26 May 2014

Two Rare Birds in 5 Days

On May 21-23,
a Lazuli bunting appeared in Orono, MN

The Lazuli Bunting with an Indigo Bunting

A few days later.....

At dusk on May 25th, a Yellow-crowned Night Heron 
did a quick stop on the top of a dead tree.
Although common further south, this species is rare in MN 
and one of the first birds to be recorded this spring north of Missouri.

16 March 2014

Fall in the Lake Garden

 Even in late autumn, the Noerenberg Garden radiates warmth.

In November there is blue sky and water 
to contrast with the browns and bright yellows at the Garden.

Noerenberg's tamarack trees put on a late show of bright yellow 
before they drop their needles.
Tamaracks are both coniferous and deciduous trees 
but are not considered an evergreen.

Noerenberg ending another garden season in glory.

11 December 2012

A Study in Brown


 Brown-eyed Susan with Goldenrod


Immature Bald Eagle

 A touch of green

04 July 2012

Ulysses S. Grant's Home in Galena IL

Home given to Grant by residents of Galena in 1865 as thanks for his Civil War service.

Grant lived at this house until serving as President in 1869-77.  His family continued to make occasional visits until 1880. After his death, his children donated the house as a memorial in 1904.

Grant's accurate insight of the coming changes shaping the future of America from his highly-regarded memoirs which were published by his friend, Mark Twain:

"Prior to the rebellion the great mass of the people were satisfied to remain near the scenes of their birth. In fact an immense majority of the whole people did not feel secure against coming to want should they move among entire strangers. So much was the country divided into small communities that localized idioms had grown up, so that you could almost tell what section a person was from by hearing him speak. Before, new territories were settled by a "class"; people who shunned contact with others; people who, when the country began to settle up around them, would push out farther from civilization. Their guns furnished meat, and the cultivation of a very limited amount of the soil, their bread and vegetables. All the streams abounded with fish. Trapping would furnish pelts to be brought into the States once a year, to pay for necessary articles which they could not raise—powder, lead, whiskey, tobacco and some store goods. Occasionally some little articles of luxury would enter into these purchases—a quarter of a pound of tea, two or three pounds of coffee, more of sugar, some playing cards, and if anything was left over of the proceeds of the sale, more whiskey.
Little was known of the topography of the country beyond the settlements of these frontiersmen. This is all changed now. The war begot a spirit of independence and enterprise. The feeling now is, that a youth must cut loose from his old surroundings to enable him to get up in the world. There is now such a commingling of the people that particular idioms and pronunciation are no longer localized to any great extent; the country has filled up "from the centre all around to the sea"; railroads connect the two oceans and all parts of the interior; maps, nearly perfect, of every part of the country are now furnished the student of geography.
The war has made us a nation of great power and intelligence. We have but little to do to preserve peace, happiness and prosperity at home, and the respect of other nations. Our experience ought to teach us the necessity of the first; our power secures the latter."

-Ulysses S. Grant

Hosta garden leading to the home

06 December 2011

Bald Eagles on Lake Minnetonka

Twelve bald eagles resting in a tree on Lake Minnetonka.
The eagles are hunting and congregating in large numbers on their way south 
in search for open water on the Mississippi River as the lakes freeze.
Abundant fish and a successful recovery program
have contributed to Minnesota having the largest population of bald eagles 
in the lower 48 states, second only in the country to Alaska.

29 July 2011

Balancing Act

Mallard ducklings on a log

Tree frog on a steel cable

20 March 2011

The End of Winter

A few images as the season ends


Early morning Frost

Hornet's Nest

19 February 2011

Big Sister Love

The neat saga of bear life in the north woods continues.
As the day are getting longer and the cubs bigger, life is bustling in the den.

Good views of the cubs are now more frequent.
The yearling cub Hope is now playing with her younger siblings

22 January 2011

The Ultimate Bear Pile

There are four bears in this screen shot from a web cam. 
The bear on top (whose face is showing) is exactly one year old today.
She is lying on her mother named Lily.
Underneath this 300lb-plus pile of bear are two cubs born to Lily yesterday.
Because her cubs are less than a pound each with little fur
Lily keeps them protected close to her body and 
occasionally breathing on them to provide warmth.
This amazing perspective via the internet from the north woods of Minnesota

Both bears looking down at the new cubs.
All yearling bears share their first winter with their mothers in a den 
before going off on their own their second year.  
Usually the mother bear has cubs every other year so she is not pregnant 
when sharing a den.  This is an unusual case of a mixed-age litter 
and the first to be recorded on a web cam.
The cubs will not be very visible until they get bigger 
and the weather starts to warm out of the subzero range this time of year.  

For now the cubs can be heard easily when they nurse or cry 
and glimpses of them will happen when Lily cleans them or 
rakes in fresh bedding (photo above).

24 November 2010

Making Ice

A low of 7 degrees and a wind yesterday morning aided in removing the last bit of warmth 
off the top layer of water in Wayzata Bay.  

According to the DNR: "Water is most dense (heaviest) at 39º F (4º C) and as temperature increases or decreases from 39º F, it becomes increasingly less dense (lighter). In summer and winter, lakes are maintained by climate in what is called a stratified condition. Less dense water is at the surface and more dense water is near the bottom.
During late summer and autumn, air temperatures cool the surface water causing its density to increase. The heavier water sinks, forcing the lighter, less dense water to the surface. This continues until the water temperature at all depths reaches approximately 39º F. Because there is very little difference in density at this stage, the waters are easily mixed by the wind. The sinking action and mixing of the water by the wind results in the exchange of surface and bottom waters which is called 'turnover'."

Last look at open water in 2010