End of an Era


Northern MN/ Northern WI

Back in the year 2000, after my wife chewed me out for having too much traffic in our home office while she was breastfeeding, I stormed out of the house and went for a walk.  I needed air.  It is tough setting up a business, something is always trying to ruin one’s plans.

3/4 of a mile later I stumbled upon a man putting up a for sale sign.  Thirty minutes later a deal was forged and I no longer worked out of a home office and my company began its life in downtown Lake Nebagamon WI.  the company is 75 times bigger today.

That era ended today as I made my last trip up to see the old building sort of gradually made irrelevant over the years by attrition and expansion in South Dakota.  It was a bit melancholy making the drive one last time to sign the papers to sell her……..the memories!  Even once sleeping on the floor.  My first office………sigh. It is like the first car or house.

I started the trip chasing a Brambling in Brainerd, a NARBA report and well a sketchy one at that for a bird which wont necessarily stick, but it was only 3 blocks off my path but alas no bird.  I didn’t need it, seen 100 last summer in Alaska and many the year before that too, so it didn’t bother me.

I arrived in Sax-Zim Bog with birds to find for the year.  I like the bog but with no snow, and feeding stations winding down it can be a rather iffy spot.  I didn’t see any owls, no hawks, either.

evenin grosbeak

I went to Lou’s feeder and spotted a single Evening Grosbeak in a tree.  Lucky that.  I have never photographed this bird so I waited and waited…….it never moved nor turned around.  I have only seen this bird three times since the hoard that plagued my grandmother’s feeder unexpectedly left one spring in the early 1980s never to return.  Another era that ended.

I saw a flock fishing in Canada in 1993 and saw one during my nude big year at a nudist campground in Oregon driving out and with clothes on!  I couldn’t find it stripped down.  Now this one.  It is the back side but well it is a grosbeak!

sisken wwcr

Well then I found my odd couple today eating pine seeds on side of road in Sax-Zim Bog Minnesota. Pine sisken on the left and what appears to be an almost identically marked juv. white-winged crossbill on right. It looks just like an incredibly fat sisken. The beak which I couldn’t photograph well was a crossbill beak, what I could see of it with pine seeds hanging out…. but in seeing these two one wonders if they can hybridize? Kind of odd sighting to me, hard enough to see wingbars sometimes on the red ones in trees. There isn’t a Loxia/spinus sp. option on ebird.  I don’t know what to think?  I think it is just a fat sisken, puffed out, engorged, carrying an egg, or something with a misshapen beak………..

Then I saw something odd in a feeder eating suet.


It was a long-tailed weasel, almost upside down and then it spotted me…


a Cute little bugger if I may add

The last one of these I saw was in an old building on neighbors in Wisconsin, it had been decades.  I’d seen short-tailed weasels

things one sees

After FOY Gray Jay, Cedar Waxwing, and common redpoll, I went to a gyrfalcon vigil near the grain elevators in Duluth/ Superior, hoping to clean off another off my life list.  I watched waited and all I saw was an old ship…..sigh no falcon.  It was a scenic spot for a vigil though.

grain elevators

That ship, I think is the oldest ship in operation on Lake Superior, I saw it come through in 1989, when I used to photograph ships and lived in Duluth it was built like in 1898?  Owned by St Lawrence Cement.  It is either laid up for winter or maybe it is going to be broken up for scrap, IDK, I guess the end of another era.

In the morning on my way back to the vigil I went to Barker’s Island and spotted a Common Eider


A rarity seen here all winter and very good Lake Superior bird.  After a second unsuccessful try for falcon, I closed on my building and went and talked to my publisher about my recent book release

Zorn Book Cover Proof BBDbetter

Anders Zorn: Unveiled available on Amazon, as of last Friday and about printing options.  Always good to have books out, but then it was one last goodbye to my building and south to bird.

sandhill crane

FOY Sandhill Crane, they are always majestic birds.  I also saw the years first Bluebirds in the Crex Meadows, two days earlier than ever


Trumpeter Swans were everywhere, here is ones I saw a week earlier in same place in Crex Meadows along with a very scenic owl

great horned owl2

I hiked at my home place south of Falun Wisconsin but the woods were quiet.  I thought of the past here, the past in Wisconsin and in many ways felt it was the end of an era, I sighed and walked back home to visit my grandmother who got me into birding and has been ill for a couple of weeks but we got her to her 90th birthday on the 14th!

A couple of year birds, a few photos, a weasel, and a pocketful of cash but it really felt like the end of something and not the beginning………..

Live long and prosper






One thought on “End of an Era

  1. Very nice seeing you today and congrats on your FOY additions. Life is all about change: When one door closes, another opens. Look forward to the future – it will be grand.

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