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Outdoors Posts

Merganser Cam

Finally got that merganser footage! These are juvenile Common Mergansers, diving waterfowl. They were with an adult with a red head and darker feathers. [Video stills here.]

How to Get in the Water

Fish Cam

I saw a family of mergansers diving in shallow water (~18 inches deep) by these rocks where I’d seen little fish before. After the birds had gone, I set my camera down there for an hour and 40 minutes in three different locations. Here I have condensed all the fish that swam by = three minutes of footage. If you wonder what mergansers eat, this is like a drive-thru restaurant for them. I would appreciate any help with identifications, there are at least 4-5 species represented.

Responding to a comment about how some of the fish seem curious about the camera, part of the reason may be it is simply blocking their way. This area of interspersed boulders is a maze-like bunch of trails for them to zoom around in all day. To keep my camera from floating, I had to pile rocks on top of it, essentially blocking one of their thoroughfares. Several fish come up to it in transit and squeeze over top of it or around, others turn back and go the way they came, adjusting their regular routes.

Lastly I will add that several times, pairs of fish (I don’t know what kind they are) seem to be playing. I think these may be the same pairs each time they appear. I have named the most prominent ones Herbert and Gerbert.

Dead Chipmunk Floats By

Spent all day setting up the underwater camera to get the mergansers diving in the area, but they were pretty uncooperative. Then this dead chipmunk floated by, so the day wasn’t a total waste haha. Anyway you can see what I’d wager is a talon wound on its side. Chipmunks live (and die I guess) all along the water’s edge, I frequently hear their signature chirping. Lots of vegetal flotsam in the water today too.

Survey of Lake Superior’s Summer Tidepools

Exploring Madeline Island’s Rocky Shore

Wading/rock-hopping up Madeline Island’s beautiful bay shore of sandstone boulders. My little love letter to the island.

Madeline Island Diving Board

PDD Quiz: Parks of Duluth

The summer weather is upon us and the outdoors are calling. Duluth is home to 133 parks and green spaces, according to the city of Duluth website. How many parks can you identify from photographs and brief descriptions? Fire up the quiz and find out!

Our next quiz, reviewing June happenings, will be posted on June 25. E-mail question suggestions to Alison Klawiter at [email protected] by June 22.

Hiking the North Country Trail in Wisconsin: Wood Tick Flats

You can’t start hiking the North Country Trail at the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin without first hiking in from one direction or the other. If you want to go southeast through Wisconsin, for example, you need to start on Wild Valley Road in Minnesota and hike in for 3.2 miles.

I don’t know how far into Wisconsin you’ll get if you try that. As of the date of this post, the interactive map on northcountrytrail.org is unclear. It’s hard to tell if the trail ends cold in the woods, dumps out on a highway or carries on uninterrupted.

On the gorgeous Sunday afternoon of June 4, I tried to solve this mystery and failed. It was still a fun scouting mission, though, and that’s what I’ll share in this essay. Obviously I could call the trail association or maybe spend an hour scrolling through Facebook posts to obtain the knowledge I seek about the state of the trail, but I’d still want to see it for myself, so why bother with the hands-off research, right?

It has been thoroughly documented in a series of 13 essays on this very website that I slowly and somewhat methodically hiked all of Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail in sporadic spurts from 2000 to 2016. That journey started at the Canadian border and ended on the Wisconsin border. But the trail doesn’t stop at either of those points. The SHT is part of a much longer trail — the North Country National Scenic Trail — which extends to Lake Sakakawea State Park in North Dakota to the west and Crown Point in New York to the east.

Drone footage from the North Shore of Lake Superior

Twin Cities videographer Matt Smith of Odyssey Visuals recently took a quick weekend trip up the North Shore and captured these images from his drone.

Fly Fishing for Brookies

Friends Alyssa and Max play hooky with brookies. (Alyssa is also teaching fly tying at the Beer ‘n’ Bugs event at Bent Paddle on Friday [event time is listed incorrectly in the calendar, should read 6pm-9pm].)

Piedmont Plunge

Often helmet-cam videos of mountain bike runs have a music soundtrack. This one by Baylor Litsey, shot on the Piedmont Mountain Bike Trails in Duluth, sticks with the natural sounds for a more realistic glimpse of the trail-riding experience.

Memorial Day Northern Lights Real Time Video

Richard Hoeg captures the sights of the Northern Lights and sounds of loons in the distance in this video shot over Little Stone Lake, about 40 miles northeast of Duluth. The video was taken on Hoeg’s Sony A6000 with an ISO setting of 3,200.

Standing Still on a Moving Ice Sheet

Magical Duluth.

One From the Vault

2014