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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Several weeks ago I had a chance to make my first visit to the Duluth Rose Garden. Last week on a trip to Duluth I got up early to photograph the sunrise in Canal Park then decided to walk down to the Rose Garden to see if there were any new flowers in bloom. It was a little windy but I was able to get some more great shots of the roses and a few other flowers. It is a popular spot even early in the morning.

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About 20 years ago I planted some wildflowers in a prairie area in front of my house. It was quite a project. I sprayed the entire area with roundup several times over a summer. The next spring I sprayed it again. When I went to plant the wildflowers I found the ground was like cement. It had been a field for years and the soil was mostly clay. I was able to blast some rows in the ground and plant the seeds. I didn’t hold out much hope that they would survive. Much to my surprise they flourished. Unfortunately, over the next few summers they mostly disappeared.

Several years ago I decided to plant fewer vegetables in my garden and try and plant some wildflowers. The first year I used seeds but nothing grew. The second year I used a strip of seeds embedded in a mulch and fertilizer. Again nothing grew and the strip kept blowing away. This year I went back to seeds. This time I ran a soaker hose down the row. I ran the hose for about an hour each day. Finally success. I have some beautiful wildflowers in the garden. These are a few of the first to bloom.

This past week I had an opportunity to spend a few days in Duluth. As luck would have it both days gave the promise of dramatic sunrises so I walked down to Canal Park to photograph them. One of the things I miss living on a farm in the middle of a forest is seeing the sunrises and sunsets. It’s probably why I like to photograph them when I’m visiting an area where I can actually see and photograph them. The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) gave me a good idea of where I needed to be to catch the sunrise photos I was looking for. On one of the days there was fog out in the lake so the sunrise was delayed as it rose through the fog. On the second day the horizon was clear but there was extensive cloud cover. I was able to collect quite a wide range of photos of the North Breakwater Light.

More sunrise photos from Canal Park can be found on my website.

When the Baltimore Orioles arrive in the spring I typically put out grape jelly for them. They love it! Last year I went through a gallon of it in just a couple of weeks. What I have discovered is that Baltimore Orioles aren’t the only ones that like grape jelly. This year I have photographed orioles, House Finches and Red-breasted Grosbeaks all eating grape jelly from my feeder. I even captured a photo of a female grosbeak feeding jelly to a fledgling.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Fledgling

Baltimore Oriole and Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Fledgling

 

House Finch male

Baltimore Oriole fledgling

This past weekend I was in Duluth so the plan was to head home early Monday morning and stop and photograph the sunrise at Wisconsin Point Lighthouse. I had checked The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) and it looked like I had a chance to get a good photo of the sunrise near the lighthouse. I packed everything I could in the car the night before so I could make a quick drive over to the lighthouse. I figured it was about a 30 minute drive. It was actually 35 minutes. I set my phone alarm to wake me up with plenty of time to spare. The only problem was I forgot to press done when I set the alarm. I woke up about an hour before sunrise and had to hustle to make it out to the lighthouse.I made it with about 25 minutes to spare so I decided to start photographing at twilight and continue to capture the lighthouse as the sun rose above the horizon and lighthouse.

 

 One of the late spring early summer flowers that I like to photograph are the Spiderwort. They can be found at most of the locations where I photograph in the summer months. Here are some photos from around the area. The come in a variety of shades of blue. I’ve also found a very few white Spiderwort flowers.

During the last week of spring and the first few weeks of summer quite a few fledglings have shown up around the farm.

In terms of numbers and frequency of visits the Baltimore Orioles have been the most common. It’s hard to tell if it is just one family or several families. When the Orioles first arrived in the spring there were only a few and they only stayed around the feeder for just a couple of days. Now that the young have fledged they are at the feeder constantly. When they first started coming it was a stitch to watch them. The area around the feeder was loaded with humming birds and the fledglings were constantly ducking when a humming bird flew by.

Baltimore Oriole

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks fledglings have also been common around the feeder. They are easily identifiable by the orange on their breast. I’ve see a couple of cases of the adults feeding the fledglings but haven’t been able to get a photo.

Red-breasted Grosbeak

One day I looked out the window and saw this young Grey Catbird sitting in a bush right outside the window. It sat there for about a half an hour looking in the window. I took the screen off of the window so I could get a shot and it didn’t move. The adults were hovering in the background and were a little concerned that I was getting too close.

Grey Catbird

Every year we have some House Finches show up with their fledglings. For about a week the fledglings like to be fed by the parents. There is usually one that continues to try to be fed rather than going to the feeder.

Feeding time

This year, for the first time, I had a fledgling Song Sparrow at the feeder. This is a shot of the adult feeding the fledgling.

Song Sparrows

There has been a Fledgling Red-bellied woodpecker at the feeder. In this shot the adult and the fledgling were both at the feeder. I did get a shot of the adult feeding the fledgling but it was so dark that the photo didn’t turn out.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

Several Downy Woodpeckers brought their fledglings to the suet feeder this summer.

Downy Woodpecker

Tree swallows are a rare sight at the feeder. Earlier in the week I had been out photographing the soon to be fledglings in the nest. A couple of days later this one landed near my bird feeders. It was wild eyed with all of the activity around the feeder. It seem terrified of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds flying around. I can relate because the hummingbirds do make quite the loud noise when flying.

Tree Swallow

I’ve had some Eastern Bluebirds feeding their fledgling on my deck railing but I haven’t been able to get a photo of them. I did get this shot of the fledgling sitting out in the flowers.

Eastern Bluebird

This weekend I spent an afternoon at the the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF)  2012 Junior Canoe Slalom World Championship Wausau, Wisconsin Whitewater Park. Young paddlers from over thirty countries are participating in the event.

The event is taking place at the Wausau Whitewater Park located in downtown Wausau. Normally there is a small stream flowing through the park but during competitions the dam is opened and the water flow is changed from 70 cubic feet per second to 700 cubic feet per second. The result is one of the best  kayaking venues in the Midwest.

There was a large crowd on hand to watch the paddlers attempt to navigate the course. The goal is to make it through the course in the shortest time. The paddler must navigate through the gates in the right direction. The paddler must navigate the green gates going down stream and the red gates going upstream. Making contact with a gate or missing a gate results in penalties.

It was fun to watch the young athletes checking out the course before the race. They were trying to decide the best approach to get through each of the gates. During the races their teammates and friends would run along the course cheering their compatriots on. The most boisterous group was, by far, the German contingent. One fellow that the German flag strapped to his backpack as he ran along the course.

The course runs north and south so in the morning photographers can ply their trade from the viewing stands on the eastern shore. In the afternoon most of the photographers move over to the western shore. Because much of the eastern shoreline was blocked off the closer shots could be had from the western shore.

More photos from the event can be found on my website.

Yesterday I attended the Big Bull Falls Barbeque Ribfest and the Balloon Rally and Glow in Wausau, Wisconsin. This was my first time at the balloon rally in Wausau. There were about a dozen balloons scheduled to be at the event. It is being held at the downtown airport in Wausau just off of business highway 51. The event will be going on through Saturday. In addition balloon rally, there will be a sidewalk art festival on Saturday. The International Canoe Federation’s 2012 Junior Canoe Slalom World Championship is being held this weekend at the Wausau Whitewater Park. Young paddlers from over thirty countries are participating in the event. A really big weekend for Wausau.

I arrived early so I could take in some of the other events being held at the same time. They were giving rides in an old biplane. A father and his young daughter were the first to take a ride. The daughter was all dress out in her aviator goggles and seemed to be excited to get a ride the other daughter seemed a little disappointed.

Biplane Passengers

Taking place at the same time as the balloon rally is The Big Bull Falls Barbeque Ribfest. There were about a half dozen places serving ribs during the evening. There were also rides for kids and a petting zoo.

Chicago BBQ

The main event and the reason I made the visit to Wausau was to attend the  Balloon Rally. I was a little concerned that the wind might be blowing a little too strongly but about 7:30 pm they started getting the balloons ready for launch. Some of the balloons had a large crew to help get the balloon ready while others just had a few. It took about a half an hour to get the balloons laid out and inflated. Here are a few shots from the evening.

Preparing Sea Fantasy

Inflating the Balloons

Balloon Inflation

Last Minute Passenger

Balloon Patterns

Sea Fantasy

Flight

Happy Face

More event photos can be found on my website.

If you are visiting Duluth, Minnesota most likely you are going to end up in Canal Park on your visit. Just about a 20 minute walk down the Lake Walk you will find the Duluth Rose Garden. It is in the center of Leif Erikson Park. This time of year all of the roses are in full bloom. The view of Duluth waterfront is outstanding from the Lake Walk and from the Duluth Rose Garden.

Rose Garden

The Rose Garden contains over 100 varieties of roses and over 3,000 rose bushes. It is a formal rose garden with thousands of plantings, in addition, to the roses. It is also unique because it is constructed over the I-35 highway. As you stroll through the garden you are walking above a busy highway.

Rose Garden

If you are in the area remember to visit the Duluth Rose Garden.