Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wild Things

Our long weekend at Hasty Brook was nothing short of perfection. Honestly, the weather could not have been nicer, daytime highs around 70 degrees, sunny and breezy and nighttime lows in the 40's. That might sound cold but it was perfect for bonfires and sleeping in the camper under piles of blankets. We did so much and took so many pictures I have to break it down into several posts starting with this one about the wild things we saw.

Check out this river otter that we saw at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth. I'll bet you didn't know that Minnesota river otters wore skateboard caps! (John was NOT happy to be posing for me) The Great Lakes Aquarium houses interesting displays of fresh-water fish from Lake Superior and around the world. Fresh-water fish aren't overly colorful but still pretty cool. They have a two story tank that has sturgeon that must be 6 feet long! They did have a few birds in the aquarium. One display had a pair of Common Goldeneyes that were a hoot to watch. I did learn something new- when the Goldeneye swam on the surface the feet paddled below the bird as I expected, but when the bird dove, the legs pivoted out to the sides like the pectoral fins on a fish! I had no idea!!

Our first evening up there this little black dog trotted up the driveway. We later found out his name is Spike and he belongs to the neighbors (about a half mile away). He's a very friendly and funny little dog and all weekend long he hung about, not begging for food (although he's terribly thin), but just socializing! Molly loves this dog and the feelings were mutual.

We spied this spider on the rocks along the north shore of Lake Superior. It was easily the size of a ping pong ball. (((shudder))) The mosquitoes were not bad as the days were breezy and the nights were so cool. The tick numbers seemed to be tapering off. They were mostly wood ticks but we did find a few deer ticks too. Tick checks were a must.

There were deer EVERYWHERE!! We quickly lost track of the number of deer that we saw. There were several does with little spotted babies. I was sooo excited to see a live badger in the wild along the road one day. I'd never seen a badger in the wild before.

On to birds. Here's an evening silhouette of one of the phoebes that sang and hunted along the creek. The singing veeries were all around us in the evenings. I had to listen carefully to hear the hermit thrushes down along the creek because the veeries were so loud. Chestnut-sided warblers were in the hazelnut thickets. I spent a good part of one afternoon watching the females gather insects while the males sang and sang. Black and white warblers spent their time creeping up and down the spruce trunks. Ovenbirds were creeping along in the tall grass and every afternoon a group of Cedar Waxwings flew in to feast on the ripe serviceberries. The most seen birds at Hasty Brook were Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. They seemed to be everywhere. A pair of Indigo Buntings worked through the tree tops one afternoon and a new bird for my Hasty Brook list- a Scarlet Tanager!
But you know I've saved the best for last
The Brilliant Giant Red-Tailed Chicken!!
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Cathy said...

Dang! I've got to head north to add that Giant Red-tailed Chicken to my life list :0)

Molly and Spike - now that's a sweet picture - though it's hard to top the otter.

The bird life alone makes Hasty Brook a special place. I'll bet it's a little tough to head home after all the serene beauty. (Ticks are the unfortunate worm in the apple of outdoor reverie. I found one on my car door today. Ick!)

Deb said...

You went all the way to Two Harbors, didn't you? ;) Ain't no chickens like that south of there!

I'm so glad you had a great weekend at Hasty Brook. You descriptions of the birds sound like what I hear around here...when I get out of the house and try real hard. And weren't those 40 degree nights wonderful! I'd rather have to pile on blankets than sweat the night away.

KGMom said...

LOL--love the lifer brilliant giant red-tailed chicken.
They used to be more common in the U.S. but have been in decline lately.

Susan Gets Native said...

Egads, Lynne! You not only saw a giant red-tailed chicken, but you have photographic proof! Call Sibley! Time for a new addition!

Body Soul Spirit said...

Our temps were cool here for a change. I agree there is nothing better than snuggling under blankets on a cool summer night outdoors. Looking forward to the next post.

Jayne said...

LOLOL... love that chicken! Glad you all had such a wonderful, restorative time away Lynne!

NatureWoman said...

LOL Lynne! Sounds like you had a great time! Can't wait to read about the rest of your trip!

RuthieJ said...

What a great trip Lynne, thanks for taking us along and I'm looking forward to future installments.

mon@rch said...

With Dial-up, it takes a while for the photos to open! I saw you had a lifer and then went up to see the first pictures that opened! By the time I made it down to the bottom to see what bird you had, I couldn't stop laughing!! Happy 4th of July to you and your family and great series of pictures!

Lynne said...

Cathy- It was hard to come home. We were supposed to leave Saturday night as we had a 50th wedding anniversary party for Art's folks to go to Sunday at noon. The weather was sooo nice Saturday evening, we just couldn't leave. So we cleaned and packed as much as we could, set 2 alarms for 0600 on Sunday AM and enjoyed one more bonfire and one more night of sleeping heaven!!

Deb- Yep! It's the Two Harbors chicken! Such a silly thing. Sleeping without sweat was fabulous.

kgmom- LOL! On the decline...

Susan- LOL! Call Sibley! You guys are funny!

Ruth- It's such a relief to sleep cool after a hot and humid stretch.

Jayne- It was better than a pill!

Pam- It's such a special place for me.

Ruthie- Hasty Brook is north of Cromwell, about 50 miles west of Duluth. (to answer your question from another post)

Mon@rch- Be careful of those leg spurs if you ever catch one in your nets! ;)

Mary said...

I'm glad I scrolled slowly! You suprised me with that gorgeous life bird! LOL! I can't wait to hear more. 70's daytime and 40's night - oooooo that feels good.

I got a chill viewing that spider. Ewww. And I despise ticks. I've only had one this year.

Most of the birds you saw would be lifers for me, Lynne. You lucky girl!

Happy 4th!

Larry said...

Lots of great stuff you saw-thanks for the update!-but I don't think you can count the chicken because its a domestic bird.