Wednesday, April 30, 2008

it ain't just birds

Last week at Springbrook I was exploring the trails at the south side of the Center when I saw some movement but wasn't quite sure what it was. I put my camera w/the 300mm lens to my eye to see better and also snapped the above shot. Can you tell what I was looking at? Yes, another rear end -- this time not of a bird but a deer.

It slowly backed up and then started moving towards me.

As it stopped, the mom came from behind.

(click on pictures to enlarge)
Now I have to find some time to edit all of the Yellow-rumped Warbler and other shots from Springbrook & Carlos Avery.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


For a pre-production review of the new Canon EOS 450D XSi, take a look here.

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As part of their courting ritual, the male Cardinal will feed the female.
This intimate moment took place at Springbrook last week.

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Yellow-rumped Warblers

I was at Springbrook this morning and I have never seen so many Yellow-rumped Warblers at one time in one place; if you want to see them, go now! (pictures will follow) This afternoon I'm heading to Wargo Nature Center; this will be my first visit this year.

Monday, April 28, 2008

good news -- bad news

First, the bad news:
While at Springbrook last week, I discovered that one of my favorite places to look for warblers and Goldfinches has been leveled to make room for this pipe line on the West side of the Nature Center. Trees and shrubs some 20 feet on each side of the pipe have been bulldozed. I'm sure the company putting in the line had the necessary easements, etc., but, I just hate to see this little bit of environment for these birds gone. Did the destruction have to be so wide spread? The pipe is only 1 1/2 to 2 feet or so in diameter.

The good news is that many of the regular birds are now returning to Springbrook although this morning there were some snow flakes in the air.

Common Grackles

Great Egret

watching for a fish/frog

stay tuned for the love birds
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

last Tuesday morning at Springbrook

I love to go birding early in the morning -- around sunrise. Not only are the birds more active, but for picture taking, the light is warmer and softer.

The geese are more busy than ever defending their territory.

Cedar Waxwing high in a tree.

Song Sparrow looking for food in the morning dew.

The female Red-winged Blackbirds are back.

And the males are glad!

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

birds vs. windows

Shortly after I posted my problems with the persistent Robin who kept attacking my windows, Cathi Gagliardi of St. Paul sent the following to the MOU Listserv, which I'm copying with her permission:
Bummer about the window strikes....that "thump" is the worst sound ever. Window decals are excellent to prevent this if positioned on the "outside" of the window. You may need to purchase quite a few though, depending on how big the glass is and it's best to be positioned 4" apart. This will really break up the reflection of what they see and if applied
using the 4" rule, they will realize that their wings will not fit through the area of glass that will still be visible (reflective).
Wild Birds Unlimited sells these window decals and you can get a package of 4 for around $7.
They come in Butterflies, Maple leafs and another one that I can't think of right now but they're not that bad of an eye-sore to your windows as they're clear and not colored.
Some places carry some pretty big Hawk silhouettes but they are very noticeable, as they are all black.

Ansel Adams

One of the best known nature photographers is Ansel Adams, who died in 1984. We have all seen reproductions of his photos on calendars, coffee mugs, etc., to the point where we take them for granted -- we don't see them any more. Tomorrow's travel section in The New York Times has a well-done summary of his work at Yosemite. It features nine photographs and commentary by his assistant, Andrea G. Stillman. Well worth the visit here. You may also want to read the related article.


I've used this quote before, but today it's more appropriate than ever.
"A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water."
-- Carl Reiner

At least we don't have the 10 inches that has fallen in western & northern Minnesota.
It's a good time to get back to picture editing from last Tuesday at Springbrook.
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Last call ...

... for cleaning those hummingbird feeders. Although I haven't seen any yet, according to, they're in the Twin Cities area.

the Robin saga continues

Last Saturday I published my account of trying to discourage a Robin who kept attacking my sunroom windows. (click here) My pictures of owls & hawks didn't work very well -- neither did turning on all of the inside lights to max. What did slow him down quite a bit was placing newspaper sheets on the inside of the windows. Now he was just an irregular window warrior.
While out on the screened-in deck this evening, I understood why the Robin was so persistent -- his mate is building the flimsiest nest I've seen in a long time where power & phone lines cross and come into the house -- a few feet from the sunroom!
Now what do I do? Live & let live, I guess!
We'll just have to wait & see if the nest holds up.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

more Coot action

Last year I was obsessed with baby ducklings; this year it must be Coots. These were taken yesterday morning at Springbrook. I couldn't resist experimenting with slower shutter speeds.
Any opinions -- bad or good?

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Coots

Yesterday I promised you pictures of Coots.

Here they are!

"You should see the old Coot taking my picture!"

"He doesn't look that old to me."

"But he does look sinister -- just like this!"

"Is this the stuff you wrap sushi in?"

"NO! That's for salad -- this is for sushi!"

Yes, I'm behind too!
Realizing that starting tomorrow we're back to rain, cold, and maybe even snow, I had to get out to Springbrook again. It was a great morning! Having all the pictures to edit will make the dreary weather more bearable.
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

this morning at Springbrook

at Springbrook

even the moss seems greener

parents are bringing out their kids

geese are nesting

Mallards are paddling

Great Blue Herons are fishing

White-throated Sparrows digging in the ground

I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get some decent pictures of Ruby-crowned Kinglets ...

... without much success, as you can see. The little buggers were 30 to 50 feet straight up -- my neck still hurts!

Most of my shots turned out like this one.

Even though this photo may lead you to believe that I am preoccupied with bird rear ends, I did have better luck with American Coots (more pictures to follow).
All in all, it was an excellent morning -- although I should have gone out earlier -- around sunrise -- which I hope to do tomorrow!

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mike & Lizette

A few days ago I ran into this easy on the eyes & easy to read local blog by Mike & Lizette. What makes it interesting for those of us in the Twin Cities area is that they cover local parks and birding sites we might otherwise miss. Check it out here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Who reflects too much will accomplish little."

With apologies to Johann Schiller for borrowing the above quote,
take a look at what has kept me busy for the last several days.

Last Wednesday I saw this Robin on one of my feeders. I didn't know they ate Niger seeds or suet!

He wasn't eating from the feeder -- he was using it as a launching pad ...

... and aiming for his reflection in the window!

I first tried turning on all of the lights in the room thinking that this might minimize the reflection he was seeing. Didn't work!

He was back again ...

... and again! He wasn't getting hurt -- he's been doing it for several days! Why wasn't he looking for a mate? -- or watching Animal Planet?

Robins are afraid of hawks and owls, aren't they?
A brilliant solution:
I will make prints of some of my owl and hawk photos and tape them to the window!

While it worked for a little while, pretty soon he was back, aiming for the spots in the windows not covered.

My latest solution:

So far, it's working!

(click on pictures to enlarge)