Sunday, April 10, 2016

Birding on a Sunday Afternoon

As hard as it seems for spring to get here, I was able to get out this afternoon and do a little birding. I wasn't sure how good the birding would be since the winds were pretty stiff. Luckily they also brought some warmer temperatures. We may have hit 60 degrees today.

I headed down to Erikson Pond (180th Street Marsh) to see if any new waterfowl had shown up and I was not disappointed to find American Widgeon, Greater White-fronted Goose and this fellow -
 There were 4 Wilson's Snipe probing the wet grasses for food. They didn't appear bothered by all the other waterfowl around.
Lots of male Red-winged Blackbirds are on territory but along with them I did get a chance to see my first Yellow-headed Blackbird. This pond is the most reliable spot for Yellow-headeds that I know.

As I was rolling along the road, looking for anything else exciting I stumbled upon this Northern Harrier.
With the wind and the bird's constant motion it was hard to get a steady shot. I was ready to chase it down the road for a better shot when all of a sudden it turned and faced me. This is the best look I got.
It would be nice if it were a little clearer but there is no mistaking that facial pattern. A fun afternoon and a few more FOY birds. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Leucistic Bird Hanging Around

A couple of posts ago I asked for opinions on a bird coming to my backyard feeder here in Minnesota. The majority of opinions were that I was being visited by an aberrant House Finch.

Well it's still around and I got a better look at it.

Even though the photo was taken through a window screen this is about as well as I have seen it. The primaries and wing coverts are actually lighter than the rest of the bird. The eye is dark. I still think this a House Finch, though a couple of people suggested an escaped canary.

So the question today is not about species (unless someone has a better ID), the question is about the mechanism of the strange feather color. I assume something genetic but not albinism. Whatever the cause it seems the bird is in good health, has been present for a while and doesn't seem to mind the snow.

Pretty fun having this bird around. Now if I could just coax that Lewis' Woodpecker in Wisconsin over to my suet feeder...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What is going on in the Southeast?

   Checking radar tonight just to see when the big storm coming out of the Rockies is going to hit Minnesota, I noticed a huge blob of color in the southeast.
 This looks like a lot of migration movement in a relatively concentrated area of the country. With all the strange birds showing up in Minnesota and Wisconsin I wouldn't be surprised to see lots of birds still moving south near the coast.
   Might be worth a look around in the backyards of the Gulf Coast States.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Strange Bird at the Feeder

   It always pays to take a peek at the feeders in the backyard whenever I have a chance. You never know what might be there and it is really exciting when something you see is obviously unusual.
    Well that happened recently. Below are a series of not great photos of a bird that at first looked like it might be albino but it does show some color in the plumage. It looks like it's an aberrant House Finch but I would love to hear what folks think. Saw it two days but it hasn't been present (at least when I was looking) for several days now.
 This, unfortunately, might be the best photo of the three posted. The next two give a little different angle of the bird.
Of course the other possibility is an escaped cage bird but I'm not going there.
All thoughts are appreciated.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Morning Radar

      Checking the morning weather radar for indications of migration, it looks like Nebraska and Iowa are the big winners today. Strong returns indicate lots of birds landing along a line that goes from around Omaha to Des Moines all the way to Chicago.
     Unfortunately for me, it looks like lots has passed us by here in Minnesota. Last weekend was good for banding later migrants. Sparrows and Hermit Thrushes were most abundant with a few Yellow-rumped Warblers still around. As of today they could be much further south. If you do go out birding check those legs for bands.
    The "best" bird we netted was only the second ever Wood Thrush. Below is a photo of the bird taken by friend and fellow bander Amber.
   Migration days are numbered so get out there.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Update to This Blog

    I was recently contacted about the eBird Recent Sightings gadget on the blog not working. I don't know what is happening but it seems to have disappeared. Drat! I have found what I think is a better gadget called Birdtrax. You can see it installed on the right sidebar. The downside is that it only covers a limited range so may not be useful for the entire state. However, the Rarities tab (middle top) does seem to have a good format and the same info as the previous gadget.
    I hope visitors find this useful and if you have any comments please let me know.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Couple More Kingbird Pictures

Peter Pyle sent a note about molt in the Tropical Kingbirds being seen in Ontario and Minnesota. I do have a couple of photos (not the best quality) of the Minnesota bird preening.
 I had to enlarge a distant shot for these but it does give a little better  look at the wing. Not sure if this helps the discussion.
If the bird stays around the opportunity to get better pictures is there. I'm sure there will be updates every day.