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Category Archives: Clearwing Hummingbird moth

I was taking a last look at my 2011 photos before sending them off to storage and decided to write a brief review of the years photographic experiences.

January

Things started off with a bang with an early winter blizzard. Not only did January bring lots of snow locally but it created some fantastic ski conditions in the upper Midwest. We made a number of ski trips to the U.P. of Michigan. Our favorite ski location was Swedetown. This is a shot taken on the Backcountry Trail. Unfortunately the log was removed because the groomer could no longer get  the groomer under it with all of the snow.

Swedetown Backcountry Trail

 February

February was highlighted by a trip to the Apostle Islands Dog Sled Races in Bayfield, Wisconsin. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a bunch of excited dogs as I did in the morning before the race started. The whole parking area was a scene of bedlam. Things were much different in the afternoon when they returned from a day of racing. There wasn’t a sound to be heard from the dogs. Their tongues were hanging out and all they wanted to do was eat and lay down. It’s a trip will worth taking for the family because you can get so close to the dogs.

Off and Racing

March

In late March we were planning one last trip to Lake Superior. Unfortunately nature had one last blizzard in store for us and were snowed in for a couple of days before the township was able to get all of the roads plowed. This was a massive storm that was supposed to hit the Duluth area with lots of snow. The weather pattern changed at the last minute and the snow dropped down into our area. When we did make the trip north we found almost no snow in the Duluth area. We had hoped to find some ice along Lake Superior but there was almost none to be found. When we stopped at Tettegouche State Park we asked the  ranger if there was any ice around. That started a surreal day of hiking through great fields of ice formations. The saga was documented in an earlier postfrom that day. The storm that brought us snow brought a strong Northeaster to the North Shore and created fantastic ice sculptures.

Tettegouche State Park

 April

April brought another trip to the Minnesota North Shore. Amazingly most of the ice was gone and the spring snow melt was under way. This is a shot of the Cascades in Cascade Falls State Park.

The Cascades

 May

The highlight of May was a visit to my bird feeder of a pair of Scarlet Tanagers. I have rarely seen Tanagers and had never gotten photos of them. The male showed up one day and as soon as I saw what it was I raced for a camera. I photographed the male and then the next day the female turned up at the feeder. They were both feeding on suet. By the third day they were gone.

Scarlet Tanager male

 June

In June I made another trip to the Minnesota North Shore. Driving south from Grand Marais I noticed the fog moving in and out around Bluefin Bay. I stopped at a gas station for some coffee and then drove back to watch the fog in the early morning light.

Bluefin Bay

 July

I July I spend most of my time photographing insects and flowers. I happened to catch this Honey Bee on a Milkweed plant that was just starting to bloom.

Honey Bee

 August

August brought an invasion of Clearwing Hummingbird Moths. I had seen them along the Red Cedar River several years ago but had never seen them on my farm or at Hoffman Hills. This year they were everywhere so I spend a considerable effort to try and photograph them. I suspect I will never see as many again.

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

 September

In early September my wife and I made a trip through the U.P. of Michigan. We had planned on spending an night in Seney so we could photograph the sunset at Seney Wildlife Area. Through a stroke of luck I managed to capture my favorite photo of the year. We had not seen clouds during the day but as evening approached clouds formed in the western sky. We were late in arriving at Seney and sunset was already well underway. In addition, there were some contrails in the sky. I wasn’t happy to see them but continued to photograph the sunset. As the evening progressed th clouds and contrails combined to create an image of an eagle in sky making for a memorable photo.

Seney Sunset

 October

One of the benefits of living in the upper Midwest is the fall color displays. I had to work hard to capture them this year because just as the fall color season was starting strong winds also started blowing. They continued throughout the fall and took the leaves down almost as soon as they peaked. This photo was taken in Rusk County in northern Wisconsin.

Rusk County

 November

In November I usually make my way to Crex Meadows near Grantsburg, Wisconsin to photograph the fall Sandhill Crane migration. In November there can be as many as 14,000 Sandhill Cranes residing in Crex. On this particular day I had intended to drive out to where the cranes were roosting and not bother to stop for sunrise shots at Phantom Lake. As I drove past Phantom Lake I realized that there was going to be a spectacular sunrise. This was my favorite fall shot taken shortly after the sun came up.

Phantom Lake Sunrise

 December

December was one of the slowest photography months I’ve had. We had virtually no snow until a 6 inch wet snowfall the first week in December. My wife and I quickly drove down to the Red Cedar Trail to take advantage of the fresh snow. Fortunately we did because it quickly melted and Christmas looked more like Thanksgiving with brown grass and no snow. This is the bridge over the Red Cedar River.

Red Cedar Trail Bridge

As I’ve noted in some earlier posts this has been an amazing summer for Clearwing Hummingbird Moths. I’ve only seen them a few times in previous years but this year I’m finding them in all of my favorite local haunts. Last week at Hoffman Hills Recreation Area I had three of them in view at one time. They are feeding on the Wild Bergamot which was blooming in large numbers. I’ve also had them feeding at my Wild Bergamot patches on the farm.

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

During the past few weeks I’ve seen an amazing number of butterflies in my small prairie. Normally this time of year I’ll see a few but butterflies but every day for the past several weeks I’ve been seeing large numbers of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Giant Swallowtails and Red-spotted Purple Admirals. The first batch of summer Monarchs hatched a few weeks ago and they have been very active in large numbers around the farm.

I’ve also been seeing a few Black Swallowtails, Fritillaries, Little Wood-Satyrs,  Northern-Pearly-eyes, Silver-spotted Skippers and Black Swallowtails.

Normally it is difficult to get photos of them this time of year but that hasn’t been a problem this year. Almost all of the butterflies are feeding on the Wild Bergamot that abounds on the farm.

In addition to the large number of butterflies I’ve been seeing a large number of Clearwing Hummingbird Moths around the farm. I’ve been photographing in the same area for six years now and this is the first year I’ve seen Hummingbird Moths.

You can find more butterfly photos on my website.

Giant Swallowtail

Monarch Butterfly

Eastern tiger Swallowtail

Red-spotted Purple

Northern Pearly-eye

Silver-spotted Skipper

Little Wood Satyr

Fritillary

Black Swallowtail

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

The midseason summer wildflowers are in full bloom at Hoffman Hills Recreation Area. There are probably 25-30 different wildflowers currently blooming in the prairie. There are also an unusual number of butterflies enjoying the wildflowers.  For the first time I’m also seeing large numbers of Clearwing Hummingbird moths flying about the prairie. If you haven’t been to Hoffman Hills recently you should make the trips. The wildflower display is the best I’ve seen in years.

You can enjoy more photos from Hoffman Hills on my website.

Wildflowers

Coneflower

Monarch Butterfly

Black Swallowtail

Clearwing Hummingbird moth