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Category Archives: Birds

As I mentioned in my previous blog we had gone down to Red Wing, Minnesota looking for Bald Eagles. There were plenty of eagles but most of them were sitting in trees across the lagoon. Only a couple were fishing. What kept us entertained during the morning were the ducks that were fishing next to shore. There appeared to be a lot of small fish near the surface and the ducks were having a field day catching them.Unfortunately there was a lot of steam coming off of the water so sometimes it was difficult to see the birds. This female mallard had a large fish that she was in the last stages of eating. I’ve spent a lot of time watching ducks and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a mallard eating fish.

This Common Merganser also caught a large fish.

 

I had a great time watching the Common Goldeneyes fishing. They had the advantage in that they could dive to catch the fish. Every time they came up with a fish the mallards would all go after them. There would be a goldeneye racing along trying to eat the fish followed by several mallards.

It was below zero last week when my wife and I drove over to Red Wing, Minnesota. During the winter months Bald Eagles and Bald Eagle watchers gather in Covill Park. On this particular day there were probably 50 or 60 of them sitting in the trees. Unfortunately there was not a lot of activity. A couple of them were looking for fish but without much luck. At one point a train came by and sounded its horn. That got about 20 of them to take off all at once. Of course that was when I was sitting in the car trying to keep warm.

 

I’ve had a few Northern Cardinals show up at the feeder. They usually turn up when it is snowing out.

 

I had been trying to capture shots of Black-capped chickadees in mid flight. Unfortunately it was snowing heavily and was too dark to get good crisp shots. What I ended up with is what I call Chickadee abstracts.

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to drive to Grantsburg, Wisconsin to view the fall migration of the Greater Sandhill Cranes. Approximately 40 thousand Sandhill Cranes migrate through Crex Meadows in the fall. This is a outstanding place to watch cranes because you can get up close to the cranes.  In the morning, at sunrise, the cranes start moving with most of them flying out to the fields southeast of Grantsburg to feed. The best time to see the cranes is mid October to mid November.

There are also a large number of Trumpeter Swans residing in the flowages. They are typically quiet but when the cranes start moving they make a lot of noise and the swans then start honking as well.

 

 

This visit was made in mid October when the fall leaves were still in color.

 

Just a few of the birds around the feeder this summer.

American Goldfinch

Downy Woodpecker

Chipping Sparrow

Baltimore Oriole

Earlier I had mentioned that a pair of House Wrens had taken up residence under my bedroom window. He is their starting at sunrise and sounding off until around 8am every morning. It was a big mistake to let a House Wren take up residence under my bedroom window.

Last week when I was mowing the lawn I noticed a fledgling Tree Swallow was watching me every time I drove by on the mower. Later in the day I walked out and took a few photos as it watched. In a couple of days I noticed it was gone.

Normally I put out some grape jelly in the spring when the Baltimore Orioles return. I usually take the feeders down once the orioles have gone off to nest since they don’t seem to be interested in feeding on the jelly. This year I kept a small feeder up and it turns out that other birds also like the grape jelly. The Red-bellied Woodpecker really likes it and he turns up multiple times during the day.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks also like grape jelly.

Even an occasional Baltimore Oriole turns up at the feeder.

 

When I first started photographing birds I had a blind that I setup out in the back yard near the bird houses. This enabled me to get some great shots of birds building their nests and feeding their young. Several years ago I got the bright idea of moving some bird houses closer to the house so I could photograph from an window or from my deck. This worked great and I had a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nest in one of the houses. This year I had a bluebird check the house out but it turned out a House Wren finally claimed it. Unfortunately the bird house is under a bedroom window and the House Wren seems to start singing well before sunrise.

It was fun watching the wren build it’s nest. They use sticks and it proved difficult to get some of the longer sticks into the house.