Tonight was a night to just take in all the little birds in the back yard. The invasion of the Redpolls is done. The 100’s of them that were in our yard are gone. We only have a small handful of them still sticking around. But we do have some song sparrows and dark eyed junco. Such pretty little birds.
Tonight I was able to enjoy the music if the Eveleth Gilbert 5-8 graders. It was a great concert with some really nice sounds. I am a proud mother of a very musical, yet shy, 8th graders. It was great seeing him up there looking so handsome. Such a difference from just a few years ago. I guess you could say it isn’t my little boy anymore, but my young man up there. I look at him and I see such a young man filled with so much potential and talent and love, and I fear for him that he won’t find his way in life. Yet I know as a parent I need to let him do it himself. So in the meantime I will snap my pictures and cherish each one.
What a wonderful night. Today was a special day, today, 11 years ago my little girl came into this world. So this made it a very special day. Oly wanted to go to diner at the Wilbert Cafe in Cotton so off we went. Afterwards on the way home we decided to take Hwy 7. The kids were a blast and made the ride so much fun. It has been a while since the kids wanted to travel with us, so this was fun. We didn’t see a lot out tonight, but did capture a Broad winged hawk and a male and female Northern Harrier. But nothing is as awesome as the fierce redpoll that was waiting guarding his water when we got home.
Tonight after supper, it looked like such a nice evening that we had to head out to the Bog. We drove our normal route, down Hwy 7 to Stone Lake Road. We saw a large number of Sandhill cranes and the Ospreys, and of course Joe’s favorite, the American Kestrel. On the way down to the lake we were lucky to see a Northern Flicker. I love how the wings are yellow when they fly. When we got done to the lake there was a nice number of Blue Winged Teals. There was a mating pair right at the bend and as I took some shots of them I thought to myself “why are you named that?” While they are pretty, I didn’t see much else then a regular duck. And then they took off, and then I knew where they got their name. The coloring on them as they flew off was amazing. We moved down the the boat landing where we were treated with a giant white butt. A trumpeter swan was looking for food right off the landing. It came up with a beak full of black oozing mud. But that was fine as this was the closest that the swans had gotten. While I was standing there taking pictures a small bird, I assumed was a robin or a northern flicker from the size, flew from a tree and over my head. As we watched the bird flutter it’s wings, we realized that it was a Sharp Shined Hawk.
After that we headed down Hwy 7 again, catching a quick glimpse of a Northern Harrier, who refused to come closer for a shot. We decided to head over to Mary Lou’s Feeders in hopes of finding some tree sparrows. This time we took Sax Road over and decided to take Admiral Road, which lead to another road. We saw a lot of little birds and someone’s pet rabbit before we came upon a porcupine in the tree. I was excited and made Joe stop so I could take a picture of it as all winter I could only find ones sleeping in the trees. From there I tried to track down a northern flicker that kept on flying over the road. After I got back into the truck to get warm, Joe said “what’s that in the tree? It just flew in and looks big.” So I looked through my lens and there it was, my favorite bird, the Great Grey Owl. I love this bird and when I say this bird, I mean this bird. This is the first Great Grey that I was able to photograph on December 15, 2015. I know this because my first one had a funky eye and so does this one. I call him “Crazy Eyes”. I was able to walk very slowly down the road and stand right across from the Owl. It would look at me and then go back to his search. I could have been there for hours snapping away, but I got cold and a car was coming. So after a lot of photos I jumped in the truck and we left Crazy Eyes in his tree looking for mice. At that point it was time to go home as nothing could compare to that ending. My favorite bird.
One little pansy trying to stay strong and bloom in the downpour…
Today was a windy windy day. We had to head down to Superior for Oly’s Early Birthday dinner with family. On the way we stopped at Canal Park to see the waves are the wind was horrible. I was able to get a few shots before the force off the water and wind made me run back inside the warm truck. Even my two windbreakers (Joe and Oly) couldn’t stop the water from soaking me. On the way home we happened upon a smaller hawk sitting in a tree. Joe was able to turn around and we pulled over to get some shots of it. We were lucky in that it had stayed in place and it sat and posed for me. I was able to get some great photos of it and we drove away very soon to leave it in peace. I was really excited when I looked at the photos in camera and saw that it was a broad winged hawk. This was a hawk that Joe and I have seen from a far far distance in the Bog. Never close enough to get a good look at all, and I figured it would be a long time before I would get the chance to take a shot of it as it a bird that stays in the think of the woods.
Today was a tougher day to shoot, the light was off and ever changing. When I thought I had it set the clouds would move, the sun would poke out, or go away, or it would start snowing or raining. It made it a challenge to try and get a sharp photo. Very frustrating when you are trying to take pictures of very fast moving critters. I was able to get a purple finch but it was so dark it didn’t turn out, and I am not a huge believer in using photoshop to make it fake, I use it for small adjustments.
We had pulled over to grab a shot of some birds and I happened to look over and there staring me in the eye was a rather large Sandhill Crane. Normally I have only seen these critters from a great distance, except for the time they were flying up out of the ditch and scared me. I thought they were rather ugly creatures…needless to say, this showed me how beautiful they really are.
However, I was able to get some nice pictures, missed a few that I wanted. The Belted Kingfisher was sitting on the power line and we were in fast heavy traffic and unable to stop. But we saw it so that was a good thing. The Northern Harrier was our friend today and stayed around us for a good time. We also were able to capture a Wilson’s Snipe. A good handful were circling around us calling back and forth. The photo is not the best as they were small and high up but it was really neat to be underneath listening to them.
We saw a lot of Northern Flickers and learned a lot about them. It was a great day to spend with the hubby doing what we love.
After a fine meal made by my son, it was time to go for a drive. Our target tonight was, we hoped, a Great Horned Owl. I have seen this bird 3 times, once in the bog where I got a blurry photo as it flew off, once on the way home from work, and once on the way home from Duluth. It is a bird I really want a picture of.
While the sun was extremely bright out, it was a tad bit chilly. We drove some roads we hadn’t hit in awhile and a few time we thought we were going to be stuck. We did, however, have a nice night and found some new birds.
On a lake we found the Blue-winged Teal and a Redhead duck. We also happened to see and hear a Brown-headed cowbird but it flew off before I could get a picture. And we heard a Eastern Meadowlark. Such a beautiful song. I did get one thing off my list, that was capturing a Northern Flicker in flight. Problem was that it was backlight by the sun, so it is not as clear as I would like it. It was a small flock of about 5 Flickers and I was only able to get one of them fast little birds.
We did get a show from three norther harriers, male and two females. They were soaring in circles extremely high about us. I find that I really love these hawks and look forward to seeing them. The males are so striking with the white/grey body with the black tipped wings.
One of the best things today (besides the turkey we thought was a bear from far away—it had it’s tail fanned out and the porcupine that was actually on the ground) was a flock of Magpies. Normally we may see one or two, and once three, together, but tonight we saw at least 6 of them sitting in a tree. I tried to sneak up on them and snap a picture but they took off on me the minute I started walking. I did get one of the closer ones sitting in the tree with the setting sun shining on its white making it look red.
On the way home we met a train that I could resist taking a snap of, and then we came around the corner and the moon was on the rise. It was so orange from the setting sun, it was amazing. I snapped some shots where it was behind some trees and then we raced to the top of the look out and were able to get some shots of the moon as it was higher in the sky, still rather orange. It was a nice way to end the night.
I truly wish I could be a wildlife photographer…
I love spring when the days are like this. The weather was beautiful when I came home. I sat with my son around our fire pit while he tended the fire. He had made a wonderful meal and it was time to relax. I was able to enjoy the many birds that had flocked to my feeders and were enjoying the new water feature. I sat for a long time and even was able to grab a few shots. I love how saucy the redpolls are and how they look at you.
I then moved onto the first boat ride of the year. The Hubby, Daughter, and I went to one of our local lake to get the boat engine running and to try out a rod the Hubby made for me. The first thing I saw was a rather large beaver swimming by the dock. The sound of the loons were heavy in the air. I was given a good handful of chances to capture them on film as I boated by them. We happened upon some common mergansers and bufflehead ducks also. I am pretty sure I saw a belted kingfisher, but I am not sure. As we were loading the boat a Coopers Hawk showed up. But the best sight was the rising of the moon. It is full and wonderful and with the rays of the setting sun washing over it, I had to take some shots.
It is nights like this that I feel most at peace. My family around me and my camera in my hand.