Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Monday, June 6, 2011

Take a hike!

Last Saturday, Russ and I took a bit of an interlude after a hectic week. My friend Andrew Slade, a superior naturalist in every way, just wrote a wonderful book, Hiking the North Shore, and was doing a book signing at Gooseberry Falls State Park, so Russ and I drove up there to get our copy of the book signed and see his program.
Andrew Slade, Author of Hiking the North Shore

Andrew's book claims to provide directions for taking "50 fabulous day hikes in Minnesota's spectacular Lake Superior region," and from what Russ and I could see, it lives up to that description. Since it was a beautiful day and we were already at Gooseberry Falls, we decided to try out one of the hikes, #17, the "Five Falls Loop." This was a 3.0 mile hike that brought us to all five waterfalls in the state park. I brought both cameras so we moseyed along, taking shots of the river and falls, wildflowers (there were still plenty of spring ones in bloom!), and birds.

Gooseberry Falls



Chestnut-sided Warbler in blooming Juneberry tree

Russ is really picky about books with maps and directions, and he found Andrew's book really useful. The hikes vary from very short ones to ones that would last all day for someone in really good shape--I'll have to work myself up for those!


Andrew isn't a serious birder, but he does have tips for finding some species, including the one most Minnesota birders think of when they think of the North Shore (well, those birders who think like me, anyway), the Black-throated Blue Warbler. I actually heard one when we started out on this hike! They don't really belong in Gooseberry Falls State Park, and the habitat where I heard this one was wrong, but I think quite a few birds were still migrating this weekend. The photo was taken near Eagle River, WI, during the last week of June, during the Elderhostel I taught.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

We had such a great time that we've decided we're going to aim to do all 50 hikes in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. We've lived in Minnesota for lo these 30 years, and we've both been to a lot of places along the shore, but we somehow never took the time to do any serious hiking. It's about time we started! I'll be keeping track of the birds we see on each jaunt, too.

Bird List for the day (not bad considering we started when it was almost noon):

Location: Gooseberry Falls State Park
Observation date: 6/4/11
Number of species: 36

Common Merganser - Mergus merganser 1
Ruffed Grouse - Bonasa umbellus 1
Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus 2
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura 2
Herring Gull - Larus argentatus 6
Black-billed Cuckoo - Coccyzus erythropthalmus 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) - Colaptes auratus [auratus Group] 1
Alder Flycatcher - Empidonax alnorum 3
Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus 3
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata 1
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos 6
Common Raven - Corvus corax 3
Tree Swallow - Tachycineta bicolor 1
Black-capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapillus 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis 5
Veery - Catharus fuscescens 4
American Robin - Turdus migratorius 2
Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum 4
Nashville Warbler - Oreothlypis ruficapilla 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler - Dendroica pensylvanica 5
Magnolia Warbler - Dendroica magnolia 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler - Dendroica caerulescens 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) - Dendroica coronata coronata 2
Black-throated Green Warbler - Dendroica virens 8
Blackburnian Warbler - Dendroica fusca 2
Pine Warbler - Dendroica pinus 1
Black-and-white Warbler - Mniotilta varia 1
American Redstart - Setophaga ruticilla 7
Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapilla 6
Mourning Warbler - Oporornis philadelphia 1
Canada Warbler - Wilsonia canadensis 1
Chipping Sparrow - Spizella passerina 2
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia 2
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis 5
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus 1
American Goldfinch - Spinus tristis 2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(