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Tag Archives: nature

There was still a bit of ice in the shipping canal. The week before so much ice had blown in from out in the lake that nine ships were anchored outside the harbor entrance waiting to get in. The ice breaker had to be called to open up the shipping canal.

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We happened to be in Canal Park when the Mesabi Miner came into port and left port. The ship’s captain gave out a call to those watching to enjoy the beautiful day. It was a rare April day in Duluth. The same crew member was on the bow waving to the crowd on both days.

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There had been a full moon a couple of days before. The moon was just setting over the Duluth Lift Bridge in the early morning.

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There was a ship anchored outside the harbor. At sunrise the pilot boat headed out to the ship. I was able to get a photo of it a little later in the morning when it returned to the harbor.

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This was taken the end of April. Duluth had received more snow in April than in any month in history. There was one blizzard after another. This was one of the first nice days in all of April. I doubt too many folks in Florida would be on the beach with snow still around.

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Fishing season was open. The North Breakwater was closed but the South Breakwater was open so the fisherman could get out for the opening of the season. No one was having any luck and shortly after the photo was taken most of them gave up.

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There have been a large number of Yellow-rumped Warblers around this spring and they have been around for almost three weeks. Most of them have been along the Red Cedar State Trail and the Red Cedar River. There was quite a bit of snow still on the ground when they arrived. I’ve also seen a few of them around the farm which is very unusual. I suspect they are around in large numbers because of the heavy snowfall to the north and they ended up stopping in this area until the snow stopped falling to the north.

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One of my favorite photography subjects in the spring is Water Tension. I normally find nice water tension shots along the Red Cedar Trail during the spring melt. Conditions have to be just right to get nice water tension shots. I typically like an overcast day and the water levels have to be just right so the grasses and reads are floating on the surface of the water.

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Unfortunately the water tension season was cut short this year because the May 2nd blizzard caused considerable damage along the trail and the trail has been closed for the last couple of weeks.

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On our way home from last weeks visit to the Minnesota North Shore we stopped at Amnicon Falls State Park to see if the spring melt was underway. It was and the water was as high as I’ve seen it. There was still quite a bit of snow and considerable evidence of the heavy wet snow that broke branches from the pine trees. The trail around the falls area still had slushy snow and ice on it so we wore our ice cleats. There was almost too much water in the river to get really interesting shots. We were also there mid morning which is a bad time on a beautifully sunny day because you are looking right into the sun.

Now and Then Falls

Now and Then Falls

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May started off with a bang. I started snowing on the evening of May 1st, continued all day on May 2nd and finally ended mid day on the 3rd of May. Well over a foot of heavy wet snow. It was difficult photographing birds because of the heavy snowfall and the wet snow hitting the windows but I managed to capture a few of the spring birds at the feeding stations.

I had a lot of White-throated Sparrows around during the storm. I’ve had a few of them around in the past but never this many.

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The Northern Cardinals are still around although only a couple of pairs of them. Nothing like the dozen or so I had this winter. They really looked miserable during the storm.

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The Dark-eyed Juncos were all gone after a week of 70 and 80 degree weather but a few of them returned after the storm.

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The Song Sparrows have been around for several weeks and I suspect they will again be nesting in the bushes near the house. I think any thoughts of nesting have been delayed a bit because of the storm.

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House Sparrows are rarely seen around the farm. I’m not sure why. I see them around town a lot but not on the farm. This one turned up during the storm.

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There were a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches at the feeder during the storm but I was not able to get a photo of them together.

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I’ve had good number of House Finches around the feeder in the past couple of weeks and they turned up during the storm.

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The last time I saw the American Goldfinches they were molting. They were not around much during the warm weather but turned up, in small numbers, during the storm. It looks like molting has been completed.

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I’m not sure what this bird is. It turned up at the feeder during the height of the storm but I haven’t figured out what it is.

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There were a variety of other birds around but I wasn’t able to get any Photos.

On a beautiful spring day my wife and I decided to take an early morning walk along the Park Point Beach. The beach is about seven and a half miles long and when combined with the Wisconsin Point beach comprises the longest freshwater sandbar in the world.Park-Point-Beach-13-4-_2224

It wasn’t surprising that there were quite a few people out walking. Duluth had just gone through the snowiest April on Record and this was one of the first nice days of spring. There were hikers, dog walkers and joggers on the beach as well as families with kids playing in the sand. Fog was rolling in off of the ice on the lake.

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As we walked along we noticed several small planes flying out of Sky Harbor Airport. Apparently they were involved in flying lessons since they would fly to the Airport and touchdown and then fly off again.

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There was considerable ice just off of the beach. This had been pushed in when a violent storm hit the week before. Winds were gusting at over 50 miles per hour and ice that was out in the lake was pushed into the beach. This kayaker was taking advantage of the ice to get some great photos. The Blue Heron is in the background.

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There were geese out on the lake but these two were walking along the ice next to the beach.

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All along the beach people have erected structures with the driftwood from the beach. This one was a little more elaborate that most.

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It’s been a long winter for the White-tailed Deer. We had 18 inches of snow in the middle of December followed by rain and ice so it was difficult for them to dig for food. Things didn’t get any better this spring where it has snowed almost every day since the first day of spring.

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My wife retired the first of April and decided it was time to start enjoying one of her hobbies baking. In checking our flower stock she discovered that most of it was bad so she gave it to me to discard. I decided the deer might eat it so I took it out to the garden and dumped it a big pile.

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A couple of days later one of the deer wandered through the garden and started eating it. It didn’t make much of a dent in it and I thought they didn’t like it. The next evening it snowed about six inches. The next day the deer was back and made short work of the flower.

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The first of the spring birds turned up at my feeder on April 11. It wasn’t the best of days to return because it was the first of several days of an April snowstorm that dumped considerable snow over the area. The Song Sparrow didn’t seem to mind the snow and spent time at my black sunflower feeder and homemade suet feeder.

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A number of House Finches turned up at my feeders this past week. I was able to get a number of photos. One bird seemed to have House Finch eye disease. One of its eyes was swollen shut. It seemed to be getting along ok but I suspect its life expectancy is not going to be long. I’ve been watching to see if there are any other infected birds it there are I’ll need to take down my feeders and clean them.

House Finch Eye Disease

House Finch Eye Disease

House Finch Eye Disease

House Finch Eye Disease

When we woke up this morning is was snowing out. The fifth straight day of snow. On the other hand it could have been rain. Since it was snow we decided to head down to the Red Cedar State Trail to do some hiking. By the time we reached the trail it was really snowing hard.

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I was surprised at how much bird activity there was along the trail. Normally this time of year the birds are singing but today not a peep. There were a lot Eastern Phoebes and American Robins along the trail. One of our goals was to see if the Bald Eagles were nesting at the 1.5 mile mark. Both of them were sitting next to the nest but not on the nest. There were a few ducks on the Red Cedar River. There were several other birds that I didn’t recognize which were migrating through. At one point an American Kestrel landed near us then few off. A short time later it landed on a Eastern Phoebe and drug it off of the trail.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

There were lots of leaves on the trail most of them had worked their way into the snow and were now covered with fresh snow.

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By the time we returned from the hike we were covered with heavy wet snow. I look a little miserable but in reality it was a great day to be out hiking although, to be honest, it felt like hiking in the first big snowfall of the season.

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