Sunday, June 24, 2012

Awash in nature

Yesterday, June 24th, John left Duluth for our old stomping grounds, Sax-Zim. He took the long gravel roads into the area. Didn't see, maybe, or hear, maybe, anything new, then it started to rain so he closed up shop. Paved roads seemed to make more sense to return to Duluth. Every paved road he went on either was closed due to flooding or closed due to 'water on the road'. The water wasn't very deep so he chanced it a few times, took some questionable detours and managed to get to Floodwood, aptly named. There were some MDOT repair crews there who assured him he could drive past one more barrier, carefully, and get back on a major road to Duluth.

Today, John went back on the gravel roads into Sax-Zim and stopped to do some recording. In his earphones he heard, galumph, galumph, galumph, turned around and saw a black bear running away down the road. The footprint dwarfed a quarter set for scale. John had been recording the winnowing of snipe and interesting bird songs, bonus bear galumph. Now, besides pictures to process, he will have hours of recordings to puzzle through.

John managed to head west without major road outages and stopped by my sister's place near Ponsford Minnesota. At the wilderness headquarters nearby, he saw a female Hooded Merganser with chicks, a male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and an Upland Plover. It is nice to see birds on their breeding grounds even if you saw them in migration. At least the HOME was new.

Will he see any target birds in the Dakotas? Will the Colorado fires abate? And just what is John's year-to-date species total?

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