April 30, 2014
The North Shore is one of the best places in all of the U.S. and Canada to see the spring and fall bird migration, and Grand Superior Lodge sits in the heart of the pathway.
Lake Superior’s shoreline is a bird highway. Summer nesters begin arriving as early as April with massive flocks flying over the last few weeks of May. During this time, keep an eye out for soaring Bald Eagles, and if you’re lucky, a Peregrine Falcon. While loons do not nest on the big lake, you will see Minnesota’s state bird travel north in the spring and south in the fall. We highly recommend you visit nearby Gooseberry Falls State Parks (a mere two miles up the road), which hosts over 150 different bird species. The park provides lake shore, river mouth, forest and inland ridge habitat making it a bird watchers paradise.
Right about Labor Day, take an evening walk on our cobblestone beach and keep an eye to the heavens. Chances are you will see hundreds of nighthawks soaring across the dusk sky. By mid-September, the songbirds are heading south – watch for warblers, sparrows and grosbeak. Next up is the big one – the fall migration of raptors. Overhead fly thousands of osprey, falcons, kestrels, merlins, eagles and a variety of hawks including sharp-shinned, goshawk, broad-winged and red-tailed. Peak migration coincides with fall colors, mid-September to late-October. And the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) lets you combine the best of the season. Just a mile drive inland you can pick up the SHT and take a short hike to Wolf Rock for ridgeline bird watching. More avid hikers, can head to the Gooseberry Falls State Park and hike inland along the river to capture fall colors, agate beaches and traveling waterfowl.
As November winds pick-up, the winter ducks begin arriving. Many of these spend the remainder of the year on the ocean or in the far north. Species include scoters, squaws and the colorful harlequins. One of the best places to keep a lookout is in our lakefront log homes. Build a crackling fire, grab a pair of binoculars, and watch the ducks ride the waves.
At Grand Superior, you can always see and hear our year-round feathered friends; big, gray-and-white herring gulls, brown-and-black ruffed grouse, black-capped chickadees, and the large black blunted-tailed crows and v-tailed, large-billed ravens. A birding book is immensely helpful in identifying the birds you spot, especially if you carry it along with you. It is just as enjoyable, though, to simply look to the trees and sky above while you are out and about.
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