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Monthly Archives: December 2015

This was the first time in two years we have had enough snow to ski on the Red Cedar Trail. It was such a beautiful day that we skied nine mile which turned out to be a bit much for our first time out.

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Red Cedar Trail Bridge

Red Cedar Trail Bridge

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Christmas morning I took a walk through the woods after a fresh wet snowfall.

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Yes we had had snow although the grass is very green as we approach Christmas. It has been a strange year. We have had some beautiful snow falling several times this winter. On a couple of occasions it has been very large flakes. I love to photograph birds when it snows out. It can be a little tricky because I’m usually working with very low light conditions. It sometimes takes a lot of shots to get a keeper.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

As I mentioned in an earlier blog I have Tufted Titmice at my feeders for the first time. I’ve seen them when hiking along the Red Cedar River but never on the farm. There appeared to be a pair of them but as fall progressed I’ve seen as many as six at one time. It was almost a month after the first sighting that I was able to capture a photo of one.

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In November the gates are closed to the North and South Breakwaters at the Duluth Harbor entrance. This was one of the last chances I had to photograph from the South Breakwater Light before it was closed for the winter.

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

Duluth Waterfront and North Breakwater Light

Duluth Waterfront and North Breakwater Light

The day after watching the lighting of the light at Split Rock Lighthouse we drove up to Gooseberry State Park for some hiking. It was deer hunting season in Minnesota so we were limited in where we could hike. We took the loop around the waterfalls and then out along the lake where hunting was not allowed.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Middle Falls

Middle Falls

We find all kinds of wildlife wandering around the farm. We had a group of Four White-tailed Deer hanging around. They were out in front of the house eating what remained of our Black-eyed Susan’s on this particular day.

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We have had Wild Turkeys around in large numbers ever since the DNR reintroduced them to the state. This group of about 20 birds was walking across the front lawn. They were likely headed for the neighbors cornfield.

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There are the ever present birds at my feeders. The Hairy Woodpecker is a year around visitor to the feeders.

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We drove up to Split Rock Lighthouse for the 40th anniversary celebration of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Every year the lighthouse holds a program and then at sunset turns on the light. We arrived about two hours before sunset and were lucky to get the last parking spot in the most distant parking lot.

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We spent the first hour walking along the shore toward the Lighthouse. The late afternoon light was beautiful on the cliffs below the lighthouse. As the evening wore on more clouds came in making for a beautiful sunset.

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We stood on the beach for the last hour waiting for the light to be turned on. There were quite a few other photographers around. Fortunately it was an unseasonably warm night for the event.

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This fall I had a group of Pine Siskins at my bird feeders. They were only around for about a week then they seem to disappear. Recently I started to see the occasional Siskin at my feeders.

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On a recent trip up the North Shore to Split Rock Lighthouse we stopped in Two Harbors to see if there were any ships in the harbor. As it turned out the Tug Donald L. Billmaier and Crane Barge Howard J. Schwartz were just coming into the harbor. The Billmaier is an Army Corps Of Engineers tug. It along with a smaller tug were bringing the crane barge and several barges loaded with rocks to Two Harbors. It looked like they were going to be repairing the breakwater. We watch for a while then continued on to Split Rock.

Tug Donald L. Billmaier and Crane Barge Howard J. Schwartz

Tug Donald L. Billmaier and Crane Barge Howard J. Schwartz

Tug Donald L -Billmaier

Tug Donald L -Billmaier

Tug- Hammond Bay and Tug-Donald L. Billmaier

Tug Hammond Bay and Tug Donald L. Billmaier

The next day we returned to Two Harbors hoping to see the Howard J. Schwartz in action. Unfortunately the crane and the two tugs were docked in the inner harbor. However, there were two ships loading taconite. We watched for a while before heading to Gooseberry Falls for some hiking.

Tugs-Donald-L. Billmaier and Hammond Bay with Crane Barge Howard J. Schwartz

Tugs-Donald-L. Billmaier and Hammond Bay with Crane Barge Howard J. Schwartz

Spruceglen and Philip R. Clarke

Spruceglen and Philip R. Clarke

When we returned later in the day we found the Philip R. Clarke just pulling away from the loading docks before heading out on its Journey through the locks and down to Gary, Indiana.

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Philip R. Clarke