Monday, July 11, 2016


 After a three year hiatus, "A Door to the Superior National Forest" is open again.  Lot's of "fur and feathers" have passed in front of my camera lens during the layoff.  Hopefully in the coming days, I can catch up on some of the more interesting events associated with the birds and animals of the arrowhead.

2014 was the most brutal winter I have ever encountered in my 75 years of Minnesota winters.  In the  Minnesota arrowhead, 90 days of below zero temperatures were recorded that winter.  On our Cedar Ridge we had 144 total inches of snow.  Over the ridges of the Sawtooth Mountains, more than 200 inches of snow fell; with blizzard like winds that seemed unending.  I used to love Minnesota winters, but this was plain awful. 

I still managed to get out and photograph, but my snowshoe activity was curtailed because of the deep snow.  The constant below zero temps never allowed any gradient snow melting, so when I tried walking in my snowshoes I sunk to my knees.  This was not good winter transportation for an old dude.  

The deer were having equal problems in the deep snow.  Many were walking the plowed gravel and forestry roads, trying to reach the browse in that manner.  I witnessed a deer jumping into a ditch and sunk up to her shoulders in the soft snow.  It was not fit for man or beast.

My gray fox were seldom seen and I worried how they were doing in the deep snow.  I would seldom see a fisher or a pine marten, but I managed to get good shots of a lynx in February.

That winter, we had many of our "usual suspect" birds that we enjoyed watching and feeding.  However, the new years treat for Cedar Ridge was the January day our friend "Bernie the Boreal Chickadee" flew in.

Bernie showed up every day for seeds and his favorite food, peanut butter. 

Bernie was the first Boreal Chickadee we ever had at our feeders.  It seemed strange that living in a boreal forest, for years we had to drive 100 miles to Sax-Zim Bog in order to see this species of chickadee.

This tough little bird stayed until almost the end of March.  When the weather got warmer, he took off for parts unknown.  We were hoping he would return in the winter of 2015, but we never saw him again.

"The chickadee and nuthatch are more inspiring society than statesmen and philosophers, and we shall return to these last as to more vulgar companions." Henry David Thoreau


  1. Hello Dave, it has been a long while since we last talked. Hope you and everyone is ok. I have had a rough go for the last three years, haven't shot for awhile but finally I think I see that light at the end of that damn tunnel.
    Very happy to see your friends. Hope to see more soon