Common Loons – Mother and Chick

Anne and I got away for the day. We drove to Seney National Wildlife Refuge and did some birding. It was grey with overcast and rain did more than threaten, but we were pretty successful. We saw a total of six loons. Enough to form an asylum of loons. We saw enumerable Trumpeter swans. None of them were that normal pasty white in color, but rather a nice mocha brown, having spent all summer at the Seney tannin salon. I saw a pair of Pileated woodpeckers and got pictures, but they are not the best. Anne saw a pair of Belted kingfishers. We also photographed a pair of Pied-billed grebes. The rain held off for a while, but it eventually started. After that we pretty much did our birding from the front seats of our black mobile bird blind, also-known-as the Prius. We circled both the Marsh and Fishing loops. It was getting on by the time we finished both loops so we ducked down to Germfask and the Jolly Inn, for a late lunch. It rained off-and-on all the way back to the cabin, where we had been missed.

All Aglow-Go

Freighter Aglow-Go

One of the favorite pastimes up here at the cabin is the monitoring of lake boat traffic. The ore boats are the main staple, but they are seasoned with salties or ocean going vessel. Every once in a while there is also a unique ship. Up bound the lake boats ride high, like the one pictured above. It is almost riding out of the water. On the flipside, especially this year what with the high lake levels, they show hardly any freeboard at all. Sunset is the magic hour here. Looking west, you can see lake to the horizon. The setting sun paints the sky red and makes everything else looks like its on fire.

Back in the day, we used to rely upon our so-called boat-nerds to help identify the passing vessels. They knew the ships so well that with their binoculars, they were always the first to call out their names. Some of these nerds would even go so far as to monitor the boat’s radio traffic, but now those communications are  encrypted. Most of the old boat nerds have passed. Only one remains and she doesn’t come around much anymore. Fortunately, now we have an app for that. I still remember the summer when that app was introduced. She did it somewhat slyly, surreptitiously checking her iPhone and calling out names at impossible distances. She had fun while it lasted, but soon the cat was out of the bag.

Now even nearsighted me has that app. I’ve been using it to track the Niagara for the past couple of weeks. I saw it heading up and then I tracked it as it first headed west to Duluth and then as it worked its way back down. It passed the cabin today. I drove up to Point Iroquois, with the hope of seeing it under sail, but it was already in the channel and had set its sails before I got there. I almost missed it completely there. I then raced back to the cabin and was able to get the following picture of it as it passed down. Another sign of summer’s ending.

USS Niagara Downbound

It’s All Fun and Games…

…until someone’s eye gets poked out. Fortunately, none of that happened here. Brit made this movie and Dan allowed me to post it. Brit sped it up and I put it in an endless loop. Even so, it kind of makes you sorry for all those knights in shining armor. Speaking of movies, the film that Dan worked on a year and a half ago in Maine, has got a distributor. Blow the Man Down will be coming to Amazon Prime. No word yet on when. Word is that Amazon bought it on the eve of the Toronto Film Festival, to forestall other bidders. Dan and Brit left today, driving back to NYC. Bubs accompanied us four for a breakfast run to Jack’s. I am officially the baby of the cabin again. The seagulls are leaving or dying, but not staying here. The summer people are leaving. We will leave next week. After three months on the road, I cannot tell you how happy I will be to sleep in my own bed again. It is time to move onto the second phase of retirement, home improvement. At home, there are plenty of projects waiting for me to work on.