Friday, April 26, 2013

No Ruddy Ducks but A Great Egret

              The evening of April 24th was drippy and getting dark, but I wanted to see if the Loons were gathering again.  The loons were there but they were scattered throughout the lake.  Instead a pair of Ruddy Ducks was the find on Fountain Lake near Dane Bay. The next day I went out hunting for the ducks but no luck. Instead a Great Egret was hanging out at the Channel by Brookside School.  An  Osprey was flying overhead several times but no chance at a shot, may be next time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Loons on a Sunny Day

Finally we have a break in the weather.  The sun is out but it is still in the 40s both today and yesterday.  What a difference the lighting makes in seeing birds and photographing them.  It has been a real treat.  Last night at sundown my friend and I drove along the shore and saw loons gathering for the night. By the time we left we counted 36 loons. No binoculars or camera but the almost moon was out and it was Loon Magic.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Birds of a Feather - Now what does that mean?

   It has been quite the week for migrating waterfowl. There is an aerator in the the back bay that attracts early ducks.  It is a stretch to see from our house, thus we have a spotting scope. Usually when the ice goes out the ducks leave shortly.  Because of the late snowstorms, these ducks have decided there is better fishing here than farther north. So this year I have had the pleasure taking photos even in nasty weather.

Mallards  - we have year around, but some migrate. Texas birders were excited to see them there    
Hooded Merganser

Horned Grebe

Red-breasted Merganser 
White Pelican

Blue Bill - Lesser Scaup

Northern Shoveler
Pied-billed Grebes - smallest ducks in MN.

American Coot
Canvasbacks by ice float
Common Loon by Edgewater diving

Common Merganser I mistook this for a diving loon.
Wood Duck  in our tree.

Hermit Thrush, Kingfisher and Downy Woodpecker

Spring on the lake is pretty exciting with migratory fowl: ducks, merganers, grebes, canvassback and even the (Un)Common Loon. While I went searching for waterfowl, I came upon the small thrush, kin to the robin and a kingfisher.  In Southern Minnesota we only have the Belted Kingfisher but it is a great bird fishing along the banks. Today I also saw a Brown Creeper which is here year round but not often spotted.
Hermit Thrush, smaller than a robin

Downy Woodpecker, the smallest of the local  woodpeckers

 The Belted Kingfisher flew ahead of me as I walked the shoreline.  He never came out in the clear. So I was lucky to get these shots with branches in front. I will try again another day.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Horned Grebes

We had two sunny days last week. One day I was too busy to go out birding and the other cool but quite productive. I photographed many water fowl on my neighborhood lake. To my surprise I had photos of Horned Grebes which we had not identified before seeing them now as I edit. So here is my delightful surprise.  More to come, I promise.

These photos were taken by the Channel near Brookside School. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Loons on Edgewater Bay

The Common Loon is not very common in Southern Minnesota. We do not have cool clear lakes as Northern Minnesota does but shallow muddy lakes. So we only get loons when they migrate. Gunnar heard one on Tuesday evening and we have been seeing them for several days. Our home in Oakwood is surrounded by  Edgewater Bay which is part of Fountain Lake. Loon viewing was good but the conditions were dreadful.  Cold, rain, snow, sleet and a strong north wind has been the dominate pattern.

There has been at 2 pairs of Common Loons on the lake this year.
Sometimes the loons let me take portraits shots and other times only candid shots.

I know he was looking at me.

I followed a pair for 30 minutes but I did not get them together in a shot.
Makes me stretch my shoulders when I see this.