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The Common Milkweed is just about done blooming for the season. I have a large patch of it growing in my prairie area on the farm. I’m hoping for a large batch of Monarchs for trip south.

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I have a large number of Gloriosa Daisies growing in the prairie. I’m not sure where they came from but every year I mow them down in the fall and they continue to spread.

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I had been noticing quite a few Monarch Butterflies out in the prairie so I went looking for caterpillars. I found three of them late in the day. They didn’t seem to be moving much and appeared to have found a place to rest for the evening.

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In late June we like to drive up to Bayfield county to view the Wild Lupine. This is not like the Lupine we have around home. Ours is at the most 18″ tall. The Lupine found in Bayfield County is around 4 feet tall. It is found on most the roads in the area but there is a large field of it on the outskirts of Washburn on the road to Bayfield. This year it was particularly prolific, probably because of the wet spring and summer.

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It was a beautiful day so my wife and I decided to take a road trip to northern Wisconsin. Our first stop was Amnicon Falls but I didn’t take any photos because the water levels were so low. We continued on to Morgan Falls.

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When we arrived in the parking lot we found a large number of butterflies and some flowers.

White Admiral

White Admiral

Since it was a bright sunny day I thought it might be difficult to photograph the falls but by the time we reached the falls there were a few clouds in the sky making it a little easier to photograph.

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Morgan is not s particularly spectacular waterfall. It is one of the highest waterfalls in the state but doesn’t fall dramatically it just slides down the side of the hill.

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Conditions were good. Normally I’m eaten alive by mosquitoes but on this day there were relatively few of them. There were also quite a few butterflies around the falls.

When I was looking for photos to use one the summer slideshow on my website I noticed I didn’t have any summer photos from the Minnesota North Shore. So in early summer we headed off for Gooseberry Falls. When we reached Gooseberry I remembered why I didn’t have any photos from the North Shore. Too many people.

Middle Falls

Middle Falls

In spite of the people I was able to get some nice shots of the falls. One of the reasons was the amount of water coming over the falls. Because of all of the rain this summer there was a lot of water flowing in the river.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Typically we drive down to the lake as our first stop. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were no other people around.

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We then drove back to the visitors center where we hiked over to the falls. Normally there would be people climbing all over the falls making it difficult to take photos but because of the high water it wasn’t a problem. There were a couple of places where I had to stand in line to get the iconic shot.

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We were returning from a sunrise shooting at Wisconsin Point when my wife noticed a ship moving under the Blatnick Bridge. A closer look reveled that three ships were on their way out of port.

 

Tim S. Dool

Tim S. Dool

 

We quickly drove down to Canal Park to watch the ships steam out into the lake. Since free parking had ended at Canal Park we drove over the Duluth Lift Bridge and parked on the Park Point side.

American Century

American Century

We didn’t have to wait long and the lift bridge started to rise. It was the start of rush hour and with three ships on their way out at the same time it was going to be a long delay for those commuters trying to get to work. In Duluth the call it “getting bridged”. I assume it is a common excuse when someone is going to be late for work. I think this was the first time I’ve seen three ships go under the bridge during the same lift.

Tug Spartan and Spartan II

Tug Spartan and Spartan II

The last ship to go under the bridge was the Tug/barge Spartan and Spartan II. This tug visits Duluth several times a year. It is unusual because tug/barge combinations are not frequently seen in Duluth.

Tug Spartan and Spartan II

Tug Spartan and Spartan II

Tug Spartan and Spartan II

Tug Spartan and Spartan II

We were driving along one of the dike roads and as we came around a corner I noticed a large animal in the road. It looked like a seal. It turned around and went back into the water. I jumped out and walked over to the edge of the pond and waited. Sure enough it wasn’t long before it poked its head out of the water. Turned out to be a North American River Otter.

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A little while later we were driving along and I noticed a Black Bear poking it head out of the woods. I yelled for my wife to stop and I nearly went into the windshield. I tried to get a photo but the bear moved back into the woods. We slowly drove up to where it came out and we could see it back in the woods. Unfortunately the cover was thick but we could see it was a sow and two cubs. The cubs went up the tree.

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There were a number of Trumpeter Swans with their signets at various locations along the road. This batch was close enough to get some shots.

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At one stop we encountered a couple of birds. The hawk was flying overhead and about the same time a Great Blue Heron flew by.

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On a quick one day visit to Crex Meadows we found a large number of wildflowers blooming.

Blue Flag Iris

Blue Flag Iris

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

Sulphur Cinquefoil

Sulphur Cinquefoil

Lupine

Lupine

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Canada Hawkweed

Canada Hawkweed

 

We have visited Sioux Falls S.D. a number of times but never visited the Sertoma Butterfly House. I had it on my list for this trip. It was a great place to spent a couple of hours photographing butterflies.

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They also have some Button Quail running around. You had to watch your step because they were always underfoot. It turns out they have an important role to play. Apparently they eat the ants who prey on the butterflies.

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