Category: bird species

Favorite Photos of 2012 – pt 9 – Sparrows

By , January 26, 2013 6:54 pm
Clay-colored Sparrow 5/1/12

Clay-colored Sparrow 5/1/12

There are some sparrows that are very common and show up predictably every year at our feeders. There are others that are hardly rare, but which take a bit more effort to see. We had a fantastic day birding on 5/1/12 and one of our visitors was the Clay-colored Sparrow. We only got one good picture that day and I guess that is good enough. The Clay-colored showed up a few more times, but never close enough for a photo.

The next bird is the Fox Sparrow. It is more common that the other birds on the page, but it doesn’t seem to like having his photo taken.

After that we see the Lark Sparrow. I have only seen it once in all my bird watching years and that was April 25th at Lake Maria State Park.

On the next row we have the Savannah Sparrow. This one we saw near our home on a road passing by a pasture. Knowing what we know now we have a good chance of seeing it a few more time next year. It is a very attractive bird, and I hadn’t realized how attractive once I was able to look at the photos I took.

That last bird is the Swamp Sparrow. It is a common bird in much of the country but hard to spot in the reeds it likes to live in. We only saw it 4 times last year (and only 4 times since coming to Minnesota). Again now that we know where to look, we should see it a bit more often this year.

Fox Sparrow 3/28/12

Fox Sparrow 3/28/12

Lark Sparrow 4/25/12

Lark Sparrow 4/25/12

Savannah Sparrow 6/30/12

Savannah Sparrow 6/30/12

Swamp Sparrow 9/19/12

Swamp Sparrow 9/19/12

Favorite Photos of 2012 – pt 8 – Cedar Waxwing

By , January 22, 2013 7:39 pm

Cedar Waxwings in the leaves 5/19/12

Cedar Waxwings in the leaves 5/19/12

“Oh, it’s a long, long while
From May to December
But the days grow short,
When you reach September.”

Those words are from September Song and looking at the observations of the Cedar Waxwing I was reminded of that song. Those birds are usually with us from May to September. They are easy to miss but they are not easily bothered by people so if uou hear them and try to find them you will see them. My wife who can hear better than I always hears them before she sees them. That is not something I have ever done even if they are on top of me. The first picture was taken in May when the flock was hanging around a tree in our driveway. We rarely have to leave home to see them.

At this point in the Winter we are quite ready for Spring and the return of the Waxwings.

Cedar Waxwing 5/14/2012

Cedar Waxwing 5/14/2012

Cedar Waxwing 5/19/2012

Cedar Waxwing 5/19/2012

Cedar Waxwing 5/25/2012

Cedar Waxwing 5/25/2012

Cedar Waxwing 7/28/2012

Cedar Waxwing 7/28/2012

Favorite Photos of 2012 – pt 7 – Northern Flicker

By , January 21, 2013 9:01 pm
Flickers 5/2/2012 taken at Crow Wing State Park

Flickers 5/2/2012 at Crow Wing State Park

One of the more attractive Woodpeckers is the Northern Flicker.  It is one of the more common birds but it is a bit skittish. The best opportunity to shoot it is when it is foraging for worms in the grass. It can be seen along with Robins on many afternoons. 

The first photo is of a pair taken at Crow Wing State Park on May 2, 2012

The other photos were taken in or around our house.  We saw those birds, last year, from March 12 through early October.

Flicker 4/3/2012

Flicker 4/3/2012

Flicker 9/20/12

Flicker 9/20/12

Favorite Photos of 2012 – pt 6 – Dickcissels

By , January 15, 2013 7:16 pm
Dickcissel 6/30/2012

Dickcissel 6/30/2012

The Dickcissel is a common bird found in grasslands in the Central US. It can also be found along the East Coast. When I lived in NJ there were numerous sightings each year. If you aren’t looking for it and not in a position to hear it, as were aren’t when we are driving along the road, this bird can be easily mistaken for the House Sparrow. Once you step outside the car and listen you cannot mistake it for anything else. It is an attractively colored bird. It is not shy so if you can get close you should be able to get farely good photographs.

We cannot wait for Spring to get another chance to see and photograph this remarkable bird.

Dickcissel 7/11/12

Dickcissel 7/11/12

Dickcissel 7/13/12

Dickcissel 7/13/12

Dickcissel 8/1/12

Dickcissel 8/1/12

Dickcissel 8/10/12

Dickcissel 8/10/12

Favorite Photos of 2012 – pt 5 – Bobolinks

By , January 14, 2013 8:32 pm
Bobolink June 22, 2012

Bobolink June 22, 2012

We’ve lived in rural Minnesota for much of the last 8 years but we have never made a habit of looking for birds in the local farm fields. That changed this Summer. We had good luck finding birds within 3 miles of our house. Some of the best birds were on the same roads we passed every day. One of our favorites was the Bobolink. The first few times we saw one, we only saw the male. He is easy to spot with his light tan head and black body. The female and the young easily blend in, but we did spot those later in the Summer.

Before this year we had only seen the Bobolink once before in Minnesota and didn’t have a very good picture. This year we were able to get good photos of a bird who wasn’t a wary as most birds.

The top photo is from June 22th. It was taken on 325th Ave about 2 miles from home. Most of our Bobolink sightings were in the same pasture. (It is a horse ranch.) Below to the left is one take on 7/25/12. There is a blackbird thrown into the mix. The photo below and to the right was taken on July 2nd. We managed to see Bobolinks on 20 different days from June 22nd to August 11th and we took hundreds of photos (most of them mediocre of course). Now that we know where they are we should see them even earlier this Spring.

 

Bobolinks 7/25/12

Bobolinks 7/25/12

Bobolink  7/2/12

Bobolink 7/2/12

Favorite Photos of 2012 – pt 4 – Warblers

By , January 13, 2013 5:19 pm
Golded-winged Warbler 7/28/12

Golded-winged Warbler 7/28/12

My favorite birds have always been the Wood Warblers. They are hard to photograph. Most of the photos I took were taken in my own yard or by the lake just below us.  The first photo is a Golden-winged Warbler taken on on  7/28 in our neighbor’s yard.  The Golden-winged is a bird that nests in Minnesota.  It is an uncomon bird but one regularly seen.
Next is the Yellow Warbler. This is one of the most common warblers. We saw it (or heard it) over 100 times this Spring and Summer. This photo of the male was taken at the boat landing just a few hundred feet from our house. The female is a duller yellow without the red lines.

Yellow Warbler  5/4/12

Yellow Warbler 5/4/12

Chestnut-sided Warbler 5/1212

Chestnut-sided Warbler 5/1212

One of the better photos taken away from home was the shot of the Chestnut-sided Warbler. This was shot on 5/12 in Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Little Falls. I remember this day because we saw a couple leaving the refuge who came from the Twin Cities area but who managed to find nothing of note. We saw a bunch of good birds including the Yellow-rumped and Bay-breasted Warblers.

Favorite Photos of 2012 – pt 3 – Sandhill Cranes

By , January 9, 2013 6:52 pm
Sandhill Cranes 3/21/12

Sandhill Cranes 3/21/12

The only crane we see in Minnesota is the Sandhill Crane. There are very common in this part of MN and if you don’t see them you can usually here them. From the deck of the house we rent, we can often hear them in the evening and I am sure if we could magically remove the trees, they would appear just South of us in the meadow below Lake Beauty.  The picture to you left was taken along County Rd 1  in Morrison County.

These birds are hard to get close to and take a really sharp picture but I had one reasonably sharp on in mid April. That picture is below and it was taken also along County Rd 1 in Morrison County.

Sandhill Cranes 4/11/12

Sandhill Cranes 4/11/12

The last picture was taken on Sunday May 13, 2012 when we were out looking for some local Wildlife Management Areas.

Crane 5/13/12

Crane 5/13/12

Favorite photos of 2012 – pt 2 – Wrens

By , January 7, 2013 2:49 pm
Marsh Wren 9/23/12

Marsh Wren 9/23/12

Wrens are not uncommon birds, but they are mostly heard, not seen.  This year we heard the House Wren many many times. Once we knew where they were we heard the Sedge Wren in a number of place close to home.  I was able to get a few barely acceptible shots and I have posted one below.  I only saw the Marsh Wren once this year (and the last time was over 20 years ago) and that was at the landing (so if it had been resident I should have heard it every day since the landing is within earshot of the deck).  On that one time I was able to get a fairly good photo of the Marsh Wren.

Below is a photo of the Sedge Wren, not all that good but it is the best I was able to get. We were able to see the Sedge Wren 5 times in the course of the Summer. The Sedge Wren has an easy to identify song, and we were able to hear it without seeing it 22 times this summer.

Sedge Wren 6/29/12

Sedge Wren 6/29/12

Favorite photos of 2012 – pt 1 why did the Turkey cross the road?

By , January 6, 2013 11:48 pm
Wild Turkeys 11/16/2012

Wild Turkeys 11/16/2012

I am going to post my best bird photos from 2012. Today’s photo was taken on November 16th at 1:33pm. It was taken near one of the several Mud Lakes in our region. Starting late in June we started to travel the local roads looking for birds. We have had much success, especially in the Summer and early Fall. This group of Turkeys were crossing the road while we took back roads on the way to our weekly shopping expedition.

Turkeys are very skittish so once I got out of the car with my camera they were gone. Turkeys run faster than most of us realize and can fly creditably.

2012 Yearly Summary

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By , December 31, 2012 4:59 pm
Cardinal and Red-winged Blackbird 12/15/12

Cardinal and Red-winged Blackbird 12/15/12

Forgive the softness of the photo, it was taken through the window. Cardinals are very skitish and this is probably the best photo I’ve taken of one this year.

This is the second year in which we have tried to record all the bird species we have seen.   Be comparision with 2011 it is obvious that we were more thorough.  Of course we know the area better, but the sightings of common birds are higher, not just the unusual ones.

Here are the top ten birds for both 2012 and 2011:

2012   2011  
White-breasted Nuthatch 360 Red-winged Blackbird 236
Downy Woodpecker 359 American Goldfinch 223
Black-capped Chickadee 351 Black-capped Chickadee 220
Red-winged Blackbird 346 Downy Woodpecker 219
Hairy Woodpecker 327 White-breasted Nuthatch 217
Red-bellied Woodpecker 324 American Crow 185
American Goldfinch 322 Hairy Woodpecker 177
American Crow 313 Red-bellied Woodpecker 149
Blue Jay 291 Blue Jay 147
House Finch 200 House Finch 145

The list of birds by how many months shows that we did better in 2012:

2012 2011
American Crow 12 American Goldfinch 12
American Goldfinch 12 Black-capped Chickadee 12
Bald Eagle 12 White-breasted Nuthatch 12
Black-capped Chickadee 12 Hairy Woodpecker 12
Blue Jay 12 Pileated Woodpecker 12
Downy Woodpecker 12 American Crow 11
Hairy Woodpecker 12 Red-bellied Woodpecker 11
Northern Cardinal 12 Red-winged Blackbird 10
Pileated Woodpecker 12 Downy Woodpecker 10
Red-bellied Woodpecker 12 Blue Jay 10
Red-tailed Hawk 12 Purple Finch 10
Red-winged Blackbird 12 American Kestrel 10
White-breasted Nuthatch 12 American Robin 9

 

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