Saturday, May 31, 2008


storm passing to the East about 7:30 p.m.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Nikon Coolpix P80

If I couldn't afford a single lens reflex & a good telephoto lens, I might consider this camera.

Eastern Phoebe

Last week at Springbrook I came upon this disheveled Phoebe near where a Phoebe (same one?) had built a nest last year.

Sure enough, there was a new nest where the old one had been. Check these 2007 posts from July 22, and July 23.

"Please go away!"

Another Pheobe: "Maybe I should be using screws instead of mud?!"
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

new species sighted

I was all set to head out for Springbrook this morning. Would you believe I got up at 5 a.m.? The sky towards the East looked promising -- clear & a few clouds -- but in the West it was dark -- very dark. A quick check of the weather on TV confirmed that we would be getting not only clouds, but rain! Oh, well -- there is always tomorrow (or probably Saturday).
In the meanwhile, here are pictures of a sighting last week that was a first for me at Springbrook.
It was definitely not feral -- not particularly frightened of me -- well fed and clean, not like the feral cats that frequent Blue Cloud Abbey.

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new camera? -- lens?

Canon has announced a maze of rebates on cameras & lenses. A good place to sort it all out is Bob Atkins site; check out the various titles under May 2008 - New content and let us know what you decide to get.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Carlos Avery

We interrupt our broadcast from Springbrook to bring you this message from Carlos.
After Craig was kind enough to let me know that Carlos had not suffered any damage from last Sunday's storm, I decided to go up there this afternoon. I don't know how Craig does it, but he has some terrific current pictures from Carlos on his blog. My experience was pitiful.

After 3 hours there I'm reduced to gosling pictures?

Or a noisy Marsh Wren hiding behind old Cat Tails?

Or a tired Tree Swallow? Tomorrow morning I'm back at Springbrook!

One interesting encounter was a pair of Sandhill Cranes. What made it interesting for me was that they were among some fairly large trees & brush as compared to their usual open habitat. The explanation may be the higher water level from Sunday's storm. Anyway, they were a welcome sight.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

medley in yellow

more from Springbrook

female American Goldfinch

Yellow Warbler

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Monday, May 26, 2008

this morning at Springbrook

This morning I had to get over to Springbrook & see if yesterday's storm had caused any damage. Many leaves had been stripped from the trees and the ponds were full of water; otherwise, everything seemed OK -- except for the few birds. The warblers seemed to have disappeared -- I didn't see any ducklings or goslings or even deer. However, below are a few of the usual suspects.

early morning fishing

female Downy

and we all know him
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Sunday, May 25, 2008


We in the Circle Pines area were fortunate this afternoon to only get some hail -- about marble size -- compared to our neighbors to the north in Coon Rapids and Hugo who suffered substantial property damage. Our yard birds seem to be OK. The mosquitoes are also fine -- I got my first bite of the season while taking pictures of the hail.
I had thought about going to Carlos Avery this afternoon and am glad I didn't. According to news reports, the center of the storm passed directly over it
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more from Springbrook -- last Thursday

My friend, Bucky the Beaver, is working harder then ever; I just can't figure out what or where he is building.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

I didn't know they had red under the wings until I saw this picture on my monitor!
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday morning at Springbrook

This morning Alex & I were left to fend for ourselves. What to do? Go to Springbrook Nature Center, of course. Every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. you can observe the feeding of the animals!

Alex wasn't too sure about this boa constrictor approaching him.

But when the attendant picked it up, he wanted to touch it. The other kids weren't so sure.

One of the new bridges at Springbrook.

Alex has several turtles at home, so to see one in the wild is a real treat.

What is he pointing at?

This Great Blue Heron.

Another bridge, another creek, another frog or turtle.

By now it was after noon -- both of us were tired -- Wendy's sounded mighty good!

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Friday, May 23, 2008

more from Springbrook

early morning chat

Great Egret fishing

Red-winged Blackbird defending his territory

Aren't you glad they're not any bigger?
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

close-ups of the heron from the previous post

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this morning at Springbrook

This morning seemed like a perfect time to go birding. I arrived at Springbrook shortly after 6 a.m. and was met by this Great Blue Heron who seemed to be content just watching the new ducklings swim by.
(more pictures later)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

blogging, birding, photography

I have been encouraged to keep this blog going by fellow bloggers, birders, and photographers. Their work inspires me to get up before sunrise for picture taking; those who know me are incredulous. If you haven't looked at these blogs lately, do so!

Birdchick is simply fun -- you never know what she will do next -- from keeping bees -- to organizing pub nights -- while digiscoping and blogging about birds.

Craig's photography is achieving new levels and his descriptions of birding are always interesting. He has helped me identify birds, kindly suggested software & equipment options, and always encouraged me.

Ecobirder is fulfilling his quest to become "
an official member of nature's paparazzi." Always entertaining!

Laura has left Duluth and accepted a position with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. But, as you can see from her blog, her heart is still in Minnesota & Wisconsin.

Although Liz does not blog (although I wish she did), take a look at her web site. Her latest treat for us is the web cam in her back yard so we can watch the birds at her elaborate feeder setup.

Since Lynne got her Canon XTi, her photography has improved by leaps & bounds. You can just see how she enjoys birds and nature. Her other great talent is writing -- always inspiring & uplifting.

Mike & Lizette encourage me to explore. You never know where their next trip will be, whether near or far. Fun reading and looking!

Two blogs that remind me of my interest in birds while in grade and high school are those of Bird Girl and the SW WI birder. If you want to see nature through young eyes, check them out.

I was surprised to learn that I had met the Weekend Shooter some 25 years ago when we were both working in Paynesville, MN. Of all of these blogs and sites, his photography is probably the most diverse, although birds are always there. I think I can relate well to him since both of us remember processing film and making prints in darkrooms. I don't know anyone else who would fit Canon lenses on Nikons to get the best possible photos.

Last, but certainly not least, is Mike Hendrickson -- an outspoken birder who established the Sax-Zim Birding Festival and never backs down from a challenge. If controversy energizes you, you need to read Mike's blog (although I think lately he has become more mellow). If you need a birding guide, call him!

Monday, May 19, 2008

now may be the time

Canon rebates

more from yesterday at Carlos

Oh, how I wish I could have gotten a better shot!
Until yesterday I didn't have ANY photos of Scarlet Tanagers. All of last year I think I saw only one. This may be better than nothing, but at least I know where to look now -- near the entrance that leads to the fire tower north of Sunrise River.
Other sightings included Sandhill Cranes, Great Blue Herons, Common Yellow-throats, Marsh Wrens, and some swans at too great a distance to identify. The Black Terns have not returned yet. I thought I saw a Bank Swallow, but I didn't detect any activity at the sand pit near Pool 4 where they have previously nested.
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Yellow Warbler

I think I keep taking pictures of them because I just love to write Butterbutt.
There are still many around. I wonder if some may decide to nest here instead of going further North.

Blue-winged Teal
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

this afternoon at Carlos

Late this afternoon I visited Carlos Avery. I hadn't taken any bird photos for nearly a week as I was debating with myself whether to continue (for reasons I won't discuss). However, I discovered that I really "need" to be out there -- to watch -- to photograph -- and then share what I've seen. The motivation for this is difficult to describe. I certainly do not make money doing this -- nor have I achieved fame -- nor do I expect either in the future, particularly with the limited skills I have at my age. It's more of a spiritual thing -- such as I discuss on my other blog. I hope that I may awaken the desire in others to enjoy nature -- appreciate God's creation -- and depict it in some artistic form -- whether photography, painting, drawing, writing, or some manner that I haven't even thought of. I think of the coffee slogan: "Life is short, stay awake for it."

The goslings have hatched at Carlos.
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Thursday, May 15, 2008


Photography can be just a matter of luck.
-- Dmitri Kessel

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Canon EOS 1000D

Read about it here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

it ain't just deer

other critters from yesterday at Springbrook

my friend, Bucky the Beaver, is back

if you look closely, you can see his big front teeth just under the water

I couldn't resist one more picture of a butter butt

Common Grackle

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

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Monday, May 12, 2008

deer at sunrise

With clouds predicted for the afternoon & rain for the evening & tomorrow, this seemed like a good morning to get out early to Springbrook. Just as the sun was rising I ran into these frisky deer.

bird pictures from this morning will follow
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