Daily Archives: June 12, 2009

Notes from the North Woods

Someone asked me at dinner “What time did you get up” and as I was trying to remember what time I woke up this morning, and kinda wondering why she was asking me that, my wife answered for me: “Noon.”

So I’m thinking “Why does Amanda think I woke up at noon. As a matter of fact, at noon, we were just arriving at the cabin up here …. oh … ” …brain kicks in … “we got up here a noon. Got it.”

At noon. We got Up. To The Lake. … It’s a Minnesota thing.

Today I heard about a maple tree that fell in half …. the top half fell off … because woodpeckers nested in it and overdid the nest building activity. What this misses is that a rotted tree (and this tree is rotted) has many hundreds of thousands of organisms distributed among hundreds of species, including fungi, bacteria, worms, insects, and so on, working on that woody material. The woodpeckers, being more visible, get blamed. How unfair to the woodpeckers.

The resident loons have two chicks. You could tell they have two chicks without seeing them because the territorial/warning call they give when they have chicks is distinctly different from the chick-free territorial/warning call. But from where I’m sitting right now, I can also simply look out the window and see the chicks, which are a the moment riding on mom/dad’s back. The chicks look no more than 48 hours old. I’m tempted to go over and look at the nest to see if there are any egg fragments, but I’m afraid of getting pecked to death by the loons. (Of course, they’ve probably abandoned the nest by now anyway). These loons did not produce young last year.

Caught and released innumerable bluegills this afternoon. Observed numerous painted turtles in the “lagoon,” and the bigger female turtles are pulling out all over the place to lay eggs. And, we are having a (light) lake fly hatch, and there is another cycle of tree frog lekking going on. A lot of K-strategy organisms are busily scarfing up the r-strategy outputs.

Today’s birds en route from the twin cities to Cass County, and the vicinity of Woman Lake:

  1. Bald Eagle (pair with two-year old and the two-year old)
  2. black capped chickadee
  3. blue jay
  4. brown cow bird
  5. Canada goose
  6. Common Golden eye
  7. common tern (a good one)
  8. common yellow throat
  9. crow
  10. grackle
  11. gray catbird
  12. great blue heron
  13. hairy woodpecker (breeding pair)
  14. loon (breeding pair)
  15. mallard (breeding pairs)
  16. nuthatch (heard)
  17. phoebe
  18. pileated woodpecker
  19. robin
  20. ruby throated hummingbird
  21. tree swallow
  22. trumpeter swan (pair)
  23. veery (heard)
  24. Whip-poor-will (heard)
  25. wood thrush
  26. yellow bellied sap sucker

Not a bad day for your basic casual birding! (Most of the more interesting sightings were Amanda’s. I was busy flipping fish out of the lake.)

The Time Traveler’s Wife: Book Review

With the recent news about this book being made into a movie, I’m reposting my review of it.


The Time Traveler’s Wife
This is an easy decision, and not only because I read about five pieces of fiction this year and most of them were pulp. Well, OK, that is a factor. But this book is good enough for me to blog about it and you know I only blog about important things that you need to know about.

The book is The Time Traveler’s Wife and it is by Audrey Niffenegger. Have you heard of it?

Continue reading The Time Traveler’s Wife: Book Review