September 30th marks an important lunar event. A Black Moon will occur in the early morning hours. A Black Moon means that there was a new moon twice in one month.
Many birds molt in the summer after their breeding season is over. New feathers grow in and it helps them when they migrate the many miles to their wintering grounds.
Some birds change so much they are hard to identify. Like the sparrow in the above photo.
The Chipping Sparrow is a common backyard bird. In the fall they lose the rufous cap, but they do retain the dark line that runs through their eye.
In this photo, the bird on the right is the ubiquitous bird that occurs in our forests of Voyageur country, the White-throated Sparrow. The White-throated Sparrow does not change much when going into winter, but the juveniles are different and hard to i.d.
The bird on the left is a White-crowned Sparrow, and it’s a juvenile or first winter bird. It is very different than the adult. The White-crowned Sparrow breeds further north in Canada and only migrates through our area.
Fall is the best time to check out the hiking trails in the Crane Lake area. The bugs are gone and the weather has cooled and the leaves are beginning to change color.
The Herriman Trail is one of the best trails the area has to offer: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5190356.pdf
A beaver has been busy working on a big tree on the trail.
This is the tree that the beaver has been working on. What a prize it will be when it topples. Beavers use their oversized teeth to work on the trunk over several days. Their hope is that mother nature will come along and help. A strong wind would take this tree down finishing the beaver’s work.
Sometimes the trail can get overgrown or maybe a tree has fallen on the trail. When that happens you want to carefully search for where the trail continues. One sure way to know you are on the right track is to look for logs that have been intentionally cut by a saw.
Another trail marker is the Rock Cairn. These landmarks are usually placed by the trail to indicate the correct path to take.
Parts of the trail goes over ledge rock where there isn’t much vegetation to mark the trail. This is where rock cairns come in handy. Look for the next pile of rocks and you know you are on the right track.
Check out the above article about Voyageurs
Wild Rice at Crane Lake is easy to come by. The Vermilion River is where people go to harvest this organic grain.
The Vermilion River is a designated “wild river”. There are campsites along the river and a few portages around rapids and waterfalls. No permits are needed to travel this 30 mile section of river that connects Crane Lake to Lake Vermilion. All you need is a canoe.