking the Split Rock River Loop Trail we could see some big waves down by the lake. We drove down for a closer look and did find some big waves crashing into the shore.

It was cold and Dreary this weekend in Duluth. I decided to walk down to Canal Park and see if anything was going on. Not much happening. I was a little surprised at the number of people wandering around given how cold and dreary it was. The shipping season was just getting underway and there wasn’t much activity.

Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum

Duluth Harbor Lighthouses

Padlocks

 

The photo shown below was used by Travel Wisconsin for an article on the Apostle Islands Ice Caves.

I haven’t seen my Pileated Woodpecker around much lately but yesterday he turned up in the morning but flew quickly when he saw me. Later in the afternoon he returned and I managed to get some pictures of him.

 

 

Our pet Sharp-skinned Hawk has been absent for a while but last week he returned and spent quite some time flying around my bird feeders before flying at an arborvitae and flushing some birds. I don’t know if the caught any but he did flush a female Northern Cardinal who flew into a window in her panic to escape. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a hawk land on three different perches on a single visit.