The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

Posts tagged “Lester Park

White-Throated Sparrow

This one was intent on picking caterpillars, so my proximity didn’t seem to mean much to it at all.

White Throated Sparrow


Springtime in Lester Park

Took a stroll through Lester Park in the morning, instead of my normal afternoon/evening. Cool to see things in different light.

Here’s a nice big white cedar down in the main playground area:

Lester Park is great, because there are some really big old trees that seem to have escaped the logging that was happening all around this area early in the 20th century. Common wisdom says that this lower section of Lester Park is old growth, although I wonder about that. I suppose it’s possible that these are actually second growth trees that are 100 – 150 years old, and that have been growing after first being logged when the Duluth area was initially settled. It’s just hard for me to imagine that so much lumber, so close to the lake would have been left. Doesn’t seem like forbearance was ┬ápart of the culture of that time. On the other hand, everyone seems to agree that this is an ‘old growth’ forest, from the city of Duluth to NRRI to local historians.

Maybe my definition of ‘old growth’ is too exclusive?

White pine seed dispersion, via the foamy Lester River:

Over on the other side of the park, the Amity Creek wasn’t as foamy:

Old growth, second growth, or just good growth, I can certainly say that I am lucky to be so close to a treasure like Lester Park.

Deer Leg

I’m guessing wolves or the coyotes got this one.

What’s interesting is how they pulled off the easiest meat, and then were done. Okay, I guess no surprise, really.

I was surprised with how soft were parts of the hooves. I was also surprised at how disinterested the dog was in this leg. I would have guessed she’d have wanted to gnaw on it for a while, but she sniffed it and moved right along. It was also interesting how, when I came back a few days later, someone had hung the leg up on a tree branch. I’ve seen a lot of deer legs on tree branches. Something in our collective psyche about that. I’ve gotta say… our collective psyche is a little weird.

Witch’s Broom

Witch’s Broom is a weird growth in a tree.

They show up as a ball of branches or a mangled cluster that comes out from a single point. I’ve seen lots of witch’s brooms, but this is the first time I’ve seen one that actually looks more or less like the end of a broom:

I wonder if certain types of trees are more prone to witch’s brooms than others. This one is on a balsam fir in Lester Park.

You can see how this could be a perfectly serviceable broom. Whether a witch would want it or not, that’s a question for another day.

The Mists of Lester Park

The atmospheric conditions were just right, and there was a very localized little band of fog right over the Lester River:


Just a couple blocks away, the scene was altogether different:

I call this one ‘Maya on the Tracks.’

Duluth is a nice place to live.

Getting Outside

Sometimes, life intervenes, and getting outside takes some doing. Happily, I did, although this time, I was on my own. It was pretty strange, taking a walk through Lester Park with a camera, and not having the dog, kids or anyone else with me. The nice thing about it was that I was able to take my time and linger, which I don’t typically do. I also wanted to get some pictures of something other than construction equipment posted!

Walking through Lester Park, I found a new (to me) wildflower – turtlehead:

Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

Turtlehead is apparently in the Snapdragon family, although I can’t say I see the resemblance in this picture. Did you know that some people have used turtlehead as a method of birth control? It’s also apparently popular browse for deer, which may explain why I haven’t noticed it before.

Back home and now it was raining. We didn’t have any hummingbirds until late July. Very strange, but we would change the water every week, just in case, and it turns out that it’s a good thing we did, because we finally have been getting some visitors. In this , you can barely see the rain bouncing off the feeder, and you can see a faint ghost of the hummer bending down to sip:

Hummingbird in the Rain

This isn’t the best picture (although, I do like the outline of the wings), but notice the dark throat on this one:

Dark Throated Ruby Throated Hummingbird

I was watching it for a while and every now and again, the feathers on the throat would flash from their plain tan/green color, to ruby, and then go back again. I’ve never seen that before! I did a little investigation, and it apparently has something to do with the angle of viewing, although I would swear that it didn’t change positions. My theory is that, in the same way that my dog can raise her hackles, the hummingbird (or any bird, probably) can flex its throat muscles, and that shift in feather placement is what I saw as flashes of color.