Superior Views

Why is Lake Superior so cold in the summer of 2022?

Lake Superior
Lake Superior

A Special Bird Month

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June 2017

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October 2016

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January, 2016

November and December 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July, 2015

June, 2015

May, 2015

February, 2015

It is unseasonably cold, but the marvelous sunshine dominates. The days are longer and the sun higher in the sky. Only an inch of snow covers the ground, but the crisp whiteness adds to the beauty of the days.

A gang of five deer forage for food. Busy chickadees, nuthatches and pine siskin brighten the day even more. The big lake, recently frozen over, creates a playground for eagles, crows, fisher people and wildlife.

January 2015

The chick-a-dee-dee-dee–and an eagle screeching breaks the amazing winter quiet. With mild January temperatures only a


thin layer of snow lies on the ground.

The face of the lake changes hourly. Sometimes the wind blows in short-lived icebergs. When it is calm the lake tries to form a more permanent ice cover, but it quickly dissolves or moves on to another place.

December, 2014

Melting snow and fog
Melting snow and fog

We had January-like weather in November but with the fog and warm temperatures December has been more like March. The lake is calm and fog and mist dominate, and the warm moisture is melting the snow. As the snow melts my favorite plants resurface and ruffed grouse feed in snowless areas. The thick fog makes it difficult to see, but downy woodpeckers, chickadees, red poles, rose and white breasted nuthatches are busy finding seeds and insects.

November, 2014


November is a time an abrupt change and this November is an extreme of that model. From a beautiful fall season we suddenly jumped into a cold winter.

The bald eagles play in the strong unseasonably cold NW winds, but other birds and humans hunker down and try to stay warm. The wind churns the lake so it is brown


instead of its deep blue, and broken iced balsam spruce line the lake. After days of cold November gales, the winds shifts to the south and chickadees, red poles , woodpeckers and nuthatches magically appear. A pileated woodpecker scans the base of birch for bugs, and blue jays show themselves everywhere. Even a small winter moth flutters around in the snow.

The days are much shorter, but the snow-covered landscape helps to brighten the dark nights.

Broken off balsams
Broken off balsams

October, 2014


October 2014, Superior Views

September, 2014


A pleasant mix of seasons : Summer flowers, along with turning maples.image

August, 2014

New Monarch Butterflies


August, Get Outside!

July, 2014

July, 2014, Superior Views

Superior views May 31, 2014

Lake Superior in May
Lake Superior in May
Marsh Marigolds are blooming
Marsh Marigolds are blooming

Our beautiful lake is back from the thick ice cover. Often there is a cold breeze off the lake, and the nighttime temperature and the daytime temperature can differ by 40 degrees. A cold Lake Superior and a warm sun both try to dominate.

Lake Superior is one of the best bird nesting places in the country. Many of the nesting birds have returned, and more return daily. These beautiful birds have returned and will be building nests soon: chestnut-sided warbler, redstarts, black-throated green, mourning warbler, oven bird, sandhill cranes, winter wren, northern parula, song sparrows, pee-wee, and the eagles are feeding and protecting their babies.

Wild Strawberries
Wild Strawberries

April, 2014

Earth Day on Lake Superior

Superior Views March, 2014

Iced up Lake Superior
Iced up Lake Superior

As they say along Lake Superior, the lake is the boss and her moods swing with fury. The ice could be pulled out in less than a day by wind and waves–Superintendent Bob Krumenaker of the Apostle Islands ice caves

This has been an unusual year for the big lake. It froze in front of our house in December and has stayed frozen. Usually the ice cover changes daily and it is fascinating to watch. This year the lake is trapped in the ice which is good news for lake levels because the ice keeps the lake from evaporating. Also, I have heard the ice cover helps the spawning of white fish. It is reported that 95 % of Lake Superior is covered with ice.

Even on March 2 the morning temperature reads -25 F, and below zero temperatures are the norm. The good news is that cold temps often bring beautiful sunny days! The plentiful wind is a constant force as it blows across the lake. Two coyotes jog across the ice and risky tents for fisher people are tiny on the lake horizon.

In the woods behind our house we search for our snowshoe trail. Everything is covered with rolling snow drifts after a heavy snow. We break new snowshoe trails along the deer paths. These tracks take us through eleven deer bedding areas. I feel like we’re violating their privacy, and wonder how the deer survive without food and in this challenging deep snow?

I look for evidence of other wildlife tracks in the snow? Except for a few downy Woodpeckers, crows, the deer, a few squirrels, a lone eagle and howling coyotes wildlife is scarce.

Ice Covered Clifffs
Ice Covered Clifffs
MODIS Imagery: a1.14067.1911.LakeSuperior.143.250m.jpg
January, 2014

November 2013

October, 2013

September 1, 2013 The best week for Pollinators

Hummingbird Moth on Menardia
Hummingbird Moth on Menardia

Everyday two hummingbird moths spend the afternoon in the pink Menardia. The ruby throated hummingbird loves the same plants.


Fritillary on native Menardia

The native Menardia (bee balm) wins the weekly pollinator contest for the attracting a diversity of insects. Golden rod is also terrific, but the pollinators aren’t as diverse.


More Menardia

The lack of hungry deer this year has allowed cone flowers to flourish. They add so much to a garden, and every pollinating insect, and many birds love them. The gold finch and chickadees eat the seeds all winter.

Fritillary on a cone flower
Fritillary on a cone flower

Rich cardinal flower is loved by hummingbirds
Rich cardinal flower is loved by hummingbirds

Superior Views, August 2013

Superior Views, July 2013:

Superior Views, June 2013:

Superior Views, May 2013:

Superior Views, March 2013:

February on the Big Lake

“Chasing Ice” on the Big Lake

Delight is all that matters in the moment-When last night’s snow decides to stick to every branch and twig, it paints an earth transformed and brights awake the sleepy eye.” John Caddy, Morning Earth

Frosted Baslams
Frosted Balsams

The insulated earth is silent, but for scrapping of the icebergs, the territorial drumming of the Hairy Woodpecker, chatter of the Downies, ancient call of the Pileated, or the always happy Chickadees.

A Coyote and raccoon have created their own deep snow trail along the lake cliff. Coyote saunters alert and powerful, the raccoon nervous and quick with her head down. What happens if they should meet?

Lake Superior Cliff

Lake Superior Cliff

Some days the ice is solid and other days it is breaking up. Spring is on its way.

Frozen Lake Superior
Frozen Lake Superior
Ice on Lake Superior
Ice on Lake Superior

Superior Views, January, 2013

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass


Downy and Hairy woodpeckers devour the suet, and happy Black-capped chickadees are everywhere and there is an invasion of red poles.

Common Red-Poles
Common Red-Poles

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Lake ice is solid out about 200 feet from shore, then open water with floating chunks of ice. A coyote paces back and forth looking for something to eat on this life threatening white surface.


January 1, 2013

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.—Rachel Carson


A Merlin hunting in our yard, but the chickadees are too smart for him. A bald eagle sits on the morning lake ice eating her breakfast.

Three deer walk through: small, medium and large!! Wildlife tracks everywhere in the fresh snow: bobcat, coyote, fox??

The best: The face of the lake changes hourly as it renews itself. A patchwork of ice in the morning and then open water by the afternoon. Icebergs of all sizes are pushed around. The constant moving and shifting of the ice flows is beautiful and surprising. It is a magical mystery where the ice disappears to and then reappears. It is never predictable nor will it look the same again.

Wow, three ore boats pass at the same moment on the shipping highway. These boats will soon tie up for the winter.

Cloudy days create a black and white picture. White contrasted with dark bark, and the pileated, downies and chickadees add to the black/white birch tree look.

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving Snow
Thanksgiving Snow

After a non-winter last year, Thanksgiving was unusual on the weather front. It was a warm, sunny day that evolved into an evening winter storm. The night wind and snow blew across the big lake, and all night the waves pounded our rock cliff. Friday morning 4 inches of snow covered everything. The snowy landscape was beautiful and quite a surprise. In a few hours time lake effect flurries became the norm, and winter began. And 5 days later it continues to snow.
Not bothered by the weather change, chickadees, a nuthatch and common red pole are busy at their feeder. Downy woodpeckers are everywhere and the eagles and seagulls fish the lake. These are our local winter birds.
Most plants and seed heads are now covered with snow but the stately little blue stem still stands proud and is unaffected by the severe weather change.
From land you can observe the silhouettes of enormous waves surging far out in the big lake.
The firearm deer season ended on Sunday and maybe some of the wildlife will come out of their hiding places.

Third week of October, 2012

Goldenrod on Lake Superior

A confetti of colored leaves covers the ground, and a few brilliant gold leaves cling to their trees, but they are falling. Daily a vole works her way around these fallen colorful leaves.

Pileated and downy woodpeckers, are busy finding bugs, and the chickadees, gold and purple finch create an active bird feeder. Palm warblers and juncos migrate through, and the eagle watches all the activity from his high perch on Lake Superior.

Some plants are showing their last blossoms: red stemmed asters, golden rod, daisy fleabane, hyssop, and a full rudbeckia, but the best fall plant is the hardy little blue stem.

Fog rolls in from the lake, and fog horns from ore boats fill the air.

The energetic white tailed deer are oblivious to what the next weeks will bring as the hunt begans.

And I dream of which pollinating plants I should add next year.

First week of August on the big lake, 2012

A north wind has brought a change in the weather and I hope a cooling of the earth. Fox cubs, fawns, baby chickadees, redstart and song sparrows are demanding of their moms for food. A sphinx (hawk) moth zips around entertaining me, and a lone black bear saunters through. Hummingbirds are enjoying the flowers as much as their feeder and seem to be everywhere. Goldenrod and wide leaf asters are in full bloom, and I learned the Northern Crescent Butterfly. Lake Superior is finally blue again after the heavy June rain.

Sphinx moth on snap dragon

A Fritillary on Menardia

July 22,

At 5:30 AM it is very noisy outside with lots of running. A blossoming buck is playing with my local fawns. Next the buck turns to their mother and goes into a mating dance routine with her–Spectacular!


English: Map of Lake Superior. Category:Michig...
English: Map of Lake Superior. Category:Michigan maps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June 26,

Wisconsin Point, near Superior Wisconsin, is the largest freshwater sandbar on earth. We hiked and watched for birds in the enormous white and red pines. It is surprising that such large pines can grow on a sandbar at the edge of Lake Superior. Redstarts, cedar waxwings, oven birds and song sparrows were very active.

Sad story today about beautiful Lake Superior after last weeks heavy rain: Flood’s Mud Clouds Superior


June 20,

Summer begins at 6:O8PM

Thunderstorms continue to roll across the North Country. Water rushing down to Lake Superior has rutted our driveway creating a very muddy ditch digging mission.

July 2012

*Loons whinny and Sand Hill Cranes call in the summer nights. The seagulls chase the eagles.

*Mr. fox, and a doe with her 2 fawns frequent our yard . Fawns eat off my cardinal flower and cone flowers. They are very hungry and growing fast! A blossoming buck plays with fawns, and then turns to do a mating dance with their mother.

*St. John’s Wort, pearly everlasting, vervain, menardia, hyssop, and wide leaf asters are blooming. One lone columbine and spiderwort continue to bloom.

*Northern Pearly Eye, Clouded sulphur, Fritillary, Painted Lady and skippers are the current butterflies. The Fritillaries love the cone flowers. Blue Karner? I hope! Painted Lady butterflies have laid eggs on my pearly everlasting.

English: Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon)
English: Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Blueberries are trying to develop, but are food for the wildlife. The wild raspberries are ripe.

*Unusually warm the first half of July, with winds from the south and west – Can’t remember such a long streak without lake cooling. July 16, the lake finally helped to end the heat wave. The weather since has been 75 degree perfect.

*Hummingbirds empty the feeders daily, and a hunting owl disrupts the normal calm. The bird bath attracts chickadees, gold and purple finch, and even a yellow bellied sapsucker. Song sparrows, red start and flickers are feeding their babies.

St. John’s Wort
Pearlly Everlasting
Lake Superior Sunset

June Thoughts on being on the Southshore of Lake Superior:

-A cool fox walks feet from me as I weed on the shoreline, and acts like I’m not there.

-Daisies, buttercup, and hawkweed make a perfect combination by mother nature along the roadsides. The monarchs like the hawkweed best!

-Lupine is blooming, but it is past it’s peak.

-Northern parula, red eyed vireo, common yellow throat, red start, black throated green, and white throated sparrows are singing.

-Bumble Bees, hummingbirds, and hawk moths are liking the pink blooming wild geranium, and the buttlerflies, and bumble bees loving the blooming chives.

-Prairie groundsel blooms with gusto and is deer proof growing in the cool lakeside environment.

Hummingbird finally alone

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