Monday, June 30, 2008


Since last Wednesday I've published a number of posts about a wonderful area near the new Service Center/Library just south of Forest Lake. I want to mention again that housing developments there are putting in danger the Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Bobolinks, and other birds that are difficult to find in the metro area. I'm not sure what, if anything, can be done to save this little corner of nature. Holly, whose email post led me to the place, may try to publicize the area's plight. Does anyone have any other ideas?
Below is a Red-winged Blackbird on a stake marking a building lot.

I'm worried that the Wetland Boundary/Buffer will not be sufficient to keep these Yellow-heads coming back.

"I like it here!"
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Don't ..."

"Don't turn your back on me when I'm talking to you! Do you hear me?"

"You think flying away will solve our problems?"
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Saturday, June 28, 2008


After our pleasant, though uneventful, morning at Carlos last Wednesday, Les & I decided to head over to Forest Lake and the area I described in my post last Wednesday.
I was looking for Bobolinks -- Les was anxious to photograph the Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
Here are some of my Bobolink shots.

more to follow
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

slow morning at Carlos

Yesterday morning Les picked me up & we headed out to Carlos. Our main goal was to photograph the Bank Swallows I posted about last Tuesday & Wednesday. However, we came upon only 2 pairs and, with them just shooting in and out of nesting cavities, our photo ops were limited. Maybe we should have stayed with the swallows since there wasn't much going on elsewhere.
This is some of what we did photograph:

some Sandhill Cranes at a long distance

a Song Sparrow

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Pied-billed Grebe

You could tell it was a slow day when our picture taking was reduced to awkward, half-grown goslings, ...

... turtles, ...

... and old Coots.
photo by Les
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thank you, Holly!

About a month or so ago I was surprised to see a posting on the MOU Listservice by Holly Peirson about near-by Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Other than one sighting at Springbrook more than a year ago, I hadn't seen any of these colorful birds in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.
Here are directions:
First, find the new Washington County Service Center & Library, just off Highway 61,
on the West side about a mile south of Scandia Trail (#97). Here is a link to a map.
If you go directly West from the Service Center/Library, you will find ponds and fields on both sides of the road for about 3/4 of a mile (after which you will come upon a housing development). It is within this 3/4 mile stretch that you will find Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Bobolinks, and much more!
According to Holly, even more of this small piece of land will be developed soon, perhaps causing many of these birds to find other grounds. This would be very sad since it is wonderful to find such a concentration of interesting birds in the metro area.
Below are some photos from a week ago.
My friend, Les, and I revisited the site today; I'll be posting those photos in the next few days.

Upon arriving at the above-described location, I came upon the "Great Egret tree." Immediately to the left of the top-most Egret is a Yellow-headed Blackbird.

Some of the Egrets were successfully fishing.

There are a number Killdeer here as well. I didn't find any Bobolinks on this first trip, with the exception of one "possible" fly-by.

Now for some shots of my main quarry.

Thank you again, Holly!
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

fishing with a Great Blue Heron

A couple of weeks ago at Carlos Avery.
"It's a long morning when you can't find any fish or frogs."

"Maybe I need to find a better spot."

"This looks much better."


"I told you so!"

"It's a beauty!"

to the nest, maybe?
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

rest of the Thrasher pix

it looks like he's trying to carefully walk a tight-rope --
or, as if the branch is really hot

the second Thrasher almost gets lost; look at the bottom right

although it's not an "action" shot, I like it

it was fun to see how this pair was inseparable --
do they stay this close for the rest of the summer?
I'm not that familiar with Thrashers
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Brown Thrashers -- II

After gathering sticks from the top of the bank, they moved down into the sand. The Thrasher on the right makes it appear as if the sand was too hot to walk on.

more to follow
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Friday, June 20, 2008

back at the bank

I was so busy watching the Bank Swallows it was a while before I noticed the Brown Thrasher pair at the top of the bank.

What were they doing?

They were gathering sticks for a nest.

I think this one had been taking lessons from a woodpecker on how to use the tail.

more to follow
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

more gulps -- I mean, swallows

"Am I being surrounded?"

"Keep your distance!"

"You gotta clean up after digging in all that dirt!"

"Don't I look better now?"

Meanwhile, this flycatcher (?) kept watch on all the goings on.
(click on pictures to enlarge)