Monday, August 10, 2015

Birding on Big Pete Road in Port Wing

Pip birding in Port Wing
Big Pete Road has treasures at every level, from the spongy soil to the spires of the tallest white pines.
Every other week, I drive to Port Wing to take my mother-in-law to her card club. The game starts at 12:30, so Pip and I are there during the worst time of day for finding birds, but it's fun bringing her for walks in my favorite spots anyway. We always spend most of the time at my favorite spot of all, Big Pete Road. It's part of the Port Wing Boreal Forest State Management Area, and a wondrous variety of cool birds breed there thanks to the virgin white pines and other magnificent trees and boggy vegetation. When loggers went through Port Wing, Big Pete Road was spared thanks to the intercession of the head logger's wife. One by one, many of the massive trees have fallen over the years, but a few still stand.

Big Pete Road is a quiet dirt road, with two houses on it. Most of the time when I walk there I don't run into anyone at all. I put Pip on a retractable leash—I can pull it in if we see any people, dogs, bears, etc., but otherwise we can each walk at our own pace. She is wonderfully easy going, running ahead (never tugging at the leash) until she spots or sniffs something she wants to investigate. She's more comfortable than any other dog I've had with letting me pass her while she's sniffing something, but doesn't lag too far behind--she's too companionable for that. Once in a while she goes off the dirt road for a foot or two, but seems to prefer staying on the road.

Pip birding in Port Wing
Big Pete Road is nice and sandy.
Pip is starting to recognize when we get to the path that takes us to Lake Superior. I haven't gone in yet, and so neither has she, but in a couple of weeks Russ and I will take his mom there together, and we'll see if we can get her to try swimming. It's usually best to wait until this time of year so the water will be at its warmest. Meanwhile, she does love to run up to the edge of the water.

Pip: Lake Superior Puppy

Today things were very quiet--it was hot and a bit windy and early afternoon--a lethal combination as far as building a good day list goes. But we did have a real treat when we came to the end of the road. A female Golden-winged Warbler came out of the shadows in the dense vegetation to check us out. I think she was concerned about Pip--maybe suspecting she's a predator. We got great looks (Pip was even paying attention to her), and then she retreated and we went on our way.

Golden-winged Warbler on Big Pete Road

1 comment:

  1. Pip looks so big in that first photo! I know she'll always be a small(ish) dog, and she's not yet full grown, but compared to her puppy pictures she's grown so much.

    In the second photo, she looks like she's saying, "C'mon, Laura, hurry! There are birds to see!"


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