Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Midsummer Magnetic Mistral

Incredible northern lights last night.  The show was so dynamic and fast with pulsing and dancing, I was having a hard time doing it any justice with long exposures.  I cranked up the ISO and took a series of 175, 1-sec exposures and made a time lapse video in effort to show how energetic the storm was.

This was the view looking straight up.

Check out my other videos from previous storms

March 2015

April 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Spotted and Potted

I frequently see this male Northern Flicker, but he is always on the move.  This morning he was more interested in the grubs he was after and paused enough times for me to get a pic.

Early in the evening, a male Pileated woodpecker visited by suet block.  Given the warm temperatures lately, the suet was quite soft and he got it all over his bill.  He proceeded to shake his head and scratch his bill with his feet in effort to clean up.

Male Northern Flicker 

Male Pileated Woodpecker

Monday, June 8, 2015

Knife River Eagle

Driving back from Two Harbors on Hwy 61 near the Knife River, I spied something very large in a tree being harassed by a crow.  Must be a bird of prey!  Turns out it was bald eagle. I swung the car around and took a few pics before he decided to take off.

Forest Fire from afar

Forest fires burning in Canada have sent smoke for a long ride to the skies over Duluth.  This with some humidity caused a heavy haze that turned the sun an orange-red color.  It also provided a filter to reduce the light intensity of the sun and I was able to get some shots of the current sunspots.

The smoky haze in front of the sun
Visible sunspots

Labeled Sunspots

Friday, June 5, 2015

Grossly suprised

I was taking pictures of hummingbirds and had my fill so jumped back in my car.  Then a new bird arrived, a male red-breasted grosbeak!  Soon followed by his mate!

Male rose-breasted grosbeak

female rose-breasted grosbeak

Mating pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks

Turtle and leech

Found my first painted turtle of the season after having crossed Munger Shaw Rd.  I grabbed him out of the grass and showed the kids.   He had a leech stuck to the back of his shell.  Then some other bloodsuckers tried to get me.  I had a wood tick crawling up my arm and my leg.

Painted turtle on the shoulder of the road.

Leech stuck to the back of the turtle. 

Duluth Superior Fog

There is pea soup fog.  And then there is Duluth Superior Fog.

The view from Hawk Ridge as the fog moves in off Lake Superior
Hawk ridge lookout 
Glenwood leading into the mist

Heading from Superior to Duluth over the High Bridge

Thursday, June 4, 2015


One of my goals this spring was to photo a Cedar Waxwing.  There are three flowering crab trees outside by building on the UMD campus that I have seen large flocks of waxwings in the past, but I have not caught sight of them in a few years.  They are usually only around for a day or two and then move on.  I have been watching the trees all spring and today, finally, there was two in one of the trees.  One stuck around for a bit and I got a few shots.

There was also a some large bumble bees visiting the tree.

Cedar Waxwing in a flowering crab tree

Cedar Waxwing in a birch tree.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Humming with your tongue out

This female ruby-throated hummingbird wasn't so keen on my snapping pictures of her...so she stuck her tongue out at me.

Female Ruby-throated hummingbird

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A halo as I hurried home

A thin veil of icy clouds in front of the sun helped display a solar halo this afternoon as I was driving home and was near Pike Lake.  Later in the evening, there was a light corona around the full moon.

Solar halo seen over Pike Lake.

House of birds

Walking around the UMD campus I spotted some House Finches visiting a bird feeder hanging outside of a faculty member's office window.  From there I was too far away for a decent photo, but I was able to stalk the birds back to their nest under the student dinning center.  Their nest was situated on top of the anti-pigeon spikes.  There I also found a House Sparrow nesting in an old swallow nest suspended under the building.  And a pigeon nest on top of the anti-pigeon spikes, with a couple young pigeons peeking out.

Male House Finch at his singing perch.

Male House Sparrow and his nest in an old swallow nest.

Two young pigeons peeking out of their nest on the anti-pigeon spikes

A Ducky Day

A hen mallard and her five ducklings were enjoying the wild rice pond on the UMD campus. The ducklings were very active chasing bugs across the surface of the pond.  They have some good speed!  When no bugs were to be seen, they would dive under the surface.  The mama hen kept close watch and continuously voiced a low quack to keep the duckling within hearing range.  If one ventured too far--or I got too close--the hen would let out a louder and slightly different tone and the duckling would quickly paddle closer to her.

Mallard duckling chasing a bug and leaving a wake.