Spring’s Persistence Pays Off

Today is May Day, and the blustery winds off Lake Superior are doing their best to prevent Spring from fully showing herself.  Patience must be a virtue when waiting for Spring in northern Minnesota.  We are well into April before the first colorful signs appear.

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A world in miniature comes alive as the longer days of (at least periodic) sunshine warm the ground.

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Delicate blossoms unfold themselves on the drab floor of last year’s greenery.

Spring Garden Flowers 20160417 8

Scilla, crocus, snowdrops … the welcome first signs of renewal after the never-ending cold, gray months of winter.

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April is a promise that May is bound to keep. ~ Hal Borland

Ciao! ~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Nothing says Spring like an outdoor track meet!  The chill in the air as the sun goes down and the lights come on, the cheers of teams on the sidelines as the 4×400 relay wraps up the day’s events.   High school students giving it their all around the track.  Every meet has moments of inspiration that make spectating worthwhile.

Diving for the finish line

 Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.  ~ Steve Prefontaine

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. ”Spring” was this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

The Lake Comes Alive

It must be Spring.  The ice is disappearing.  Ships are coming in, and ships are going out. Lake Superior is a busy place.

Lake Superior from Hawk Ridge

The ice has been stubborn, but the ships push through.

Pushing through Lake Superior's ice

As they travel out into the open expanse of the Lake, the ships seem to float on a surreal horizon.

Lake Superior's Ship Traffic in Spring

The U.S. Coast Guard cutters have been hard at work, keeping the shipping lanes open for ships like the American Spirit, a 1,000-footer that typically hauls taconite.

The American Spirit followed by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter on Lake Superior

The American Spirit’s bow pushes through the slushy waters, steaming ahead to open waters.

The American Spirit pushes out on Lake Superior

Even as the American Spirit moves past the ice-filled waters, the cutter continues its work, waiting for the next ship to pass through.

Canada Geese on Lake Superior

The beautiful contrasts of brilliant blue sky reflecting off Superior’s surface and the glittering ice shards remaining on shore created a perfect canvas for the convoy on the water.

Spring Shipping Convoy on Lake Superior

For the latest in Duluth’s shipping activity and schedules, the Duluth Shipping News is your guide.  Your can read more about the American Spirit’s journey in the April 15th shipping news entry.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Heelllooo, Spring? Are You There?

Day 2 of “Spring” in Duluth, Minnesota.

Snowman by Lake Superior

A fresh, wet, heavy blanket of snow coated the city.

Canal Park scene in Duluth

Lake Superior will not release her grip on the ice-covered shore.

Lake Superior Lighthouse in Canal Park, Duluth

As the lights come on in Canal Park, one could be convinced it was Christmas time, as opposed to approaching April.

Snowy March scene in Duluth, Minnesota

“At least it’s pretty” is wearing thin …

Snowed-in William A. Irvin in March ~ Duluth, Minnesota

… but, at least it’s pretty, right?!

Ciao! ~ Kat

Bohemian Parties and Murmurations

The Bohemians gathered and partied until one of their own crashed the event and ended the fun, all on a Sunday afternoon in northern Minnesota.

Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
The coast is clear — party time!
Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
Calling to his friends, the party invitation is issued.
Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
One, two, three, four . . . let’s get this party started!
Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
Incoming . . . party crasher!
Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
The remaining guests look miffed, as the party crasher remained unconcerned.

Bohemian Waxwings are such handsome birds; often confused with Cedar Waxwings, the rusty-orange undertails of this group of birds collecting at the water dish confirmed they were the larger Bohemian variety.  A handy guide for telling the two varieties apart can be found on the 10,000 Birds website.  During the fall and spring migration seasons, we often have large groups of waxwings congregating in our crabapple and mountain ash trees, gorging themselves until they are intoxicated on the berries.

The late spring or extended winter (depending on whether you’re a glass half-full versus glass half-empty kind of person) has resulted in extended migration patterns for a large variety of birds, making for some interesting sights and birdwatching.  As I ran errands yesterday, I was treated to the awesome vision of what appeared to be over 100 white pelicans circling overhead, twisting and turning on the wind currents — akin to a murmuration on a smaller scale (although large groups of pelicans are referred to as “squadrons” or “pods” rather than “murmurations”).  It brought to mind that captivating starling murmuration video, recorded by two young women from their canoe:

 

Take the time to let the simple wonder of nature touch you at least once every day.

Ciao! ~ Kat