Woodpeckers and Lighthouses

A Pair of Pileated Woodpeckers

Well, we never did fly the drone today. The problem wasn’t wind, which there has hardly been a breath of all day, but rain. It is a fair weather drone. Still, we got to do and see a lot of stuff. Our first stop was the old reliable Point Iroquois lighthouse, but the drizzle moved in just before we got there. It wasn’t raining hard enough to damage the drone, at least in my opinion, but it would have likely covered the camera lens with rain droplets, thus defeating the effort.

Our stop there was not without reward. Anne first glimpsed them and we both heard them, but I persisted and got the shot. There were two of them and both of them were pecking on the same tree. Arguably, the largest woodpecker in North America, except for those still hoping that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has not yet gone extinct, the Pileated Woodpecker has been a bird that I have wanted to photograph for some time now. More of a northern bird, we saw one once in Saint Louis during the winter, but it was elusive and I only got a crummy picture of it. This bird was the model for the Woody the Woodpecker cartoon character.

Vermilion Point Lighthouse and Lifesaving Station

Shutout from drone flying at Iroquois, Dan suggested Vermilion, which is a lighthouse just west of Whitefish Point. He can’t fly at Whitefish, because it is an active Coast Guard facility. None of us had ever been to Vermilion, so we were all up for the drive. We lunched in Paradise, takeout from the fish house Fresh Coast, “Always Fresh, Sometimes Frozen.” Their food truck was the only game in town. After lunch, we headed north and then west. Vermilion is at the end of a dirt road that the RAV4 had no trouble handling, but would have been too tough for the Prius. We passed a car going in and another out, but had the lighthouse to ourselves when we got there.

It is an isolated place, with no cell service. It is run by Little Traverse and is in remarkable shape. Still, it must have been kind of a lonely place to live, back in the day. It was raining there too. We didn’t see any of the Piping Plovers for which the place is famous for, too late in the season I guess. After we explored the place, it was getting late and we headed for home. It rained all the way back and is still raining tonight. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day and we can fly the drone, but it was a fun day and full of adventure. I think that we would have been too tired tonight to process any new drone footage anyway.

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