Sunday, July 14, 2013

Short Run to the End of This Blog

This will be the last post for this blog.  I had hoped to get some Hennepin Canal locals interested and corresponding, but to no avail.  My blogging passion is really in my other blog The Rural Path, so I will be continuing my adventures there where I post most things anyway.  When I get the time, I will transfer the posts from this blog to the other one and shut this one down.  Thanks to those of you that have stopped in and read about the critters on the canal.  Thanks to Trailblazer for always making sure that a comment gets made on my posts:))


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sheffield to Wyanet Bike Ride

Today's ride was very relaxing.  It was a bit cloudy, but the sun was poking through.  There was some rain in the forecast, so I packed up my bike with camera supplies, rain gear, food, water, etc.  I just got some bikepacking packs from Oveja Negra in Colorado, so I wanted to try these out and get used to riding with gear on the bike rather than on my back.

Specialized Carve Expert

I love the diversity of the canal, but today, it seemed like deja vu of rides in the recent past, but I'll share photos anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted photos of a family of Canadian Geese on my other blog found here.  I'm assuming the family below is the same group as they were in the exact same spot.  Sadly, there were two less in the group of goslings.

Gaggle of Geese

 Northern Water Snake

Spiny Softshell

Mr. Tom Turkey

I had a race with the deer below.  He was bedded down between the path and the canal and bolted along side of me.  He pulled ahead in the race pretty quickly.  The photo below was taken while riding and trying to hold the camera one-handed.  Good fun!

White-tailed Deer

Immediately after the deer drag race, I got hammered with rain!  Luckily I had packed the camera raincoat as well as my own.  I rode the last 5 miles in the pouring rain, but it added to the adventure of the ride:)

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Calm Between the Storms

The weather here has been absolutely terrible.  Stormy and wet.  I was determined to get out today, as I needed some time to de-stress a bit.  I brought along the camera raincoat just in case, as we just had a small storm roll through, and supposedly another coming.  Luckily, the sun broke through a bit as I did a short hike on the canal just east of Geneseo.  Here's what I saw:

A Female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

A muskrat plays peek-a-boo with me as it gathers and flees with material for the den.

Painted Turtle

Hopefully tomorrow will bring some sun and dryness.  I hope to get out and do some riding/photography on the canal.  Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Great Day Off!

Today, I had the day off, so spent the day biking around the canal with my camera.  I'm amazed at the amount of wildlife that I see.  The day was gorgeous, great lighting and perfect for exploring.  My path started between Annawan and Atkinson and came west towards Geneseo.  Rather than babble about all of these photos, I'll just show the pics!

King Bird

Black Capped Chickadee


Canadian Goose

American Mink

I stumbled on this mink on the prowl and was hoping he would come back towards me for a great face-first shot on the log.  I sat down and waited.  While waiting, I heard the brush explode to my left and saw a coyote running away from me:(  I always miss the coyotes when they are close!


This muskrat encounter was weird.  I spotted him while on my bike about 10 feet away.  He went down along the canal, and I got off my bike, got my camera out of the bag, got it set, and he came up again right in front of me!  It was busily gathering grass for his den, I assume.  Even more strange, it came up four times for more grass, even though I was snapping photos just 6 or 7 feet away!

Painted Turtle

Blue Winged Teal

Blue Heron Butt

I can never get close to herons!  This is what I see almost every time:)  What a great day off anyway!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Photograph Finds

I have a life list for the wildlife I have seen, and I also have a life list for wildlife I have photographed.  Of course, I have seen way more than I have captured with a camera, so I get quite excited when I get something new photographically.

Today I biked from the Lock 22 and headed East past the feeder basin.  After I got to the feeder basin, I spotted eight double-crested cormorants!  I've never seen them on the canal before, so of course, I was quite excited!  The only shots I could get of them was as they were flying by after they spotted me.  These guys are hard to photograph (for me), as they are super skittish and very fast flyers.

Double-Crested Cormorant

On the way back, I spotted a little brown creeper on a tree.  I've seen these many times, but have never gotten a picture.  From what I've read about creepers, they lay their eggs behind loose bark at the base of trees.

Brown Creeper

Finally, right before I got back to the truck, I spotted the awesome little spotted sandpiper feeding around a semi-submerged log.  I couldn't decide which photo I liked best, so I'll just put them both here.

Spotted Sandpiper

I love the fact that I'm still seeing new birds along the canal.  Usually, the smaller birds just tick me off when trying to take pictures.  It seems that just as I get the shot lined up, they fly away!  Grrr!  Cardinals are the worst at this.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More Flood Damage

I hiked down to the Spring Creek aqueduct today in hopes of photographing some tracks after the flooding.  I was quite surprised to see the at the water levels were still quite high, and the debris from the cornfields has blocked up the underside of the aqueduct.  I normally walk underneath, but it is going to be awhile before I get to do that again.  It will take a few more milder rains to clean out the debris.

Regardless of my disappointment of not finding any tracks, I still got a couple of nice wildlife shots on the way back.

Squirrelly Peek-A-Boo

Hooded Merganser in Flight

Friday, April 19, 2013

After the Floods

Yesterday, our seasonal monsoon ripped through the area giving us 4-5 inches of rain in a 24 hr. period.  The creeks overflowed, some streets flooded, and even the Green River levee broke in an area.  I spent last evening cleaning up water from the basement.

Today, the cold came back and we even had a bit of snow fall.  Regardless of the crappy weather, I needed to escape so I took the fat bike out to see what the weather had done to the canal over by Annawan.

Yes, another fat bike pic:)  I can't help myself!

After a couple of miles, I reached the aqueduct right outside of town.  The creek was certainly up, and I would have loved to see what it looked like yesterday, but instead, the aftermath.

While there, I spotted a new bird species for myself.  I captured both male and female yellow-rumped warblers.  They were feeding below the aqueduct on the flotsam and jetsam that had accumulated there.

Female Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Male Yellow-Rumped Warbler

One final surprise awaited at the aqueduct.  An otter had visited here just today, so I'm hopeful that I may soon get a good closeup of it. 

Otter Tracks

I rode down a couple more bridges, but my ride was cut short by a flat on the way back:(  This will be a new adventure.  This will be the first time I've changed a flat with these monstrous tires.