Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Today was rather like the first few chapters of "Trumpet of the Swan." Seney National Wildlife Refuge is a natural wonderland of bogs and swamps in the middle of the UP. Trumpeter swans, unlike anywhere else east of the Rockies, are everywhere here--we saw 48 on one pool alone. Other sightings included an osprey, on nest, ruffed grouse, common loons and pine siskin.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Kayaking in Lake Superior, we had a stunning realization. The rock wall above us wasn't draped with quartzite, but with ice. Our guide spoke of a Memorial Day a few years back with ice floes on the lake.
It's hard to put into words what we saw today, but of course I'll try. Emerald waters, multi-hued sheer rock walls, sea caves, waterfalls plunging over stories of rock.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
There's no doubt that this trip is perpetuating the world demand for petroleum, but the scenery so far has been worth it. In Munising right now, camped in nearby Christmas right on Lake Superior. There's a merlin in our campground, and they sell sake at the local supermarket.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Blogging live from Green Bay, Wis., where summer still seems a long way off. Most deciduous trees still don't have leaves (though it's quite balmy tonight and probably over 50). We're headed even farther north tomorrow--to Munising, Mich., and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Hope to have a chance to blog from there.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Also, the Lower 48 low for yesterday was 23 degrees in Tomahawk, Wis., about 325 miles north of here. There's a chance I could be reporting from a similar latitude this weekend. More to come...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
I try not to do this too much, but I do have blind spots. I sometimes dislike the invasives that rule our city, I say things like "the crows are having a convention" when they are cawing a lot, and enjoy seeing an underdog red-winged blackbird mob a red-tailed hawk. The implication for habitat restoration is interesting, too, as these endeavors are centered on removing non-native plants--serious biobigotry perhaps.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Chicago was home to one of Nau's four stores, and the store already appears to be closed. Nau donated $200,000-plus to charitable causes in its brief existence and gave customers a choice of social services, environmental and other causes to choose from on every purchase. It also used sustainable practices on everything from the way the clothes were made to how they were shipped. It only stocked a few items in stores in hopes of mitigating the environmental costs of shipping tons of merchandise around the country (customers were encouraged to have items shipped to their homes).
I'll miss Nau, even if some of the fashions looked kind of like Greedo's outfit in the first Star Wars movie.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
It was fairly quiet at Montrose today, but I totaled 35 species. There was a yellow-crowned night-heron at the pond. This is a rare sighting for Chicago as we are at the northern extreme of its range.
Elsewhere, in North Suburban Vernon Hills, a chimney caught fire because of a bird nest. No one can seem to figure out what kind of birds built the nest. I have a guess.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Here in Chicago, spring still appears to be running behind because of the frigid winter we had. Our front-yard bulbs and ferns are not near as tall as they were this time last year.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I was able to get some evening birding in today. The conditions were pleasant: mid 60s and clear and I found 39 species in a limited timeframe. I took a quick detour on the way home to a small, kidney-shaped pond that serves as a water hazard at Marovitz Golf Course. There is a tangled, fenced area with a bunch of downed willows that is usually good for a few spring migrants. Peering through the fence, I noticed a round form on a big log about 10 yards away. I assumed it was a stump until I saw it's paws, whiskers and matted fur (pelt?). The big rodent froze for a while, gripping a willow shoot. Then it proceeded to munch on the shoot in a fashion similar to a yard mulcher. A second beaver was in the water swimming away from shore. Meanwhile, there were two golfers finishing the hole about 100 yards away. The perching beaver continued to gnaw on limbs, this as golfers and joggers and cyclists passed within view.