Thanks Sue

Sue Plankis was kind enough to write a guest blog while I was off the grid and paddling the Rio Grande last week. She mentioned the bird ecology classes she is co-leading with me this spring in the Boundary Waters. Sue’s only fault is she is too modest. Spending a few days in the forest and on the lakes with her will be like drawing back a curtain on wild nature. You will see plants and animals that although you may have walked past for years, you have never really seen. But maybe even more amazing might be her insights to the sounds of the forest that you never before distinguished and the clues they will provide. Even if you have not been that interested in birdwatching before, I guarantee … Continue reading

Thanks Sue

Sue Plankis was kind enough to write a guest blog while I was off the grid and paddling the Rio Grande last week. She mentioned the bird ecology classes she is co-leading with me this spring in the Boundary Waters. Sue’s only fault is she is too modest. Spending a few days in the forest and on the lakes with her will be draw back a curtain on wild nature. You won’t believe the birds you will see and learn about. Even if you have never been that interested in birdwatching this experience will add depth to your appreciation the mazing interelationships

Spring Thoughts in Winter

Submitted by guest blogger Sue Plankis

Two winter things happened in Minnesota this week that made me think of spring. The first was the City of Lakes Loppet where one skis 25 K along park-ways and frozen lakes from Theo Wirth Park south to Uptown. These are the same lakes which I paddle with my friend Bob Brown, well-known canoe and boat builder of Apple Valley. As I skied I could envision what this place would look like in just a couple of months; soft water, green leaves and singing birds. The second happening was that a girlfriend sent me a photo of a bird which she needed some help identifying. Sitting on a snow-laden bird feeder was an American Goldfinch. Most interesting was that it was a male starting to get his yellow spring breeding plumage.
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The Rio Grande

Off with a group of seven from all over the country to paddle the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande. The picture is from my last trip to the Rio Grande in 2011 with Larry Rice, Fran Rulon-Millen, Cliff Jacobson and Darrell Foss. My Wildfire at the beginning of Mariscal Canyon, the last of the Upper Canyons, and close to our take-out. This time it’s the Lower Canyons –  full of mystery, magic and mystique. (and hopefully enough water to float our canoes).

I have been kicking myself all week because water levels have been up on the Rio Grande and wishing we had scheduled the trip for this week. Then I just read that winds were out of the southwest Wednesday at 60 mph, higher in the canyons! That’s quite … Continue reading

they were just a little later than expected

Earlier blog post to the contrary, it appears as if the winter of 2012-13 is the year of the Boreal Owl in the Quetico Superior. Over the last week, there have been several sightings of the owls all along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Several Boreal Owls have been seen in Two Harbors, Split Rock, Gooseberry Falls, Grand Marais and one was even spotted within the city limits of Duluth. Several birders, some from as far away as California, Oklahoma and Colorado, have flocked to the area to see or photograph the birds (personal communication, Jim Lind). The unpleasant part of these invasions or irruptions, as they are sometimes called, is that the birds are usually food-stressed (starving in some cases). Driven by hunger, but to a land likely … Continue reading