As I write this, I am preparing for a trip up north. As we drive north we will follow the ecotone between the prairies and the deciduous woodlands, then track the ecotone between the prairies and the coniferous woodlands. Then we will make a turn and drive into the coniferous zone, cross the Mississippi, and then with a couple of small but palpable jumps in elevation and another hour and a half drive north, enter the lake region. Here, the primary vegetation cover certain times of the year is the nearly invisible diatom and algae layer on the top of the clear lakes, the bog plants, and the marsh grasses, even though the white pine gets most of the credit for making the place look pretty. I surmise that the dominant fauna is flies, broadly speaking (mosquitoes are a form of fly) but the deer, wolves, bear and beaver are far more often fetishized in the locally hawked wooden and plastic icons.
But really, we come here for the birds.
Continue reading What makes for a good bird?