Outdoors Posts

On underwater microphones and the acoustics of Lake Superior

In this video, the Embassy‘s Sub Superior Festival (feat. Troy Rogers AKA Robot Rickshaw) teams up with Cafe Scientifique Twin Ports. They address the technical challenges of producing an underwater music festival, review favorite moments, and dream about the future of Sub Superior. Broadcast live from the Embassy’s secret Industrial Temple.

Duluth Kayak Rescue

Via WCCO-TV, reported July 15.

Late on the Water

I arrive at the paddleboard shop on Barker’s Island in Superior just before noon. Because I learned to paddleboard last spring, and because winters are long, I need a refresher on how to attach the folding seat and ankle strap to the board. (I don’t need a crash course on how to tie my shoes—they have Velcro straps.) Last year after I connected the seat and strap to my board, they stayed put until I deflated it in the fall. Heather, co-owner of North Shore SUP, helps me. (She’s friendly and supportive and would show me how to tie my shoes, if needed. It took me a long time to learn to tie them when I was a kid.)

It’s July 16, and I will paddleboard for the first time this summer. I’ve lost a month because a long, cold spring latched onto the heels of a long, cold winter. Toss in stormy weather plus the three days a week I provide daycare for my grandkids, and getting out on my board slid to the bottom of my list.

Lake Superior Whale Shark

 

Nantucket Sleigh Ride Via Loon

When I was young, my family went fishing on a lake south of Duluth. While casting our lines, we noticed a loon swimming nearby, calling in an unusual manner. As outdoorsy types, we had heard many loons before, but this one sounded more plaintive than normal, like it was in distress.

The loon kept circling near us, which was also odd for this rather standoffish species. My dad thought it needed help, so we canoed toward it.

We soon saw the problem. A homemade fishing pole crafted from a large branch trailed about fifteen feet behind the bird. My dad grabbed the pole, thinking he could just pull the loon toward us and find where the fishing hook was lodged.

Ha! He underestimated the power of the loon. Upon feeling the tug of the line, the loon took off and dove underwater. My dad kept his grip on the pole, and the loon proceeded to pull our canoe — and the three or four of us in it — through the water at a good clip.

Duluth: Bird City

Raptors: The sight of a bald eagle stirs a person. I used to live in more southerly climes where they were less common, so it has been a treat to see one every now and then up here. I saw them a lot after my divorce, when I had to drive halfway through Minnesota every two weeks to exchange my daughter like a prisoner. I pointed out bald eagles to my child on these drives, barely able to contain my excitement, while she did that kid act of being bored with everything. Later I visited her at her mom’s house in a rural Winona valley. There was a field of tilled earth on the dirt road to their home, and it was positively overrun with bald eagles. As I drove past, I saw fifty of them together walking around in the mud with their dirty talons. I said to my daughter, “Now I understand why you’re never excited to see a bald eagle — you see so many of them every day, they’re like rats here.” She said, “Yup.”

Hawk Ridge overruns with bird nerds. Hawks soar over the city alone or in twos and threes, or by the dozen during migration. Cold air off the lake hits the warm hillside, a clash of airmasses creating lift — they love that. Unimaginably high with laser vision watching for unwary pigeons or rabbits, eating them on the roofs on people’s houses. I saw feathers raining past my window one day. By the time I figured out a hawk was eating a pigeon on my roof, it was gone.

Washington Post: Duluth a “mountain biking paradise”

Recent Aquaman banners from PDD’s Facebook page

 

Squirrel Fighting Scaffold Match: Furball McGraw vs. Crazy Carl

In the latest backyard battle in Duluth, Furball McGraw takes on the squirrel-weight champion of the world, Crazy Carl in a scaffold match. Video by Brian Luoma of Wild Cam North.

Best wolf pup howls from Voyageurs National Park

The Voyageurs Wolf Project is trying to raise $100,000 to continue studying 10 different wolf packs. If an adorable montage of the best wolf pup howls can’t get that done, nothing can.

The Voyageurs Wolf Project is focused on understanding the summer ecology of wolves in Voyageurs National Park, about 100 miles north of Duluth.

PDD Quiz: Duluth Parks III

With summer (hopefully) upon us, it’s time for a third quiz on Duluth parks (find previous entries here and here). As with the previous two entries, Duluth’s Historical Parks: Their First 160 Years, by Tony Dierckins and Nancy S. Nelson, was an invaluable source of information.

The next PDD quiz will cover headlines from May 2022; it will be published on May 29. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by May 26.

Northern Lights Time Lapse

Seth Trobec put together this time-lapse compilation video to document the two best aurora displays he has witnessed in 2022. One of the two scenes was shot about 80 miles northwest of Duluth.

“The scene with the stream and trees across a field was set near Calio, North Dakota the night of March 30-31,” Trobec wrote in the YouTube description. “The other lightshow in the video was viewed from Deadhorse Lake near Marcell, Minnesota. I took thousands of pictures with my Sony A7riii, each of those nights, and compiled the best parts for this video and set it to music.”

One Year on a Northwoods Hiking Trail

The Voyageurs Wolf Project has yet another trail-camera video montage showing the array of wildlife that inhabits Voyageurs National Park. The footage is from fall 2020 to fall 2021.

Great Lakes Now episode “Mushrooms and Mobsters”

Regional news from Great Lakes Now, an initiative of Detroit Public Television. At 21:00 there is a blurb about a proposal in Congress for a Federal Great Lakes Authority, envisioned as a “one-stop shop” for Great Lakes promotion, education, and environmental restoration.

Wolves, Otter, Beaver and a Red Fox

This scene, recorded late in the fall from a beaver dam at Voyageurs National Park, features all four of the critters in the headline. Of particular note are the otters and their delightful belly slides across the ice.

The footage is from the Voyageurs Wolf Project, focused on understanding the summer ecology of wolves in the park. At the end of the clip, one of the wolves becomes interested in the trail camera and takes it down to chew on.

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