Seney was made famous by Ernest Hemmingway, in his short story “Big Two-hearted River” (which is really the Fox, not the real Big Two-hearted River). Our morning was not spent on the river, but at the nearby Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

We got an early start, leaving the motel shortly after 6am. We spotted a Ring-necked Duck as we drove up to the refuge, and Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, and Wood Ducks were visible from the visitor's center parking lot. We then headed out on the 1.5 mile Pine Ridge Nature Trail.

Trumpeter Swan Sandhill Cranes
Trumpeter Swan Sandhill Cranes

New trip birds on the trail included Great Blue Heron, Gray Catbird, Eastern Kingbird, Alder Flycatcher, and Swamp Sparrow. We also encountered Beaver and Common Muskrat. We were not the only ones studying a close Common Loon near the end of the trail. One of the loon researchers was studying it too. He was able to tell us we were looking at a 4-year old male, and the the father was 23, and nesting nearby. He also gave us some information about other birds on the refuge.

Loon with Chicks Loon with Chicks
Loons and Chicks

We then returned to town for a late breakfast. After breakfast, it was back to the refuge to drive the Marshland Wildlife Drive. We found our first Osprey and Canada Geese of the trip. American White Pelicans and Northern Harrier were seen by part of the group. We also got looks at some Le Conte's Sparrows and Black-billed Cuckoos. Neither of these stood still where we could see them, even though the Le Conte's snuck up until it was only a few feet away before flying back into the grass.

Before finishing the drive, we also added Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Wilson's Snipe, and Tree Swallow to our bird list, and an Eastern Cottontail. Then it was time for the long drive to Duluth.

Much of the drive was uneventful, but a Ruffed Grouse alongside the road was seen by everyone in my van. An unidentified vole crossed the road near the Wisconsin state line. In Wisconsin we found a Bald Eagle perched near a road-killed deer. We finally arrived at Duluth around 9pm EDT (8pm local time).

Our current totals are 88 bird species and 10 mammal species.

Day's Inn, Duluth, MN