Posted by: atowhee | July 11, 2022


I have spent years in Minnesota. Four college years. Two college summers working outdoors. Many return visits–a brother who worked there most of his life. He and his wife reared three kids there. Family reunions. College reunions. It was the first place I ever saw a window screen blocked by mosquitoes. Got my first deer fly bite there. Drank my first beer. First tasted a fresh mushroom. Bought my first car. Married my first wife. Heard live folk singers in concert: Josh White, Odetta, Ian & Sylvia, Judy Collins. Saw Dick Gregory during his hunger strike. Saw my first badger when he came up onto the gravel road to attack our truck while I worked for the U.S. Geological Survey. Most crucially,m it was on Lake Itasca where I first saw and heard the wondrous, haunting yoddle of a Common Loon. Other Minnesota marvels new to me: Orchard Oriole, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Trumpeter Swan.
Now my friend, ornithologist Breandon Breen, is there working. Doing avian field work up north: “Last night, on my drive from Blackduck to Duluth, I saw a huge wolf at 1130pm crossing the road. It had a gray coat and was healthy, strong, big, and intelligent-looking. It turned slowly in the other lane of traffic to look at me as I slowed down to 5mph and drove past.” 

Lady slipper; luna moth, a fine spirit of the dark; juvie golden-winged warbler hiding.

Spruce Grouse; juvie American Woodcock (cousin of our Oregonian snipe).

Matriarch snapping turtle; garter snake; red-eyed vireo nest with 3 eggs; Boreal Chickadee nest box in the biggest peat bog in the continental USA (Red Lake Peatland Scientific and Natural Area: pink lady slippers; shoiwy lady slipper (click to enlarge, “Danger Skeeter On Board”); Brandon: “Ten percent of all the surface freshwater on earth – Lake Superior”; Brandon “at work”; pelican/cormorant nesting island; goose green; Fiddleheads (ostrich ferns) for dinner; rosy maple moth; Brandon: “One of my favorite places: Grand Marais, MN”

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