Vibrant fall colors that take your breath away, unusual cloud formations and migrating birds bring joy on this big lake. Autumn beauty brings a break from this pandemic and the raw politics of this election season. Our nesting birds have left for warmer climes, but migrating yellow-rumped warblers dive at our house chasing flies. Juvenile white- throated sparrows practice imperfect singing, and groups of juncos are abundant. The chickadees are emptying their feeder and chipmunks are underfoot as they busily prepare for a long winter. A month after the monarchs had left for Mexico, I was surprised to find a caterpillar munching on an old yellow milkweed. I moved the lone caterpillar to a healthy milkweed, but there probably isn’t time enough time for it to form a chrysalis and a mature monarch butterfly. I can only hope it was able to complete it’s cycle, and catch a strong north wind to Mexico. This year not all politics is forgotten. Campaign signs popped up on our road which I haven’t seen before, but the vast majority were hopeful signs of kindness for this northern Wisconsin community.
This summer I wished I could have given some of our rain to drought stricken North or South Dakota. Everyday on Lake Superior seemed to sprout a rain shower. When I read the water quality of Lake Superior wasn’t superior to other Great Lakes anymore, my first thought was of this summer’s rain. Because of the rainy summer, the lake level became very high, and this high water caused some of the soft lake banks to erode into the lake causing lake sediment. The streams running into the lake bring more sediment into the lake.
An unusual fact about Lake Superior: Many streams and rivers drain into the big lake, but only one river drains out of the lake, the St. Mary’s River, and that is regulated at Sault Ste. Marie. I know the water that flows out through the St. Mary’s River is complicated with many factors, but releasing more water from the lake could probably help water quality of Lake Superior. Read at St. Mary’s River.
We can all do better to protect the water quality this magnificent lake, and other lakes also.
Slowing down the water flow can help. Buffer strips of deep-rooted plants along streams and along the lake can reduce sediment run-off, and putting in rain gardens and rain barrels can also slow the water.
The below ideas for protecting our lakes is from the Superiorforum.org , Sigurd Olson Institute, Northland college, the EPA, and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:
1 .Be conservative with your water use.
2. Recycle as much as you can with the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and repair. And….NEVER burn trash.
3. Curb Yard Pollution. Put your lawn on a chemical-free diet!!
4. Stop aquatic invasives by cleaning plants and animals off your boat.
5. Plant native plants, and reduce turf grass.
6. Plant native trees According to Audubon, oak trees are the best for attracting insects and birds.
7. Install a rain barrel
8. Create an energy-efficient home.
9. Bring hazardous waste to waste collection sites.
10. Love our lakes!
I would add a few more:
Plastics have become a big problem for our waterways. Reduce plastic use and be sure any plastic-use is recycled. Also remember to say, “No straw please!”
Micro-fibers in our clothes also are polluting our waterways. As of yet there isn’t a good solution. Read about micro-fibers here.
Always pick up litter.
The water we have on earth is the only water we will ever have, we must take care of it!
I had just seen a hawk fly along Lake Superior, but was surprised when two large birds came crashing into a window where was sitting. This created a 45 minute ordeal below my window. The flicker cried, fought and cried some more, but the talons of the hawk had a firm grip. Blue jays and crows came to watch the commotion. The persistence of the hawk ruled and she was too strong and determined for the flicker. An unusual number of hawks in our neighborhood this August have changed the lives of chipmunks, squirrels, and the birds.
On a happier note, A a fresh bright monarch was drying her wings after emerging from her cocoon, and a monarch caterpillar was weaving herself into a cocoon and will hopefully evolve into a new monarch in two weeks.
The great south migration has started with groups of night-hawks and yellow-rump warblers migrating through, and in another week the hummingbirds will be gone, also. Harbingers of fall.
The flowers are at their peak and the bees are crazy for bee balm and anise hyssop. The wood-nymph butterflies have been plentiul, but they too are at the end of their life cycle to be replaced by white admirals, cabbage whites, and fritillaries.
June is a month of variety, fresh green plants, and interesting skies. As the month ends, I reflect on the beauty of Lake Superior and the landscape that surrounds it. The length of the days and natural beauty is energizing. Everyday differs with the direction of the wind, and the big lake is usually part of this equation.
The birds are secretly nesting and raising their young, but I watch an unaware flicker fly in and out of her nest hole with food.
The lupine, wild geraniums, Canada anemone, thimbleberry, and raspberries bloom while the milkweed takes over the garden path.
The week began with “extreme fire danger” warnings. But the rains came on Monday, and it has rained all week. The swollen rivers and streams pour into Lake Superior turning the lake muddy brown.
The middle of May is always fabulous for viewing migrating warblers in northern Wisconsin. Even with the rain and storms migrants are passing through to their nesting areas. I hope they stay safe. This week we saw yellow-rumps, palm warblers, chestnut-sided, Nashville, oven-bird, and red-starts. Also, we had a beautiful male rose-breasted grosbeak visiting our feeder.
Blooming marsh marigolds are perfect for the wet ditches.
International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. http://www.worldwaterday.org/
The water on our planet is the only water we will ever have. There is no getting
more of it! We need to appreciate our waterways and take are of them.
On this World Water Day what sustainable practices protect our waterways?
My simple suggestions are: 1. Appreciate our water 2. Go chemical-free 3. Re-use the water that runs off your
4. If you have water property, plant a buffer-strip of plants/trees to collect run-off from your yard/agricultural land.
March brings melting snow, longer days and deep blue sun,
but then a big dump of new snow. Today the lake in front of my house is full of white slush, but two days ago it was empty of snow, ice, or any sign of winter. With the winds and currents the lake is constantly refreshing itself!
February 1st, Lake Superior waves were crashing and pounding the shore, and it was reported that only 5% of the big lake was covered with ice. I was surprised that early morning February 2, our bay became covered with ice. The waves look frozen in time, and the frozen landscape brings a new quiet peaceful reality. How long will it last? Probably not long. Lake ice today is fragile and depends on the winds and sudden whims of this living warming lake. The first big wind will probably break and send the ice onto the shore, or to another bay to continue the fascinating winter entertainment.
The waves from Lake Superior pound the sandstone cliff.
Frost covers everything it can hang on.
The thermostat reads -5 degrees.
Eagles, chickadees, pileated woodpeckers, grouse, six deer and a fox search for food.
I am glad I have the choice whether to be inside or out.
As Wisconsin and the world have probably just experienced one of the warmest years on record, Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, is deleting climate change from existence, or trying anyway. Sorry governor, climate change is not going away!
I have a cabin in Wisconsin, and can rattle off the climate changes I have seen in just the last few years: First I have lived through three very dangerous storms. All three were 100-year events with flooding and loss of many trees. Second, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, lakes surrounding Wisconsin, are warming at a pace never seen before. Third, good winter snow is a thing of the past. Either it doesn’t snow, or after it snows, it rains or warms up making winter sports icy and dangerous. We experience long droughts, then too much rain at one time. And finally, the night temperatures are rising; it doesn’t get as cold on winter or summer nights. Where I sit in Wisconsin the climate is changing!
The governor must feel the need for some attention, or maybe he is applying for a position in the Trump administration? What is the purpose, to waste taxpayer money?
As a taxpayer in Wisconsin I do not appreciate such a waste of time and resources. Can this be good for the Wisconsin economy? I know people who refuse to spend any money in Wisconsin. They drive through refusing to stop or spend a dollar. Why would businesses want to locate in such a backwards place?