I spent much of last week cruising the Boreal forests and lakes in far northern Minnesota, in places that just beg for a canoe and a paddle. I took a kayak and a paddle instead.
Mostly I went there to fish and ruminate – election years do that to me – but I can’t go anywhere without a camera, just in case.
While I didn’t catch a lot of fish, there were enough. And there were critters I don’t get to see very often in my home country of scrub oak barrens and white pine.
I camped next to beautiful little lake with no one else around and one morning I woke up to see a moose swimming out to a little island in the lake. When she got out of the water I could see she was wearing a radio telemetry collar, and she appeared very pregnant.
I suppose she swam to that island to give birth. Islands are just a little bit safer for newborns in this land of hungry black bears and gray wolves. Anyway, that why I think she was there. Minnesota moose are having a tough time right now, so I hope she is successful in raising a calf or two this year.
I also saw three Pine martens in a 24 hour period, but none paused long enough to have their photo taken. I stumbled along through the spruce bogs trying to keep up with them, but that’s an impossibly tall order for this old man.
I did photograph a couple of Spruce grouse, one male and one female, but the lighting wasn’t very good for the male, I’m afraid.
There were lots of Snowshoe hares, all wearing their summer coats of brown.
Just their feet kept the white fur of winter. I found part of one unlucky hare that had been a recent meal for a… I don’t know… the romantic in me wants it to be a Lynx. It could be, they live there with the hares.
There were too many ruffed grouse to count, the males all busy proving why they’re called “ruffed grouse.”
I also came across a Sharp-shinned hawk that was busy consuming a very long-tailed rodent of some kind. He gulped it down in a hurry when I arrived, and flew off to parts unknown. I know how he felt. I’ve gulped down too many meals in a hurry – very few of them were rodent though… so far as I know.