Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hiking and Birding in the Boundary Waters, Minnesota

Lake Superior as seen from the top of Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota; 8/9/2011.
I took a short trip up to Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters area in Northern Minnesota for a short break before the school year commences. I love Lake Superior - it is my favorite Great Lake, and it is always cool to explore the region. So we booked three days at the Lutsen Ski Resort and used that as our headquarters to start our explorations.  As a secondary plus, I thought that I might get lucky and add to my Life List of birds in three categories: Shore birds, Raptors, and Warblers. 
Upper Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota; 8/9/2011.
Instead of making the 9+ hour drive in one shot, we spent the night in Rice Lake, WI, to break up the drive. In the few hours we were in Rice Lake, we went out to one of the nearby parks to check out a hiking trail along a lake: We were there for only minutes and we already heard a Common Loon yodelling in the distance. I spotted him on the far side of the lake (too far for a good picture in the evening light). Other water fowl were the typical Canada Geese and Mallards and lots of Tree Swallows skimming the water surface for their meals of hundreds of insects. Other notable birds were Crows, Cedar Waxwings and a Flycatcer that I couldn't quite identify, but I suspect was an Eastern Phoebe.

A Remote-Controlled airplane doing its tricks, Rice lake, WI; 8/8/2011.
But it was another flying object that took center stage from the birds. While we were hiking along this lake, I heard a buzzing in the distance that would vasilate between being close then far away. Out of the corner of my I caught a glimpse of a good-sized flying object. I finally put two and two together and realized that someone was flying a remote-controlled airplane (Above) over our heads. The owner was doing some tricks with his plane - dives, loops, etc. After a few minute of watching the plane swoop, dip and roll, I turned my attention to the potentially dramatic developing sunset. After taking a few pics of the sunset (Bottom of the page), I heard the RC-plane buzz over my head, move off into the distance, then a "crunch" and the buzzing stopped. I turned and saw the poor RC-plane crashed into a row of trees (Below) and the owner swearing up a storm running across the field toward the accident site.

The remote-controlled airplane no longer airborn. The owner was very sad as he climbed the tree to claim his property.
Below are some of the birds that I captured with digital film on our various stops as we travelled through Northern Wisconsin, and the Superior Coast in Minnesota on our way to the Lutsen Ski Resort:

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Superior, WI; 8/8/2011.
A juvenile Ring-billed Gull, Duluth, MN; 8/9/2011.
Ring-billed Gull, Duluth, MN; 8/9/2011.

Lincoln Sparrow, Two Harbors, MN; 8/9/2011.

Savannah Sparrow, Sparrow, Two Harbors, MN; 8/9/2011.
Song Sparrow, Sparrow, Two Harbors, MN; 8/9/2011.
Sunset of the Day

Sunset in Rice Lake, Wisconsin (used a wide angle lens); 8/8/2011.

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