The Emergence of Spring

More and more signs of spring are appearing daily in the northwoods.  We have had some great spring weather and the rivers are free from winters icy grip and flowing free to Lake Superior.  The inland lakes are still melting and we have had recent rain.  The waterfalls are fantastic right now for spring viewing!  The woods are almost free of snow in our area, though some pockets of good snow cover still exist in some areas.  Just over a week ago I saw minus 17 one morning…  The coming of spring has brought out the wildlife in force, too.  In the past month I have seen many grouse, both roughed and spruce.  Pine marten and fisher, a few of both.  The robins, flickers, geese and ducks are all back on the roadways and open waters.  Signs of wolves on the roads have also been observed.  I had one brief sighting and i’ll include a photo below.  And the moose!  The moose seem to have reappeared after being fairly scarce the past few winter months.  Nice to see things coming “alive” in the forest.
Things will be greening up soon, flowers blooming, boats on the lakes, fish on the stringer and before we know it, we’ll be cooling our way into fall, wondering where spring and summer went.  Get out often and enjoy the seasons as they come and go.
Here are photos from the past few weeks as winter let go…

Bull moose skirting a creek edge in Superior National Forest. I’ve noticed a lot of moose activity in the form of tracks, scat and a couple sightings!
One of many spruce grouse finding gravel on the roadway… Superior National Forest

 

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One of many spruce grouse finding gravel on the roadway… Superior National Forest

 

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Just a small poke of antler coming up on this bull moose this week.
Like I said, the waterfalls right now… Caribou Falls on the Caribou river. I have a previous blog post about this river.

 

Canadian geese – Spring arrivals at Grand Marais harbor.

 

Bald Eagle at the Baker Lake entry point to the BWCA last weekend. Some open water and waterfoul had his attention…
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Just after ice-out on this little beaver pond.  Already out and working on the lodge…
Another look at a beauty moose this week in Superior National Forest.

 

Thank you all for taking a look at some spring scenes from the past couple weeks.  I’ll update y’all next month.  In the meantime, you can find weekly photos on Facebook and prints and other photos to view HERE.  Take care, and Happy Spring!

Happy New Year – 2016

Happy New Year, friends!  I thought I’d share some recent photos from the past week or so.  Winter has been slowly trying to arrive in the Northland.  Inland there is plenty of snow for skiing and some snowmobiling and the ski hill at Lutsen is open with a brand new gondola servicing Moose Mountain.  The lakes are frozen, though not where they should be for this time of year.  It was 33 degrees this morning by the shore and rain/snow mix all day.  It does not feel like January!  I have had some oportunity to capture some fun scenes and photos that I haven’t shared on Facebook so here are some recent ones.  Hope everyone is having a great start to the New Year.

These first photos were taken on New Year’s Eve Day at a jobsite I have been working at.  The shore was coated with spray from big waves when the temps were colder and the winds were right.  Amazing ice…

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Ice coated cedar on The Shore…
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Ice curtains…
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Natural ice sculptures…
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12/31/2015 – Croftville Ice

New Year’s Eve was pretty great too.  After an early NYE party with family, I planned to go see the fireworks at Lutsen Mountains.  On my way up Highway 61 I noticed some great northern lights through a hole in the clouds.  I knew we had mostly thick clouds forecast, so I hadn’t planned on aurora.  I was able to get the camera and get to a spot for about five photos before the clouds closed up and the sky went dark with clouds.  The skies started clearing later and the lights were very faintly visible over the course of the evening.  I never made it out to the fireworks!  Here are a couple of the northern lights over the Temperance River along the Sawbill Trail near Tofte…

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New Year’s Eve Aurora!!!! 12/31/2015
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Temperance River and the northern lights – New Year’s Eve 2015

These last few are random photos from the past week or so.  Nice waves in Grand Marais, MN and some friends that hang out in my trees.

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Southwest winds and big rollers crashing into the breakwall at Grand Marais, MN this week.
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Chattering squirrel in my tree…
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Chickadee catching a snowflake? 🙂
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One of the many that regularly drop in for a bite to eat…
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Blue jay jumping

Thanks for taking the time to check out this post.  I appreciate all the support, print purchases, new followers and feedback on Facebook and here.  Check back for updates and Photos Of The Week(link on the sidebar)  Stay warm, friends.
Tom

January

Winter is in full swing and the thermometer has really shown it in recent weeks.  Sounds like we are in for a reprieve from the sub-zero and windy conditions for a spell, though!  The recent cold has been fantastic for winter photography along the lake and in the woods.  Here are a few favorites that you may or may not have seen from recent hikes, drives and trips to The Lake.
You can see weekly posts on Facebook, too – www.facebook.com/ThomasjSpenceImages

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The High Falls on the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park. A MUST see in any season, though I prefer the winter ice that forms and the contrast of the snow on the cliff faces. Although, spring melt is a fantastic time to be there… and after a summer rain…
A winter hike up to Palisade Head.  Some bilion years ago, rhyolitic lava flows formed these impressive formations along Lake Superior.
A winter hike up to Palisade Head near Silver Bay, MN.  Some billion years ago, rhyolitic lava flows formed these impressive formations along Lake Superior.
The freighter Walter J McCarthy Jr. passes Schroeder, MN.  The ships have been a regular site as the season comes to a close and the final loads are delivered around the Great Lakes.  The locks will be closed in just a few days until the ice lets up in March.
The freighter Walter J McCarthy Jr. passes Schroeder, MN. The ships have been a regular site as the season comes to a close and the final loads are delivered around the Great Lakes. The locks will be closed in just a few days until the ice lets up in March.

Otter

I came across a the remnants of an otter party!  These playful critters love to run and slide in the snow and on the ice.  They had made a hole near a spring and appeared to have had a great time sliding and slipping!
I came across a the remnants of an otter party! These playful critters love to run and slide in the snow and on the ice. They had made a hole near a spring and appeared to have had a great time sliding and slipping!
And finally, the winter moose.  I have been happy to catch up with a group of moose quite often over the past few months.  Glad to report that I am still seeing a few of them out and about.  I hope you get to see one of these fantastic animals on your next visit to the North Shore.
Winter moose!!!! I have been happy to catch up with a group of moose quite often over the past few months. Glad to report that I am still seeing a few of them out and about. I hope you get to see one of these fantastic animals on your next visit to the North Shore.
The Full Wolf Moon rising through the sea smoke on a VERY frigid January evening.  Put a Lake Superior moon rise on your bucket list!
And finally, the Full Wolf Moon rising through the sea smoke on a VERY frigid January evening. Put a Lake Superior moon rise on your bucket list!  I try not to miss one when I am around The Lake at the right time.  There is a great moon/sun app called The Photographer’s Ephemeris that I would highly recommend to any sky-watcher.    

This year I will keep you updated on the changing seasons and the changing light with frequent posts, so stay tuned! 🙂

Thanks for the visit –
Tom

Caribou Falls on a July morning – 7/19/2014

The hike to Caribou Falls on the Caribou River is a fairly short and easy walk in the woods.  The stairs may be the only area that may deter some, but without them the climb down to the base of the falls would be dicey.  This is an awesome hike any time of year, but winter may be my favorite.  In the winter months we walk right up the frozen river on snowshoes or Sorels.  Find the time to do this short, rewarding hike on your next trip to the North Shore.
Until next time…  Tom

The half mile(one way) trail starts along the river just off Highway 61 at the parking area near the county line between Silver Bay and Schroeder.
The Caribou River and the unique color of the river bottom…
A solid, long staircase takes you from the ridge down to the base of Caribou Falls.
Playing with a new camera (nikon AW120) that I can take underwater 🙂
The falls and river – great area for a little picnic….
Another fine falls view at Caribou Falls.
This old cedar tree is pretty amazing the way it clings to the riverbank and weathers through the rise and fall of the river…