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Monthly Archives: January 2015

The weather was nice so we decided to take another road trip along the Mississippi River looking for birds. The main goal was to find Bald Eagles but Trumpeter Swans and ducks were also fair game. Our first stop was Wabasha but we didn’t see any. We can usually find them in the trees on the east side of the river but there wasn’t a single bird.

Our next stop was Reads Landing. We spotted six Bald Eagles all flying. On pair was performing  synchronized acrobatics. We watched them for quite a while. Unfortunately they were too far away for photographs. This is the first time we haven’t seen any Trumpeter Swans in the area. This is a photo from last year.

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We headed for Red Wing and Colvill Park. Unfortunately we only found a single eagle sitting in a tree. He looked a little disheveled.

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So far things hadn’t gone all that well so we decided to drive up to Miesville, Minnesota and try and find Kings Bar and Grill. A friend said they had great burgers. It would have made things easier if I remembered the name of the town or the name of the restaurant. All I could remember was that the name of the town started with M and the restaurant might be Kings and it was on highway 61 north of Red Wing .

Fortunately we found the place. It was mid afternoon on a Sunday and the place was packed. Luckily we found a table. The service was fast but it took a while to decide on a burger because there were so many choices. Once we ordered we had our meal in a short time. The burgers were great making up for a lousy day of bird watching. Would highly recommend Kings Bar and Grill. We have added it to our places to stop when we are in the area.

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We were in Hudson, Wisconsin on business and decided to stop and check on the Trumpeter Swan population. It was late in the day. When we left home is was cloudy but by the time we reached Hudson the sun was out and it was a beautiful, relatively warm late afternoon.

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When we arrived we were the only ones there. Before long a crowd had gathered. Apparently the swans fly off late in the afternoon and folks wanted to watch the evening flight out. Trumpeter-Swans-Hudson-Wisconsin-15-1-_2891

There were also several people feeding the swans. Everyone was lined up to get some food.

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I started talking with another photographer who was working with a long lens and tripod. Turned out to be Art Juchno who I had worked with at Stout. I didn’t recognize him all bundled up in his winter gear but he recognized me. I’m not sure what that says about my sartorial efforts.

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I spent about an hour watching the birds. There were a lot of ducks and geese but only about fifty swans. Last time I was photographing there were over three hundred. Apparently colder weather brings them into the area.

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More Trumpeter Swan photos can be found on my website.

As we were leaving Duluth I notice on my Marine Tracker that the Indiana Harbor going to come through Wisconsin Point on its way to winter Layup. It was one of the last ships to enter the harbor during the 2014-15 shipping season and the last one to come through the Wisconsin Entry.

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Ironically I was at Wisconsin Point to see the first ship of the season enter the harbor through the Wisconsin Entry. That was the Coast Guard Cutter Alder shown here as it returned from its first ice breaking run. We were on our way back to Duluth from a visit to the Apostle Islands Ice Caves when we noticed the Alder was returning to Superior.

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

It was a really gloomy day when the Indiana Harbor came through the entry. It rained as we drove out to Wisconsin Point. Fortunately it quit while we were waiting for the Indiana Harbor to arrive. I suspect the crew was happy to be done for what turned out to be a long season fighting the ice.

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As usual there were quite a few boat nerds out taking photos of the ship as it came in. I’m on a first name basis with some of them since I see them frequently when I’m out photographing around Duluth/Superior.

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The great lakes shipping season will start again in late March.

After returning from our hike to High Falls we decide to walk out to Shovel Point. There was a little ice along the shore but nothing like it was several years ago after a March storm.

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Shovel Point

Shovel Point

On our return hike we found this little fellow along the trail working on a pine cone. He wasn’t about to give it up and allowed me to walk right up to him before he finally ran off.

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There were some nice views out on the lake as the sun attempted to break through the snow clouds.

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More photos from our hike can be found on my website.

We stopped in Duluth overnight after our ski trip and intended to drive home the next morning. When we woke up we decided that it might be fun to drive up to Tettegouche State Park to do some hiking. The Minnesota North Shore has almost no snow so we didn’t need our snowshoes which we forgot at home.

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As we were getting ready to leave for the day we noticed that it was snowing quite hard. This hadn’t been in the forecast and when we looked at the radar on our phone it look like a small band of snow extended from Duluth all the way north of Tettegouche.

We kept driving and reached Tettegoushe at mid morning. We decided to take the hike along the north side of the Baptism River to the High Falls. Although there wasn’t much snow we decided to use our ice cleats because the trail was icy in spots.

It continued to snow off and on during our trip to the falls. Our first stop was Two Step Falls. This was not very impressive since it was iced over and covered with some snow.

Our next stop was High Falls. This was very impressive with a lot of definition and color in the ice.

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The river was frozen so we were able to walk up to the bottom of the Falls.

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We noticed a couple of flags that someone had planted at the top of the falls. I forgot to ask the ranger if someone was ice climbing at the falls and planted the flags.

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The fresh snowfall left some nice patterns on the ice and the rocks surrounding the falls. This trip was well worth the walk.

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More photos from our hike can be found on my website.

This concludes my three blog coverage of Bond falls. Winter waterfall photography often lends itself to black and white photography because of the stark colors.

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

Waterfalls offer a great opportunity to take some intimate close-up photos. Folks generally feel they need to take the wide angle shots showing the full waterfall but intimate photos can also be quite spectacular.

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

As those of you who follow this blog know, one of my favorite winter destinations is Bond Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. a couple of weeks ago my wife and I were in Ironwood, Michigan cross country skiing. The following morning we decided to drive over to Bond Falls. This was after a very cold spell. The highway department had plowed the roads but they were snow packed and slippery. It was like driving on a washboard.

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When we arrived at Bond Falls we knew it was going to be something special. The cold weather had created a lot of ice and there had been a fresh snowfall. We were the first visitors since the snowfall.

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This is a view of the steps that go from the top of the falls to the bottom. In the winter it is impossible to navigate the steps because of the ice. Fortunately we are always prepared and had our ice cleats along.

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As we walked along the west side of the middle branch of the Ontonagon River the views just kept getting more spectacular.

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We returned to the car by walking along the east side of the river. The trail is not as good on this side and the views are not as good but it was still beautiful.

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

A friend mentioned that there was a Northern Hawk Owl hanging out in a neighborhood on the south side of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. A non-birder first saw it and took a photos. A birder identified it as a Northern Hawk Owl. They are rarely seen in this area.Northern-Hawk-Owl-15-1-_2831

My wife and I were in Eau Claire on business earlier in the week. When we finished we headed down to the neighborhood where the Hawk Owl had been spotted. We weren’t optimistic that we would find it unless there were birders around or it was being harassed by crows.

We drove around all of the roads and couldn’t find him. As were leaving a bird flew in front of the car and landed in a pine tree. It was Lars, so named by the locals because he was hanging around Lars Road. I grabbed the camera and managed to get one shot before he few off.

With not enough snow for cross country skiing we decided to drive over to the Bjornson Education-Recreation Center for a hike on a cold day. Bjornson has a number of spring fed streams flowing through it. Watercress usually can be found growing on the streams. If it is cold out the watercress will be covered with frost flowers.

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It was a dull day with not a lot to photograph but there were a few weeds sticking up out of the snow that made for an interesting pattern.

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Further along on the trail we crossed a bridge covered in snow.

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