Northwoods Journal 5/3/2013

Male rose-breasted grosbeak.

Male rose-breasted grosbeak.

Friday, May 03, 2013

The woods are alive – with the sound of bird song!

Up at 4:15 a.m. and on the road an hour later.  We find driving up to the northwoods a lot easier and a lot less stressful in the wee hours of the morning rather than trying to do it at rush hour after Mark gets off work.

It’s a bit greener than it was two weeks ago.  At least there’s no snow on the ground this time!  As soon as we arrived we could hear grosbeaks singing in the treetops.  Mark urged me to put out the feeders and within 10 minutes there was a male rose-breasted grosbeak on the platform feeder.  It didn’t take long after that for the white-breasted nuthatches, chickadees and blue jays to appear.  I also filled the bird bath and the chickadees seemed thankful for the water.

It must not have rained up here in a while because the DNR station had the fire danger set at very high.  The clear-cutting continues apace.  I didn’t even recognize our road when we turned down it.  They’ve gone much deeper and farther than a couple of weeks ago.  The skeet range has been completely obliterated.  I have decided I will choose to enjoy my time here regardless.  There’s no point in losing my peace over something that I cannot control.

The weather was beautiful, temps in the 70’s with plenty of sun, some clouds and a bit of a breeze.  We unpacked and settled in but only had a few minutes to sit in the sun and enjoy the birdsong before taking the dogs for a walk.  We just went back to the small lake behind our place.  I got new hiking boots at Bass Pro as my birthday gift, and a shorter walk was better for breaking them in.  As we neared the lake I joked to Mark that I hoped the swans weren’t there, as I had left my camera behind at the cabin.  Of course, as soon as we broke out in the meadow, there was a swan floating on the water!  Hopefully it will still be there tomorrow.

The problem with getting up at 4 a.m. is that by noon I could barely keep my eyes open.  After lunch I tried to sit outside with my camera to photograph the birds, but found it hard to hold my head up, so came inside and took an hour-long siesta. That reinvigorated me for the rest of our afternoon, which included a trip to town to see what was “new” at the junktiques store.  Mark also needed oil and gas for the chainsaw and we bought a flag pole for his “Don’t Tread On Me” flag.

It was great to just hang around in the yard in the lovely weather.  Mark decided to try to teach Ruby to play Frisbee.  What a hoot!  She didn’t even attempt to catch it, but she would bring it back.  It was a perfect day for birding.  At the feeders or in our yard and woods we saw:  chickadee, dark-eyed junco, blue jay, robin, chipping sparrow, white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy woodpecker, red-winged black bird, rose-breasted grosbeak, scarlet tanager, yellow warbler.

Ruby learning to play Frisbee.

Ruby learning to play Frisbee.

The weather was so nice we were able to eat our dinner out on the porch.  Mark made chicken on the grill and I made us salads and white spaghetti.  It all tasted so good!  There’s just something about eating el fresco!  There were four male rose-breasted grosbeaks vying for a spot on the platform feeder while we ate.  The scarlet tanager was flitting all about the woods but was too high up in the canopy for me to get a picture.

We took the dogs for their evening walk, thinking to just go up the road toward Hungry 5, to the power lines.  Once we got that far, I suggested we walk back in to the creek.  It gets pretty boggy back in there and we’ve never been able to go in very far.  Well, we got to the creek, and Daisy, who is a water lover, jumped right in and across so we kept on going.  I found out that my new hiking boots really are waterproof!  But Mark’s sneakers are not!  I asked if he wanted to turn around and he said no, let’s keep going to the top of the hill and before we knew it we were near the spot where I took the pictures of the black bear last spring.  We ended up going all the way to Sportsmen Dam Rd. and then back to Voyer and home.  Mark figures it was probably about 2 ½ miles.  We saw a deer along the way but that was it for the wildlife.  The dogs came home muddy, exhausted, happy and full of ticks!  We found more than a dozen between the 3 dogs and us.  I still have the creepy-crawlies.  Blech!

It’s going to be early to bed for all of us.  The spring peepers are peeping us a lovely lullaby.

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2 Responses to Northwoods Journal 5/3/2013

  1. It sounds like a very pleasant day, other than the ticks. 😉


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