October 2016, Superior Views

20161017_104029October 2016

October has been spectacular on the south shore of Lake Superior.  The lake is a deep rich blue and everything on shore is bright gold.  The red of the maples has evolved into wpid-wp-1413767657351.jpeggold, blending with the yellow birch and aspen. The entire outdoors reflects a pleasant gold hue.

Most of the flowers have turned to seeds, and migrating birds have gone south. All t20161020_130218he remaining wildlife is getting ready for winter: Chickadees, nuthatches and flying squirrels empty our bird feeder.  Chipmunks and squirrels are eating, digging, and being stalked by a hunting coyote.  The adult bird-62696_640eagles are paired up and travel as a twosome.  The world must look awesome from their favorite pine tree overlooking the big lake, and when they soar above the gold-red landscape.



When It Comes To Plastic

Lake Superior and all lakes are precious, protect them!
Lake Superior and all lakes are precious, protect them!

Yesterday I was at the public library in Superior, Wisconsin.  I was impressed with an educational display by Wisconsin Coastal Management . They had a large display of trash that a student group had picked up from a one day beach trash pick-up from a local Lake Superior beach.  Ideas from the trash collected created an educational poster for the public. Plastic breaks into tiny bits, is eaten by our fish, and probably will last hundreds of years, maybe forever!

This is their excellent education piece:wp-image-493016558jpeg.jpeg


North Land Butterflies/Superior Views


Painted Lady
Painted Lady

Look carefully and you might see a new butterfly. It has been exciting to have eggs and monarch caterpillars on my swamp milkweed, and painted lady caterpillars on pearly everlasting plants.


In the past month I have been able to identify some new north land caterpillars and butterflies. Enjoy these pictures, but it is better to see the real thing rather than a picture!  Get outside and observe!

Monarch Caterpillars
Monarch Caterpillars
Painted Lady eggs and caterpillars on the pearly everlasting
Painted Lady eggs and caterpillars on the pearly everlasting
Two Atlantis Fritillary on bee balm
Two Atlantis Fritillary on bee balm
Grey Comma, a dull name for a butterfly  beauty
Grey Comma, a dull name for a butterfly beauty
Common Wood-nymph
Common Wood-nymph(wikepedia)



One River Drains Lake Superior

Magnificent Lake Superior has over 300 rivers and streams that drain into it. Last week it was a brown lake because of mega rainfall in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan where many rivers dumped sediment from the storms. I am on a road trip from Duluth, Minnesota along the south shore of Lake Superior to Sault Ste Marie and the St. Mary’s River. Canada is on the other side of the lake and across the St. Mary’s River.

An ore boat leaves Lake Superior on the St Mary’s. River headed toward Lake Huron

Even though 300 streams drain into the big lake only one, the St. Mary’s River, carries boats and water away from Lake Superior. The St. Mary’s River carries about 42 billion gallons of water from Lake Superior daily.

Lake Superior, looks browner than this picture below appears.  I think the sun makes it look bluer than it is.

Superior Views for Early June

Lake Superior in June
Lake Superior in June

Spring is slow to crawl out of winter next to the big lake, but early June brings hope that warmer weather and summer is coming.

Female American Redstart
Female American red start

The trees are filled with singing warblers, many are building nests, and a female red start has worked for days pulling threads from last years swamp milkweed stalks for her nest. It’s amazing how hard they work creating their nests!

Forget-me-nots and dandelions are the flowers the bees and butterflies depend on at this time, but the hummingbirds and bees attack each wild geranium flower that starts to bloom. Also, lupine is just beginning to bloom.

Carpets of bunch berries cover the forest floor

An American lady on a dandeloin
An American lady on a dandelion


Butterfly watching is at some of it’s best with the American Lady, Monarchs, tiger swallow-tail, spring azure, and dusty wings.
What are your outside joys for June?

Wild geranium, easy to grow, is loved by bees and butterflies.
Wild geranium, easy to grow, is loved by bees and butterflies.

Loving A Mild Winter, My Superior View

Ice on Lake Superior doesn't last long.
Ice on Lake Superior doesn’t last long.

“There is a privacy about winter that no other season gives you. Only in winter can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”  Ruth Stout

January has been a month of peace, quiet and intense beauty on Lake Superior.  Snow frosted balsams radiate a charm that goes unnoticed during other seasons.

Then a few hours later open water on the big lake.
A few hours later, open water with a few ice clumps on the big lake.

The face of the lake can change hourly as the lake refreshes itself, and the wind shifts. The lake dramatically changes from ice-covered to a few floating chunks of ice, and then back to ice-covered. Sporting new looks adds to the mystique of this enormous fresh water lake.

Calmer winds allow the balsams to stay snow covered. A few ice chunks on the lake.

Surprise of the Year/Lake Superior

Lake Superior in winter, Is this a thing of the past?
Lake Superior in winter, Is ice a thing of the past?

Lake Superior a Climate Change Antenna

Over 90% of global warming is in the oceans.  A decades long research on 235 lakes shows that, “Lake Superior is one of the more rapidly warming lakes” The big lake is warming even faster than the oceans!  My unscientific observation is that it seems like the days the wind off the lake are fewer.  But that happens when warmer winds from the west and south dominate! Also part of our warming climate.

So why is it important?

1. Toxic clouds of algae can bloom.  And run-off from the land makes this worse!

2. Fish populations are altered, which has been going on for a while!

3. The worst: Invasive species can find a new home!

More reasons to reduce you carbon footprint.

See the story below:


Sunset on Lake Superior
Sunset on Lake Superior

Superior Views, November and December

In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.” Aristotle

Lake Superior in November
Lake Superior in November

Both November and December have been unseasonably warm! Warm sunny days alternating with rainy days.  It is quiet, very quiet.  Crows, the call of the pileated, and bald eagles maintaining a continuous chatter are about the only sounds.  Even the big lake has been on the quiet side especially with the wind from the SW.

Eagles sit in this white pine tree
Eagles sit in this white pine tree

Rough grouse and mystical snow buntings entertain as they fly up from the roadside. The large number of chickadees and grey squirrels is unusual, and I assume the mild weather has something to do with their numbers. Both chickadees and squirrels peek through the windows of our house watching our household. Chickadees were still eating flies off our house the first week of December, but cooler nights have turned the chickadees to the feeders, plants and trees.

An occasional 1000 foot ore boat passes through on horizon
An occasional 1000 foot ore boat passes through on horizon

While I was delighting in the charming chickadees. These stories about chickadees came from one of my favorite bird authors:  http://www.startribune.com/chickadees-go-to-charm-school/360852661/

Superior Views, my observations on Lake Superior


Autumnal Exquinox

The trees turn a little bit red/orange every day
The trees turn a little  more red/orange every day

There are many warm wonderful things about every season!

Superior Views/ Autumnal equinox
Two adult eagles talk and screech most of the day, and we still hear the unique calls of the loons and sandhill cranes.

The last monarch nectars on milkweed.
The last monarch nectars on milkweed.

Fall is a magnificent season, but why does it make all us northerners just a little sad? There are too many good byes. Our days have become noticeable shorter stimulating many of the changes we see.
Good-bye to many of the things I love until next spring:

Good bye to the magnificent monarch butterflies as they journey south to Mexico.

Good-bye to the ruby-throat hummingbirds that bring such energetic joy,and the song birds that serenade me daily.

Good-bye to the bright pollinator plants that bring in butterflies and bees and birds to our yard.
Good-bye to the lush green forests that surround Lake Superior and the north country, and to wonderful outdoor meals on the banks of the big lake.

And it is sad to see our long long days of light disappear into darkness.  Here is the Gershwin song Summertime to get you to the next equinox on March 20-21, 2016: http://song.mymp3file.com/download/208449033/summertime-gershwin-hayward.html

This is well-written blog about autumn by a young woman from Canada:  https://sherinaspeaks.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/the-arrival-of-autumn/

Superior Views, August 2015

Life on Lake Superior

Hummingbirds and bees love this garden on Lake Superior(background lake)
Hummingbirds and bees love this garden on Lake Superior

Bee balm, hyssop, golden rod, wide leaf aster, cardinal-flower and purple cone flower bring joy!

Bees love golden rod and it is everywhere.
Bees love golden rod and it is everywhere.
The sun sets on August
The sun sets on August

Eagles screech and talk to me as I work in my yard. Hummingbirds are everywhere, and some of the migrating birds crossing the lake are the Nashville Warbler, thrushes, and white throated sparrow.