Each year we notice spring beginning at different times around Gunflint Lodge. Some years the first signs of spring are noticed in February, and other years winter holds its tight grip on the northwoods through late May. Birds, insects, animals, and even humans begin to alter their behavior during the changing of the seasons. Acts of love and searching for mates can be seen in all different species.
Chipmunks may be spotted on the first warm days of the year, when snow begins to melt and Minnesotans begin to shed their jackets. The tiny chipmunks begin their search for spring food and mates.
Ice depths decrease and eventually open water is visible. Lake water completes its annual temperature-driven turnover and fish begin spawning in the local rivers and streams. Shiny walleye eyes can be spotted in shallow streams if you know where to find them!
If you look closely, you may notice insects begin to crawl on the melting snow and drying surfaces. They tend to be quite famished after their winter slumber, as you can imagine. They will be on the lookout for the nearest meal! Springtails are small bugs that appear in early springtime. They can be seen jumping on the surface of the snow. At first glance, their jumping patterns make them look like fleas. They are sometimes even referred to as “snow fleas.” However, they are not fleas. We like to think their jumping is simply their celebration of springtime arriving!
The air above us slowly begins to fill with returning birds and their mating rituals. Crows and owls are typically some of the first to return to Gunflint Lodge. Late at night, Owls may be heard cooing in the trees. Loons arrive early as well. The loons like to arrive on Gunflint Lake even before all of the ice melts away. Quickly other birds return; it often seems as if the skies are filled with life in an instant.
Ravens show off acrobatic tricks in an attempt to attract a mate. If a female companion is found, male ravens can be spotted feeding their female friends. Other bird species can be heard singing, calling, and chirping, their own forms of springtime courtship.
It isn’t just the local animals filling the fresh spring air with romance and sweet gestures, we often find Gunflint Lodge guests join in and allow springtime season-changing to lend itself to life-changing joy.
Marriage proposals can be spotted on the dock at sunset, eloping couples may be off sharing their vows in an intimate ceremony at Lonely Lake, and wedding couples often share the emotional “first look” at Lookout Point, surrounded by the birds and the budding trees.
We can’t wait for our Gunflint Lodge guests to join us for the excitement that springtime brings. Some of the best nature observing happens in March, April, and May. Ask us about our wilderness hiking options and our Aurora (northern lights) forecast while you stay with us. If you’re ready to “pop the question” or “tie the knot” ask us how we can help create the experience you’ve dreamed of!