It seemed like a good sign! The river was wide open with just a few ice chunks floating downstream. My second bird was a blue heron- my first for the year. Within minutes a hiker stopped to tell me that there was a rookery on an island just about a mile or so south of where we were and that he had seen 10 herons there. I got back in the car with his directions and started out to find the rookery. Forty five minutes and many wrong turns later I found myself at the boat launch on the other side of the river where I could follow the trails to see the rookery. I have to say that I thought the parking area at the boat launch was pretty secluded. There were 3 guys in 3 cars parked in 3 corners of the lot talking on cell phones. I felt they were all looking at me. I don't usually get creeped out birding by myself, but this time my radar went off. Of course I had to argue with myself just a bit so I screwed up my courage and hopped out of the car to take a look at a trail map posted only about 10 feet from the car.
That's when THESE GUYS attacked! These stinking honkers came around the car so fast I barely had time to react. It was like one of those dreams where danger is coming and it feels like you're running through pudding. Back in the car, heart pounding. Those nasty bastard geese were flapping their wings and hissing at me! I had one of those post-adrenaline giggle fits and when I caught my breath I noticed a fourth car come creeping into the lot. The driver went slowly to each of the 3 parked cars... I'm pretty sure there was an illegal transaction made.
Bye-bye boat landing.
Back to the park on the other side of the river I went. Happy to be in a safer feeling environment I spied a group of these smallish water birds.
Pied-billed Grebes!! They are a common water bird in Minnesota but a first for me!! I am admittedly lame at identifying waterbirds, so if I'm wrong please break it to me gently.
I still want to see that rookery. Art said he'd go with me on Sunday.