Category: feeder birds

November 2012 summary

By , November 30, 2012 8:07 pm
American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

November is always slow birding months and this November was no exception. We saw on 37 different bird species this month. Last November we only saw 36. Our best birding day was November 3rd when we saw 19 species and we saw 18 birds on both the 20th and 30th. We had no day when we saw less than 10 different birds.   We had one new bird that we new for us, the Pine Grosbeak and we saw them on Nov 14th and today, Nov 30th.  Our run of early Redpolls continues.  We are seeing Pine Siskins almost every other day.  We are getting groups of Juncos almost every day  now.

Beauty Lake has frozen over but that hasn’t really changed the bird count. It only changed what kind of birds we will see. We were driving past a few local ponds and streams over the last few months. Now that they are frozen we have stopped doing that. So, our birding will be almost exclusively local until Spring.

We did have a good birding day today. We saw a group of Pine Grosbeaks (no pictures of course). We had a Red-tailed Hawk hanging about (and not the least bit bothering the Redpolls).

 

Common Redpolls 11/28/12

Common Redpolls 11/28/12

Late October Birds 2012

By , October 30, 2012 2:15 pm
Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans on Pillager Lake

It is almost the end of October. We spotted 52 different species so far this month. Early Fall is over, the last warbler of the season, the Yellow-rumped left us on Oct 22. We still have 2 White-throated Sparrows that seem almost determined to stay, but I am sure they will gone to soon. The late fall birds are here. Fox Sparrows have started to show up, almost every day. We have started seeing American Tree Sparrow. Mostly they have come to the lake landing, but I hope they visit our feeders. Red-breasted Nuthatches and Siskins have been regular visitors for the last few weeks. I have no idea if they will stay through November but it is nice to see them.

The lake will be frozen by the end of November so we are using every opportunity to see visiting waterfowl. We have had the odd Swan or 2 since September. Today there must have been 10 or so, Trumpeter Swans, far enough away to make identication difficult. We are getting Wood Ducks and Pied-billed Grebes every day.

Pine Siskins

Pine Siskins

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Fox and  White-throated Sparrows

Fox and White-throated

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Welcome Zonotrichia!

By , May 10, 2012 6:15 pm

Harris's Sparrow

Harris's Sparrow 5/8/12

Why the odd title? Zonotrichia is the genus of 3 of our favorite migration sparrow: White-throated, White-crowned and Harris’s. Unlike most sparrow that are hard for the novice to identify these are very easy. When we lived in Randall, the only Zonotrichia we saw regularly was the White-throated. Since we moved to the Long Prairie area in 2010, all three have been regular visitors in both Spring and Fall. On a whim last May I told Shawnne that we should expect the Harris’s Sparrow the week of May 8-14, 2011 (based on only one previous sighthing in Randall in 2007 and based on the fact the we had them in the previous Octover). I told Shawnne that perhaps we should get a banner saying “Welcome Harris’s Sparrow” (similar to the Welcome Fisherman banners that bars have in Minnesota). In any event the Sparrows came back that year. This year we had a bunch of early migrators in March but since the start of April most of the birds seem to be back on their normal schedule. The White-crowned came on 4/16/12, the White-throated on 5/1/12 and the Harris’s on 5/8/12. So far yesterday was the only day we have seen all of them at one time (haven’t been able to get all of them in one photo, though).
White-throated Sparrow 5/9/12

White-throated Sparrow 5/9/12


White-crowned Sparrow 5/9/12

White-crowned Sparrow 5/9/12

Eagles and an Early Spring

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By , February 23, 2012 9:29 pm

Female Cardinal

Female Cardinal late in the afternoon


Here is a photo of the female Northern Cardinal. It is a common bird, but for some reason it only appears at our feeder station close to dusk. In the last few weeks the male has come around 5:45. The female seems less devoted to a schedule. This one was taken at 4:40 in the afternoon yesterday. This photo was taken through 3 layers of glass, so much of the resolution of a decent camera is ruined by the extra layers of glass.

In the years we lived in Randall, we would see our last Bald Eagle in December and then usually not see them until March.  For the last 2 Winters we have been in the rental house near Long Prairie, and we have seen them all through the fall and winter.   We have seen them 3 times in the last 2 weeks (twice while walking Sierra after work).  Unfortunately I have not had my camera when the Eagles have made their appearance.  I assume the warmer temperatures are driving the Eagle’s behavior.  When I lived in NJ, the Eagles would be visible in the Winter once the Northern water’s had frozen.   In Minnesota, I don’t know whether that is true. Certainly there isn’t much open water even if our weather is far warmer than normal.

Are we going to have an early Spring?  The temperatures are warm, as much as 8 degrees about normal, this year.  Some of the Chickadees are singing.   The Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been very active of late (not that I know what their activity means).

Below is a photo of a female Pileated Woodpecker. Taken through 3 layers of window glass.

female Pileated Woodpecker

female Pileated Woodpecker

Common Redpolls

By , January 14, 2012 8:21 pm

Common Redpoll 1/13/12

Common Redpoll 1/13/12

Every January we await the arrival of the Common Redpoll. In Randall we saw them as early as December. Since we moved to the Long Prairie area last Summer this has only been our second winter. We saw them late in January 2011. This winter has been very warm so we didn’t expect them at all but the temperature dropped 20 degree from Wednesday to Thursday. So we saw our first Redpoll of the season on Friday morning. We must have had somewhere near 70 in our yard. Today the numbers were a bit smaller, only in the dozens. It is also possible to see the Hoary Redpoll here and they can look very similar at times, but I have looked at dozens of photos from last year (and we had large flocks later in Winter) and none of the photos betrayed any Hoary Redpolls that we had missed in our binoculars.

We still miss a few birds. I have been hearing something that sounds a bit like a Kingfisher, but I we not sure. We haven’t seen any Cardinals yet this Winter, but we know they are somewhere (we see them every Winter). Today I saw four birds that might be a Grouse or a Pheasant but didn’t get a close look. Below is a photo of todays picture of an American Tree Sparrow. Common but a favorite of ours.

American Tree Sparrow

Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close- up

Red-breasted Nuthatch

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By , September 21, 2011 7:06 pm

Red-breasted Nuthatch seen on 9/19/11

We just saw our first Red-breasted Nuthatch of the season on Sept 19th.   This isn’t a bird I have seen very much in the 20 plus years I have been birdwatching, so I decided to look at my old observations.  What surprised me is that I first recorded it Clifton,NJ, in 1990 at my home.  I had always remembered it as a bird I saw in Western NJ, yet I saw it six times at home over 3 months. This is not a difficult bird to identify, so I guess I really did see it.   It is a bird that does stay around during the fall and winter so lets hope it appreciates our hospitality and make more than one appearance.

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