A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Owl Moon

Really it should be titled ‘No owls with a moon’ but that is not catchy.   My friend Nick and I journeyed to the great north woods of Minnesota, just outside Tofte to visit with my Uncle Willy, the self-proclaimed Owl Man.   He has been performing nesting surveys, nest box inspections, and banding of various owl species for 25 years, I think the title is accurate.  He has recorded the demise of Boreal Owl populations in Northeast Minnesota and has banded over 100 Saw Whet Owls in a single night.  You can check out his blog here: http://borealbilly.wordpress.com/ We went up to help out.   It turned out to be a very slow night with a bright moon and clear skies.

Here is one of the few owls that hit the nets that night, a Long Eared Owl.  This owl was probably attracted by the call of the Saw Whet owl recording used to lure in the owls to the nets.  These medium sized owls will often prey on the much smaller Saw Whets.  They are amazing owls.  The night was slow but the company was good.  I have been up in years past and had owls hitting the nets while I was untangling another.

After a night of owling we were treated to some of the Owl Man’s own chili and then a good nights rest.  I woke up just before dawn and took a short hike, camera in tow.

Sunrise in the North Woods is unlike many other places.  The sky gets lighter but the forest interior remains shrouded in darkness.

The sun eventually poked through the horizon over an unseen Lake Superior.

The moment the sun hit the forest floor the light layer of frost was melted.  The sun is over 93 million miles away and can scorch the world’s deserts and melt a thin layer of frost… amazing!!!

Hold-outs from summer, several flowers bloomed in vain as the frost steals the last bits of evidence from the land.

Winter is stealing its place on the land blossom by blossom as summer releases its hold.  The time of skiing, snowballs and warm fires is on its way!

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4 responses

  1. nice work, jim. actually, “owlman” was bestowed upon me by a news reporter in 1988. i prefer “assman”. good to have you and nick up. breathe and push….just like after the chili.

    October 17, 2010 at 16:49

  2. Great photos of a glorious dawn and frost on the flowers. That owl doesn’t seem very happy with you! Welcome to the Nature Blog Network.

    October 18, 2010 at 14:50

    • Thanks! It must be the owl equivalent of being abducted by aliens!

      October 18, 2010 at 16:37

  3. KATHY ANE

    JIM, YOUR PHOTOS ARE BREATHTAKING! YOU HAVE SUCH A TALENT. YOU CAN EVEN MAKE THE LAST FLOWER OF THE SUMMER LOOK BEAUTIFUL!
    LOVEYOU,
    MOM

    December 18, 2010 at 10:00

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