With the continuing warming (admittedly in fits and starts) I've been trying to get around and see what new birds have been arriving. At the same time I was able to spend a few days in Tampa, Florida over my spring break. It was a family trip so I didn't do as much birding as I would have on my own but we got to see a Twins spring training game and got to the beach a couple of times. I really felt out of my element in Florida. Trees with leaves, humidity and bird calls that were unfamiliar to my ears. When we got back we found snow still on the ground but a variety of new migrants in the field.
Here is a collection of photos from the last couple of weeks.
This is a very distant photo of the Long-tailed Duck that showed up above the Coon Rapids Dam in Anoka, Minnesota a couple of weeks ago. It is still there as of today but should be moving on soon.
In Florida I discovered some really nice county parks that were close to our hotel. I had a lot of fun using my new camera lens on these birds along a boardwalk. This Limpkin acted like I wasn't even there.
My wife pointed out this Black-crowned Night Heron as we walked through a cypress swamp one morning. Again, a very cooperative bird.
I was very excited to see Swallow-tailed Kites while in Tampa. I haven't seen one since I was in Costa Rica years ago.
Back home I went out and drove the back roads in the county where migrants are slowly beginning to show up. Horned Larks have been around for quite a while now but they are beginning to really sing recently.
A young Red-tailed Hawk was looking for a meal along a roadside in Dakota County.
It must have figured it wouldn't have much luck as long as I was sitting there trying to get its picture. The interesting thing in this photo is the contrast between the wing feathers. It looks like the secondaries and tertials have been replaced and are fresh. The primaries look dull. I don't know much about wing molt in Red-tails but I'm thinking this is a pretty good example of a molt limit. Along with the tail I would guess this is a second year (SY) bird.
Migration is picking up so make sure you get outside and keep looking up!