Northern Lights Memorial Day Weekend 2017 (video)

Lady Aurora danced over northern Minnesota this Memorial Day Weekend 2017. It was a great night to be out in the wilderness. I took both videos of the Northern Lights with my Sony A6000 with an ISO setting of 3,200. Normally folks do time lapse videos, but I was actually able to take “real time videos” ! In the second video you are able to hear Common Loons calling in the background. All night long the birds sang … confused by the bright light which made them think it was pre-dawn.

The first image was taken before true darkness … lingering light after sunset. Crazy Beautiful.

Little Stone Lake near Brimson, Minnesota (45 miles north of Duluth)

The Deeps (200 yards from the end of my driveway in Duluth)

The Videos …

Visiting The Big Bog

Folks who follow my blog know that I enjoy birding Sax-Zim Bog, and serve as a volunteer naturalist at the Welcome Center in the winter. As much as I love Sax-Zim, I actually prefer the other bog, The Big Bog. Unfortunately this fantastic wilderness area, is four hours from Duluth (my home). However, The Big Bog is only 1 hours and 40 minutes from my cabin near Marcell, Minnesota.

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Web Site:

The Big Bog has been called Minnesota’s last true wilderness. This two-part recreation area includes a northern unit and a southern unit. The 500-square-mile peat bog, the largest in the lower 48 states, is located in the northern unit.

It is the northern unite which I love to visit. While roads and trails into this wilderness are rare, I like to drive Shoreline Drive NE which is just north of Upper Red Lake. For the first 7 miles of Shoreline Drive, one has bog to the north of the dirt road, and cultivated wild rice ponds to the south. Birds and other wildlife consider the Wild Rice ponds a food factory! Eventually Shoreline Drive ends and becomes Blanchard Trail. One should not drive Blanchard Trail unless you love wilderness, and have a four wheel drive or all wheel drive vehicle. Do not expect cell connectivity. Other than summer, unless it is hunting season, expect to have the area to yourself. This is both good, and a challenge. If you break down, you will be walking miles and miles to civilization. The wild rice farm is not only a good area to bird in the summer, but owls love the area in the winter (mice and voles feeding on wild rice).

Thursday I had the opportunity to visit the Big Bog. Here are a few photographs I took.

Trumpeter Swans Fighting

American Bittern

Blue Winged Teal

Red-Eyed Vireo

 

Migrating North on the South Wind

The shorebirds invasion continues! Earlier this week we had ugly weather. Winds out of the south pushed migrants up to Lake Superior, where they flew into strong NE winds coming down the lake. The shorebirds took the logical approach and stopped on Park Point. Only a foolish bird would continue north into a fierce north wind.
I enjoyed more time with Dunlins, Sanderlings, and Ruddy Turnstones. In addition some gulls which were working their way up to Northern Manitoba stopped by … Caspian Terns and Bonaparte’s Gulls. What I find amazing is most of these birds only spend about a month on their breeding grounds in the Arctic, and then they start their migration south.

A Flock of Dunlins

Caspian Terns and Bonaparte Gulls