It's been tough birding out my way lately. The weather isn't being very cooperative and it is starting to seem like warm temperatures will never get here. I have a banding program this Saturday so Mark and I are already trying to figure out what to do so we might catch some birds but not freeze to death in the process (not to mention freezing the birds). For some reason the first banding session at Ritter Farm Park in Lakeville, Minnesota is always cold. We even delayed our first session for a week to avoid this. So much for planning ahead.
On a better note, I had the opportunity to spend some time out at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum today while my Envirothon team competed in regionals. (If you don't know what the Envirothon is you should check it out. It's a great way to get high school kids involved in the outdoors and studying environmental topics. I think this competition is a partial answer to the question of "Where will our future environmentalists come from?") While I was hiking around I heard a loud call that I didn't recognize and after a few minutes of crude triangulation I was able to locate an active Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) nest. The female(?) was quite vocal while sitting on the nest and the presumed male was nearby.
I love finding the unexpected jewel that can brighten even a gloomy day.