Bald Eagles nesting

I love that we can watch these bald eagles, what a wonderful resource.

from the mn DNR  We’ve come a long way, baby’

Compared to the excitement when our eagles produced their first egg on Jan. 28, the past four weeks have been a bit on the mundane side as the pair take turns sitting on their three eggs to keep them warm. Fifty or 60 years ago, that routine act of incubation played a significant role in bald eagles’ decline to where, by 1963, fewer than 500 nesting pairs of America’s national bird remained. It’s a tale that illustrates the unintended consequences of technology, and the importance of proactive environmental policy.

In the hopeful years following WWII, when science seemed to hold forth solutions for all sorts of perennial problems, the pesticide DDT emerged as a potential savior in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases and insect pests in crop and livestock production. But as use grew, it became evident that this “solution” also created its own set of serious environmental problems.

DDT and its residues washed into waterways, where they accumulated in aquatic plants and fish. Bald eagles ate the fish contaminated with DDT, and the chemical interfered with the ability of the birds to produce strong eggshells. As a result, their eggs had shells so thin that they often broke under the eagles’ own weight as they sat on them during incubation. DDT also caused other environmental problems, and was later found to cause cancer in humans.

After the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” drew national attention to the toxic effects of DDT and other pesticides, it took another 10 years before the use of DDT was banned by the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency in 1972. Following enactment of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, bald eagles were added to the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 1978. DDT wasn’t the only problem facing eagles; their numbers also suffered from habitat destruction and illegal shooting. But the ban against DDT’s use was an important first step on the road to recovery for bald eagles, which now number over 10,000 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states, with Minnesota home to the most.

The bald eagle’s comeback, to where it now has been removed from the endangered species list, was the product of concerted federal and state policies rooted in sound science and citizen action. Those things are just as important now, as eagles and other wildlife face challenges arising from lead poisoning, new types of pesticides like neonicotinoids that cause problems for pollinators, global warming and other threats.

Countdown to the hatch

Fortunately, our eagles don’t have to worry about crushing thin-shelled eggs. They’ve been diligently incubating their eggs for nearly a month now. It shouldn’t be long before we have chicks! Allowing 35 days, the first-laid egg could hatch as soon as March 4 – just a week from this Saturday. Will you be watching when it happens?

Small investments, big results

Minnesota’s Nongame Wildlife Program has been instrumental in the national recovery of bald eagles and other species. When the program began 40 years ago, the U.S. had few bald eagles left. Because Minnesota’s population was healthy and growing, the Nongame Wildlife Program arranged to donate 55 chicks to New York, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri and Kentucky to assist bald eagle recovery in those states. The chicks to be donated were removed only from Minnesota nests that had two or more healthy chicks in them. It’s a great example of how a small investment played a big role, helping our national bird recover from near extinction.

Won’t you consider a small investment in your Nongame Wildlife Program to help us help wildlife?  Consider it a 40th birthday gift to all the wild critters that benefit from our efforts!  Without your ongoing interest and investment, we would be unable to help bald eagles or any other species.

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Pine Martens are so cute

Pine Martens are so very cute except for when they aren’t. Like the year they decided our outfitting building made a beautiful winter home. We had to trap them and they kept coming back. This one in the cage was not very happy with us.

The one David Johnson captured on film was much happier.

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Skiing in Cook County

The good news is even after all of the warm temperatures and rain we received we still have plenty of snow in Cook County. Here’s a report from the Sugarbush Ski System followed by a report from Lutsen Mountain.

Sugarbush Report February 24, 2017

We finally have cooler temperatures, so grooming has resumed today. We have snow, unlike many other areas of the state.

Onion River Road, Britton Peak small loops, Hogback, and Homestead have been groomed today. Some areas have the track re-set and some not. This is due to the condition of the trail and the groomer’s best judgement for the situation.The Tofte Ski-Down trail has been closed, due to icy and un-safe conditions.

If you want more cross country skiing this winter, we have the snow and trail for you! Details for specific sections of the trail are updated by the groomers when they finish. See http://sugarbushtrail.org/ski_trails.php

We hope to see you on the trails

Lutsen Mountain Report  WINTER IS WAITING FOR YOU

Winter is alive and well Up North.  With a deep midwinter snowpack, the February thaw had minimal effect on slope conditions.  In fact, the glorious days brought out some record skier visits for the holiday weekend.  Average base around the mountain is still 4+ feet.  Even off-piste there is a couple feet of snow in the woods.  Temps have returned to normal and the long range forecast for March shows temperatures skewing slightly below normal, giving every indication that we are good for skiing daily through April 9th and weekends until May. Time to plan your spring ski vacation!

 

downhill skiing at lutsen mountain

Ski Trail at Lutsen Mountain

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Sunrise in Grand Marais, MN

Thanks again David Johnson, I’m so glad you captured this.

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Water Skipping on Saganaga

Maybe not quite water skipping because there was a layer of ice beneath the 4-6 inches of water on top of the ice but it was close.  Cabin owners came down the lake from the Canadian side of Saganaga yesterday and those were the conditions.  Let’s hope for cold temps to freeze it back up and then some snow to make travel enjoyable once again.

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Guess What’s Coming?

A winter storm!

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Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again in May

Rain in February is something I do not like to see. It rained off and on throughout the day on Monday and that combined with the warm temperature made travel conditions quite wet on Saganaga. Matt said there was a good 4-6 inches of standing water on top of the ice!

While the rain did knock down the standing piles of snow there’s still plenty of snow on the ground. Until the temperature cools down again cross-country skiing may have to wait along with snowmobiling on trails. It’s a bummer to have such unseasonably warm weather when we all know it’s going to get cold again and snow some more. The perfect winter conditions are no longer perfect but will hopefully be once again and soon.

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Record High Temps and Low Ice Cover

Does this temperature map look like it’s from February? Ughhh, not any kind of February day I want to see, it’s way too warm!  And what about the ice coverage? That doesn’t look good to me either. Bring back a normal Minnesota winter please.

 

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Sledding in a Canoe, you betcha!

Enjoying some paddling this winter at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.

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Winter Camping in the BWCA

These photos are from a few years ago when Mike went out winter camping. Tom Thulen captured some nice photos and makes it look like so much fun.

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Follow @bwcabloglady on twitter.


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