Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Birding Life - Travels throughout the land - Part 3

After Leaving Kansas, we continued on our way to Michigan. The first night we stayed in Des Moines Iowa, before proceeding to the U.P. the next day. My plan was primarily to relax and let Nikki meet the rest of my family. But we had over two weeks to spend in the U.P. so of course I also had plenty of birding and other nature watching planned as well. The first few days we stayed at our families camp as seen below.

Our camp is located on 40 acres of family owned land, which my grandfather and some friends bought in the 1920s. During the depression other lands owned privately were forclosed by the bank and eventually went back to the state. As a result our camp is completely surrounded by miles and miles of the Copper Country State Forest, so it is all public land. There are a few logging roads and cross country ski trails in the area that allow a little quicker access into some nice habitats. One of my favorite areas however, is miles and miles back from any road. This area surrounding Scott Lake, has classic boreal hardwood transition forests, as well as some tamarack bogs, and northern white cedar swamps. To get back to Scott Lake you have to cross a cool fallen log that has been laying across this swamp for decades. It is covered in moss and wildflowers.

You also have to go through this narrow ravine, we have always called it Porcupine Pass.

You can also climb on top of some cool bluffs covered in Reindeer Moss.

Right before you get back to Scott Lake you walk by this cool pond, covered in Algae in the summertime.

Then you get back to Scott Lake, it is surrounded by White Pines on the ridges and Black Spruce, Tamarack bogs. I have seen lots of cool wildlife here, like Otters, bobcats and beavers.

Its nice to get back to a place like Scott Lake now and then, a place where I have never come across any other people.

On the way back there we were looking for all the wildlife that we could find, including birds, butterflies and other cool insects. A recent clearcut was full of cool early and mid successional bird specialists, like this Chestnut-sided Warbler. This species prefers brushy areas, the recent clearcut fit right in!

We also found a pair of Mourning Warblers, though somewhat shy, the Mourning Warbler is fairly common in brushy areas in much of the U.P.

We were also looking for cool insects, their were many of these beautiful Six-spotted Tiger Beetles on the trails back towards Scott Lake.

And spiders and Dragonflies, including this Wolf Spider preying on this guy!

Also seen were many Jewelwing Damselflies.

And of course many cool and new butterflies!

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

Little Wood Satyr

Common Ringlet

White Admiral

And a very friendly Northern Crescent

Stay tuned for more from our trip to the U.P.!

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