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Category Archives: Canal Park

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



When we arrived back in Duluth after our trip along the North Shore we realized the Duluth Polar Bear Plunge was still taking place in Canal Park so we drove down to watch a bit of it. Canal Park was surreal. It was almost 60 degrees in mid February and the place looked like it does during the height of the summer tourist season. People were walking along the Lakewalk in shorts. There was no ice to be seen on the lake. In a normal year the only area of open water would be withing the area where the participants jump in. The rest of the lake would be frozen. The first photo is from an earlier Polar Bear Plunge.






I was down in Canal Park when a couple of ships arrived and headed into the harbor to dock. As is usually the case in the summer there was a large crowd on hand to welcome the ships to Duluth.

Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

John J. Boland

John J. Boland

John J. Boland

John J. Boland


It has been a difficult summer for sunrises in Duluth. I just haven’t been around when they have been very good. The other day I walked down to Canal Park hopping for a good sunrise but things didn’t look promising.

On the way down I stopped to take this photo of Endion Station. Its an old railroad station that was moved down to Canal Park and is now a restaurant.


The last couple of years people have been attaching their padlocks to these posts. The collection continues to grow.


I took this photo of the Aerial Lift Bridge during the Blue Hour.


I had given up on an interesting sunrise when I noticed there were a few clouds, that looked interesting, in back of the North Breakwater Light.


This is a shot I’ve not taken before. The back lighting on the north pier and lighthouse was interesting,


We stopped to have a late lunch at the New Scenic Cafe. It poured the entire time we were having lunch. As we looked out the window we could see a ship heading for Duluth. After lunch we decided to see if we could catch the ship as it came into Duluth.


When we arrived in Canal Park it was just starting to lighten up. This is a shot to the south where it was still lightening out.

Duluth Minnesota Breakwater Lights 16-5-_5422

We spent most of the time waiting for the ship watching the kids play in the water along the breakwater. I also managed a shot of the Tug Bayfield which sits outside of the Maritime Museum.


The CSL Niagara finally passed under the Aerial Lift Bridge bringing to an end a long day.


Several shots of the Michipicoten arriving in Duluth. The Michipicoten has been a frequent visitor this spring. This was my first opportunity to photograph the Michipicoten.




I had to wait several days before I managed to get a sunrise that could provide the backdrop and light necessary to photograph the ice along the waterfront. It was worth the wait.




Small pieces of ice backlit by the sunrise provided photo opportunities.



Large plates of ice looked like someone had smashed glass along the lakefront.



When we returned to Duluth from the CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race we discovered there had been a major storm that had pushed the ice in Lake Superior up onto the shore and covered everything in ice. These photos were taken several days after the storm.

This is a photo of a post along the Lakewalk. The post was covered in ice. There is a recent tradition of attaching padlocks to the post and they were also covered in ice.












This bench still had a lot of ice on it.



A view of the waterfront from the Lakewalk. At this point the Lakewalk is a good 20 feet above the lake which gives you a good ideas of power of the storm.


When we were in Duluth Looking for the Ivory Gull we encountered a variety of birds in Canal Park.


Great Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Thayers Gull

Thayers Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull



Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Around the end of December a pair of Ivory Gulls were spotted in Duluth, Minnesota creating a major stir among bird watchers. According to the Cornell Lab they only rarely come south of the Bering Sea or the Maritime Provinces. The Ivory Gull is native to the High Arctic and has only been reported in Minnesota about a dozen times in the last 70 years.


One of the Gulls died shortly after arriving in Duluth but the other bird has been spending time in Canal Park. When my wife and I arrived in Duluth we drove down to Canal Park to see if it was still around. I walked around and didn’t see it. When we arrived I noticed a photographer with a big lens walking back to his car. I went over and asked him if the Ivory Gull was around. Turns out I it was around I just didn’t know what I was looking for. It was sitting out on the North Breakwater all by itself. It looks to be the size of a pigeon but with a longer wing span. Birders said this one was probably about a year old. It still had black on its wings and around the face. The adult bird is totally white. Of course I didn’t have my camera along so I assumed I would never get a shot of it.


We came back the next day and there were quite a few bird watchers around. The Gull was still sitting on the North Breakwater. I managed to get a few shots of it. Apparently people have been feeding it salmon fillets and tuna. It was cold enough for ice to form on the lake so photographers were baiting the bird by tossing food onto the ice so they could get a good shot. Everyone was a little concerned that it would eat so much it wouldn’t be able to fly.



We returned on the next morning looking for the Gull. It was the weekend and there was a large crowd on hand with their big lenses and scopes. The bird was perched on the South Breakwater and was out of range of my large lens. We watched for a while then headed over to Amnicon Falls to take some photos.


On our return we were photographing ships at Rice’s Point when we encountered another bird photographer looking for Snowy Owls. He said the Gull had flown right up to him earlier in the morning. We decided to go back to Canal Park and try for some more photos.


When we arrived there was still a large crowd around. I was trying to find the Gull when if flew right up to us. It flew around for a while before landing right in the middle of a group of photographers. One photographer was about four feet from it. I don’t know what kind of shot he got because he has a 600mm lens on .


The bird sat on the North Breakwater among all of the photographers and bird watchers for quite a while. When it went to take off it seemed to be having some problems. I gather they are not very graceful on land with a big body and short legs. At any rate it flew around some more and landed briefly in the water before flying away.



Quite the experience. As one birdwatcher put it this is the rarest bird you will ever see.