Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blast from the Past

I apologize that time has gotten away from me. I haven't done any real birding to note in the past couple of weeks, so I farmed the archives. In 2006, there were a few more Rough-legged hawks and Short-eared owls that we see in this part of the state, concentrated in an area about 45 minutes from the Twin Cities. Rough-leggeds really are a great bird to watch hunt - they "hover" much like Northern harriers do. Hatched in the Arctic areas, they will use trees when they find them, but do use air currents to just glide over fields to check for mice, gophers, voles, etc. I think they are one of the prettiest hawks. The ones that we saw were primarily the lighter of the two choices.

This Rough-legged must have seen something through the ice, but was baffled as to how to get to it. Walking on ice is definitely not the first choice of mobility for these hawks. It was fun watching him/her gingerly step and then hop for several minutes.

Finally, I did get a nice flying shot of a male harrier.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day in the Bog

My friend Sharon and I took the day to bird the Bog - Sax Zim Bog. It was a little dark, chilly and snowy, but couldn't complain about the company or the birds!

Gray Jays are seriously one of the coolest birds. They are so inquisitive, and have their own way of moving, their own social structures, and their own little reactions that are so individual. One was barely three feet from my head on a branch and looking down on me, and I didn't know it until Sharon said something.

We did find a couple of Northern Hawk Owls. They have tails and wing tips like a falcon, and a face like a Boreal. The photos are very dark, so they don't convey just how unique they are.

Some very kind landowners put up some bird feeders to attract birds, and are very happy to let us photograph. Here are a couple of American Goldfinches and a Red-breasted Nuthatch.