Sunday, February 11, 2007

Birding With the Birdchick and Stan Tekiela

Oh my, what a BLAST! It was a cold and clear, a beautiful day to be birding with fun people in northern Minnesota. Our first stop was the city of Cloquet to look for a few gray-crowned rosy finches that have been seen regularly there this winter. These birds usually winter from southern Canada to northern New Mexico so Minnesota is WAY out of their range. No luck on the rosy finches so we were off to the Hedbom logging road!

I was lucky to spot this first bird on Hedbom very high in a birch tree.

A ruffed grouse!

We watched a bit as he would teeter out on tiny branches eating catkins dangling on the tips.
Here's one of my favorite pictures. A black spruce where an American three-toed woodpecker WAS! Watch out Stan Tekiela- professional nature photographer- here I come! Stan was great. He's a talented photographer who is the author of numerous beautiful field guides. His "Birds of Minnesota" was my first bird book and I've given several copies as gifts. (It's now autographed! Thank you Stan!) Stan is also a very knowledgeable naturalist. He showed us where the grubs live just under the bark of these trees. The grubs are the food source that the American three-toed and black-backed woodpeckers are after.
Here is another of my skilled photos. We saw several of both the black-backed and the rarer American three-toed, but I got a shot of the not-so elusive Hairy Woodpecker!
The first person I met at the beginning of the day was HellZiggy aka "the other Sharon" a frequent commenter on Birdchick's blog. She's a fun and interesting woman. We spent quite a few hours on the road, but there was lots of conversation, chocolate and laughs. Good company!
Our last stop before loading up to head home was the Coffee Cabin in Duluth. The field out back is where the northern hawk owl has been hanging out. Our two vans pulled in and there he was. This is undoubtedly the same northern hawk-owl that I saw in January. He was further away than my view of him in January so I just enjoyed watching him and didn't take any pictures.
Sorry Susan, I know my bird pictures are pretty lacking. Check out HellZiggy's blog though. She got some awesome photos. But I did get a picture of me with the Birdchick! Sharon is great fun, quick to laugh and generous in sharing her vast bird knowledge. That girl knows her birds!
After watching the hawk-owl out in the cold (the wind had picked up and temps were dropping) we ducked in to the Coffee Cabin for a hot cup of coffee and to warm our tushies in front of the fireplace. When we got back to the Cities four of us capped off the day with dinner. Sharon, HellZiggy the other Sharon, Kate (another sweet lady from the trip) and I had a great meal together, talked alot and laughed even more.

Great birding and even better company. Wonderful day.

Here's my trip list:
American Crow
Common Raven
Pileated Woodpecker
Pine Grosbeak LIFE BIRD!!
Pine Siskin
Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Hawk Owl
Northern Shrike
Ruffed Grouse
Black-billed Magpie
Hairy Woodpecker

edit: oops! I forgot the coolest woodpeckers (thanks HellZiggy!)
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker


LauraHinNJ said...

I knew I should have come to see the Ruffed Grouse - cool pic!

Sounds like a fun time with fun people. The Birdchick is cool; she makes everyone look very tall, doesn't she?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne!
What a fun recap of our fun day. :)

You left most of the woodpeckers off your trip list though... I never even saw the hairy woodpecker, and I don't remember the Pine Siskins...

You got better grouse pictures than I did!

~Other Sharon

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

See? You gotta come to Minnesota!

Your pictures are AWESOME!! Thanks for telling me about the missing woodpeckers on the list- I lost my head!
Stan pointed out the pine siskins on Hedbom road shortly before we headed out.
You are one fun gal and I look foreward to the next trip!

Susan Gets Native said...

If I didn't like you, Lynne, I would hate you right now.
What a cool day! Isn't it neat to meet the "person behind the blog"?
And all of us will be doing that this fall.
See, Laura????? We coulda been there.
But it will be your turn to be the bird guide in October.

Jayne said...

Wow, what a great day you had! I've been reading Birdchick for some time now... how cool you got to meet her and bird with her. I am soooo very jealous! Wonderful bird list too. Waaahhhh... I wanna go!

Anonymous said...

Hi: you don't know me (Jackie) but I have been reading your blog for a short time now. What great fun you had. (I wish I could have been there)I'm easing into this blogging world. Glad you had fun, now I just need to know, how warm was your hat. I love it!!!

Mary said...

Lynne, I am so happy you had a great time. Meeting Birdchick would definitely be a highlight for me. Your photos are good but your story is even better! I'm impressed. I can't wait to meet you!

Anonymous said...

What a great day! And a new lifer - yay!! Did your new outdoor gear keep you nice and warm?

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Now you'll just have to come up next winter! We'll have to come up with a name for our blog/bird/pal group before Cape May. We're going to have such a blast, people will want to go birding with US!!

It was such a fun day on so many levels.

HI there!! Thanks for visiting me! I've only been blogging since last June, but let me tell you, I've found some wonderful folks out there. Let me know if you take the plunge and start up your own blog- so I can visit you too!
And yes- the hat kept my big head nice and toasty!

Birdchick is a fun gal. I knew her from when she worked at the bird store. Back then she let me try out her Stokes DLS binoculars which led to me getting my own pair! Those bins are one of my favorite posessions. She also recently gave me advice on another electronic birding gizmo which will be coming up in a future post. I can't wait to meet you too! I think we should come up with a name for our blog/bird/pal group.

It was FUN FUN FUN! And yes I stayed perfectly warm! (there were no wardrobe malfunctions)

Mary said...

Tweety Birds of Blogland

When I think of more, I'll post a comment.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...


Oh I like it! More! More!

Mary said...

Susan should be able to come up with zingers!

Mary said...

This is what I came up with on my lunch hour:

Chattering Chickadees
Cackling Geese of the East
The Coo Coo Cuckoos of Cape May
Nutty Nuthatches
Humming Hummers
Blabbering Bufflehead Bloggers

This one cracked me up but we'll never see this bird her:

Brown Booby Bloggers (say that ten times fast after a glass of wine)

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had so much fun!! Many of those birds would have been lifers! Always fun meeting people for the first time!

Deb said...

Cool trip! It's great that you got to see black backed and American three toed woodpeckers, all in one day! My male pine grosbeak showed up for about a minute again today (I was home with a sick kid).

Susan Gets Native said...

I have been thinking that this gaggle of goofy birder chicks needed a name.
I will work on some and maybe post about it tomorrow. It's not like I will be going anywhere.

Mary said...

I think "Gaggle of Goofy Birder Chicks" is a great name!

Anonymous said...

What a great name "Gaggle of Goofy Birder Chicks." May I join you?
If you are all coming to Cape May I could meet you there since I live in central New Jersey. I know I'm not as young as you guys are (I'm 76) but that doesn't mean I am not young at heart. I'm not sure if I know the ins and outs of a computer well enough to be a blogger, but I'm learning. Jackie

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

It really is fun to meet folks face to face that I'd been reading.

I sure would like to see a male pine grosbeak. They're prettier than the females.

You guys sure are wimpy about your snow. I think we've only had 3-4 snow days (school cancellations) in the 8+ YEARS that my kids have been in school!!
Work on those names!!

I knew you'd come up with some great suggestions! LOL!!

OF COURSE you can meet us there!! The more the merrier! I'll be 50 in September and I'd like to think I have a young soul- sounds like you do too. Setting up a blogger account is pretty easy. Even if you don't write a blog you can use it to leave comments. Keep me posted and I'll do the same.

Anonymous said...

Sharon is a babe! I love bird chick.