Category: winter weather

Lovely to see you again

By , April 28, 2013 5:23 pm

There is a Moody Blues song with this title which is so appropriate at this time of the year, more so than usual this year. Last year Spring came early and some birds, like the Red-winged Blackbirds, never left for the Winter. This year Spring has been very late, some birds, like the Bluebirds, that we expect to see in numbers have barely appeared. Real Spring weather started to arrive this Friday, when we hit a high of 64. We have taken advantage of the change to drive around and look at all the birds we have been missing. We have had 14 birds make their first appearance of the year. Below is a list of the birds and the dates for each:

White-throated   Sparrow 4/26/2013

Lark Sparrow 4/26/13

Lark Sparrow 4/26/13

Pine Siskin 4/26/2013
Lesser Yellowlegs 4/26/2013
Hooded Merganser 4/26/2013
Northern Shoveler 4/26/2013
Vesper Sparrow 4/26/2013
Lark Sparrow 4/26/2013
Chipping Sparrow 4/26/2013
Tree Swallow 4/26/2013
Brown Thrasher 4/27/2013
Great Egret 4/27/2013
Field Sparrow 4/27/2013
Clay-colored Sparrow 4/28/2013
Barn Swallow 4/28/2013

Anyone who watches birds knows that their migration cannot be stopped but emotionally it was easy to believe they would never come. In any event, real Spring has arrived. The birds are moving in, some with just be passing through and some are here for the summer.

Field Sparrow 4/27/13

Field Sparrow 4/27/13

Lesser Yellowlegs 4/26/13

Lesser Yellowlegs 4/26/13

Ospreys 4/27/13

Ospreys 4/27/13

Wood Duck and Hoodded Merganser

Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser

Spring perhaps? Well, not quite, but it is coming.

By , March 1, 2013 11:21 pm

horned lark

Horned Lark 3/2/2013

We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Spring looks like it is on the way.   Like all people who live in Minnesota, we are used to Winter weather.  Like most Minnesotans, we tire of it long before it is over.   After a very normal, that is cold, Winter, the signs of Spring are finally visible.   Last week, the man who sells us wood, saw a Robin near Sibley State Park.  Yesterday, in our first attempt to look for birds in quite some time, we saw a Horned Lark. In fact we saw at least 3 groups of Horned Larks.   That was a first for both of us.   We haven’t had any other migrators yet, but one is better than zero.

Sunset is now after 6pm, so the days much longer now.  The weather is getting warmer.  We are seeing highs in the mid and upper 30’s on most days now.  We both have Spring fever.

Today we made another attempt to see birds and saw what was probably 20-30 Horned Larks in at least 3 different places along the road.

horned lark

Horned Lark 3/2/2013

horned lark

Horned Lark 3/2/2013

So few birds these days – when will spring come?

By , February 18, 2013 1:44 pm
Redpolls on Valentine's Day

Redpolls on Valentine’s Day

I am a compulsive record keeper. When I had a large record collection, it was recorded on the pc.  I try to record local weather data, and except for days when equipment is down,  I have been successful in that.   Along with my wife we are both active birders and we use the computer to keep records.   From 1996-2004, I let the recording go but once we moved to MN in 2004 I started it back up.  Since we moved to the Long Prairie area in 2010, we have made every effort to be more consistent and more complete.  We try to make a record of almost all the birds we see.  We do leave out a few, we don’t record the common Pigeon and we don’t record the House Sparrow, a bird which has been the bane of our existence.

Right now it is still winter, but the harshest days have past. Still from a birding standpoint this is about the lowpoint of the year.  A good day for us is 10 birds, Today we may see 8 different species. Even common birds, those that winter over, are missing. We’ve only seen the Goldfinch 18 days this year.  Perhaps the Redpolls are chasing it away.  The Bald Eagle is a bird we don’t ordinarily see in the coldest part of the year, but last year was a warm winter and we saw it multiple times. This winter we have only recorded it once and that was in St Cloud.

I am tired of Winter, my wife is tired too.  We are using a lot of wood. A load that might last 3 weeks in the early December, probably lasts 10 days at the coldest point of the season.  It isn’t just the expense of the wood,  I am tired of splitting wood each day.   My hands are aching and my shoulder is sore.   I have just worn out another pair of work gloves (quality on common items is a thing of the past).   I know that Winter is nearly at an end, but my patience with Winter is also at an end. I have uploaded a picture of a group of Common Redpolls for your enjoyment.

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