Fall colors are just starting…
Fall colors are just starting…
We’re a little past the wildflower season, but here’s a great resource from the US Forest Service, go to their website at:
My favorite trail, the Astrid Lake Hiking Trail that runs south from Lake Jeanette, is back in commission. Earlier this summer the trail was completely flooded and the only way to get in to the bog was to wear knee-high boots. Now the water has gone down and there’s only one little spot where the water is standing. Just a good pair of hiking boots is all you should need now. Also, where there was a tangle of trees that had fallen on the trail, that has been cleaned up. It’s such a great trail through some good habitat that it shouldn’t be missed.
I found some nice fall Warblers back in the woods.
Like this nice “fall” Magnolia Warbler. There’s been a lot of Maggies around this fall. One distinctive feature about the Magnolia Warbler, that is apparent all year long, is the white pattern in their tail.
The white on the tail feathers goes about halfway down the tail, then the tips are dark, it’s easy to see when you are looking up at the bird.
I apologize for the blurry picture, but it shows how the white jumps out at you when the bird takes flight.
Every so often in the quiet of the woods, I would hear something strange calling. It didn’t dawn on me until I heard the characteristic clacking that a Gray Jay makes that I figured out what it was. I guess the old saying is right, that if you hear something weird in the woods it’s probably a Gray Jay.
A family group of Jays followed me as I walked the trail back to the car.
They were foraging on the trunks of the Black Spruce and Tamaracks in the bog. They were finding stuff under the bark, which must have been insect larvae.
Not Sioux Falls South Dakota, but a daytrip via canoe up the Little Indian Sioux River. I say “up” because the river flows north and by travelling south we were going upstream. This part of the river is lined with bog on either side.
I was surprised to see an American Kestrel in this bog, I’m used to seeing them out in the open country.
The Puffball Mushrooms have started coming out. It looks like it’s going to be a prolific year for Puffballs.
Puffballs get their name from the way they release their spores. When you find one that is past its’ prime, push on the top of the mushroom and a puff of spores will come out, it looks a little like a puff of smoke. It’s really pretty neat!
Red sky at night, a sailor’s delight; red sky at morn, sailors take warn…
One bird that is difficult to find and see is the Ovenbird. In the summer their song can be heard from the depths of the woods as they sing their distinctive “teacher, teacher, TEACHER song. Most times only their singing will be heard and the bird won’t come out of hiding. They are definite skulkers creeping around on the forest floor and rarely going up in the trees.
But sometimes in the fall, they’ll be a little more bold, and perhaps even come out for some photographs. This bird was attracted to the sound of the shutter on my camera. And they are one of the Warblers that don’t molt into a basic (winter) plumage.
Here the Ovenbird has struck a classic Warbler pose as he peers under the leaves for insects. You can see the orange stripe that is on top of the Ovenbird’s head.
There is a certain time, in the morning and in the evening, when the light from the sun is just right for photography. Famous naturalist and writer Sigurd Olson referred to it as Ross’ Light. I can’t remember how the name came about, but I remember the concept.
The sunlight at these times, when the sun is closer to the horizon, bends the sunbeams and baths the surrounding landscape in a warm light. It can make photos look surreal.
Early this morning a Merlin showed up in the yard. I thought the Merlin was eating something when I was photographing her, but after I downloaded the photos, I saw what looked like a “pellet” in the Merlin’s mouth. I think the Merlin might be a female or an immature as the male has a slate blue back and this bird was quite brown.
She looked like she was choking…
Then, the pellet came flying through the air!
Per Birds of North America On Line, pellets typically cast daily (early morning) representing feather and skeletal remains from previous day.
I imagine she feels a lot better after expelling that big hunk of waste from her crop.
Okay, now onto the next bird, and with that she took off after one of the Hairy Woodpeckers that frequent the peanut feeders in the yard.
A boulder left behind by the glaciers, a mere 10,000 years ago. There was a musical band in Grand Rapids named the Glacial Erratics – that’s a pretty good name.
A beautiful little woodland plant that stays green all winter long…
A beautiful ending to another perfect day on Crane Lake.