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Tag Archives: eastern phoebes

Yesterday I saw two new birds at my feeders. The Yellow-rumped Warblers are migrating through. I have been seeing lots of them along the Red Cedar River but today I saw my first one on the farm. I think this is the first one I’ve ever photographed on the farm.

Yellow-rumped-Warbler-13-4-_1648

The Eastern Phoebes have also been plentiful along the Red Cedar River. I normally have them build a nest around the house and yesterday I saw my first one of the season on the farm.

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Something really unusual happened on Saturday. The sun was shining. Since spring started I think we have seen the sun about three times. On most of the other days it has snowed. Since the sun was out my wife and I decided to take a walk on the Red Cedar State Trail.

The no walking signs have been removed so people can now walk on the trail but with all of the snow some diehard folks are still trying to ski. On Saturday the trail was 90 percent snow covered between Menomonie and Irvington. In the morning the snow was crusted and the bare spots were frozen. by late morning the snow had turned to slush and the bare spots were muddy. Most of the hike was along the side of the trail where the ground was solid.

Leaf

Leaf

We hadn’t gone three hundred yards and we saw a Sharp-skinned Hawk on a tree next to the trail. Of course, my camera was in the pack. He didn’t seem concerned about our presence so I started to get the camera out when I notice a large group of kids walking towards us. I figured they would scare the hawk away so we just watched the hawk until it finally flew away.

We started seeing large numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers, Eastern Phoebes, Veerys, Brown Creepers, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets along the trail. It was a great day for birding. We also saw a couple of Bald Eagles fishing along the Red Cedar River.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Verry

Verry

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

The first flower of the year was also starting to bloom. We found Skunk Cabbage poking through the snow several places along the trail.

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

Late in the morning we started to be plagued by what I think were snow flies. We could hardly open our mouths without getting a bug flying in. In some places the snow was almost black with them. The birds were having a field day. There were large groups of swallows flying above the river.

Snow Flies

Snow Flies

On Monday we hiked the trail from Irvington to the five mile marker. On Monday there was less snow but where there was snow it had turned to ice so waking was a little difficult. There were a lot fewer birds although we did see and hear a fair number of Sandhill Cranes and saw a few eagles. There were also quite a few of Buffleheads in the river.

We had another six inches of snow overnight.

When we woke up this morning is was snowing out. The fifth straight day of snow. On the other hand it could have been rain. Since it was snow we decided to head down to the Red Cedar State Trail to do some hiking. By the time we reached the trail it was really snowing hard.

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I was surprised at how much bird activity there was along the trail. Normally this time of year the birds are singing but today not a peep. There were a lot Eastern Phoebes and American Robins along the trail. One of our goals was to see if the Bald Eagles were nesting at the 1.5 mile mark. Both of them were sitting next to the nest but not on the nest. There were a few ducks on the Red Cedar River. There were several other birds that I didn’t recognize which were migrating through. At one point an American Kestrel landed near us then few off. A short time later it landed on a Eastern Phoebe and drug it off of the trail.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

There were lots of leaves on the trail most of them had worked their way into the snow and were now covered with fresh snow.

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By the time we returned from the hike we were covered with heavy wet snow. I look a little miserable but in reality it was a great day to be out hiking although, to be honest, it felt like hiking in the first big snowfall of the season.

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