Friday, June 01, 2007

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

I got a call Tuesday from a friend inviting me to go for a nature walk at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Her niece had been there before and suggested that she ask her "birdy friend" to go along. It was quite warm and humid and I should have stayed home to get some work done but I really needed a break outdoors so I went. The Crown Vetch was in bloom in the sunny areas along the trails.
I saw and heard a new sparrow near the edge of this pond. You can see the little brown blob near the bottom of this picture. Watching in my bins I think it was a swamp sparrow but I would like a better look before I add it to my life list.
Many parts of the trails led through shady woods. This spot was a nice break from the hot sun. There were many creeks in the area and it was nice to see that the water was so clear. The air smelled so nice in this spot. This wildlife refuge is just a stone's throw away from both the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and the enormous Mall of America. I didn't see much for birds, although I did see a pair of American Redstarts. I didn't get a picture but I did get to watch them for quite a while which was nice. I really love taking pictures both to remember what I've seen and to help with details for ID but sometimes I feel like the camera gets in the way. It separates me from the birds I'm watching and puts them at more of a distance. Anyone else feel this way or is it just me?
I did get pictures of two feeder birds at the Refuge. It's the odd couple- this big wild turkey
and this tiny ruby-throated hummingbird! The hummer is a tad out of focus but it's my first hummer picture so I'm happy.
While we were there the wind picked up and was tossing the tree tops so loudly it was impossible to hear any birds. Later in the day thunderstorms came through with cool, drier air behind them. I'm wishing the rain along to you friends in the drier parts of the country.


20 comments:

Jayne said...

What a beautiful place Lynne. Glad you decided to go, and LOVE the photos, esp. the sweet hummer! Have a great weekend! You surely have been missed around here girlie. :c)

NatureWoman said...

That looks like a wonderful place to visit Lynne. I absolutely feel like the camera gets in the way sometimes. I have to remember to enjoy myself, too!
Congratulations on your first hummingbird photo - yay!!!

Body Soul Spirit said...

Great pictures! I have yet to see a wild turkey or a hummingbird here this year.
Ruth

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lynne,
I'm glad you got to visit that refuge. I haven't been there for many years and need to get back there again since it's on "my side" of the Cities and I don't have to contend with much traffic. Thanks for sharing your nice pictures (did the oriole come and chase the hummer away his feeder? ;-)

Mary said...

Thank you, Lynne! I think there's a guy named "oh, I forgot the name" - a tropical storm who will hit the southeast from the Gulf. It will be heaven. We have very dry heat and the humidity that I dislike will be welcome!

Congrats on that hummer! Great photo!

There are time when I put the camera down. Just to sit and stand and watch - taking it in. Yes, the camera gets in the way, at time. I agree.

Glad you took some time for a walk with a friend. To be near the water is wonderful.

Susan Gets Native said...

I take pictures, then enjoy. If the birdy is far away, I get a look through the bins, then grab the camera.
I think that's how I get so lucky with my pictures.

Looks like Frogger...er...Blogger, remembers you!

LostRoses said...

Hi Lynne, what a nice walk you took, and I'm glad you saw a "maybe" lifer. I always like to be sure too, before I go claiming it. Sometimes I've had to wait a long time for that! My camera has a crappy zoom so I don't even try for bird pics anymore, but one of these days maybe I'll upgrade. I envy the bird photos I see on the blogs. (That includes you!)

Larry said...

I don't really like fussing with a camera because it impedes your birding freedom a bit.On the other hand, I don't like being without it-just in case.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Here's to many more hummer shots. Love them!

LauraHinNJ said...

It's been too hot here to be out looking for birds.

;-(

eriesargonaut said...

The camera does get in my way, too, sometimes. I see most of the action through the little LCD instead of real size. But look at the great pictures you got! I think it is worth it. I love the hummer shot.

Lynne said...

Jayne- It's nice to be missed! ;)

Pam- I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about cameras.

Ruth- It was funny to see both birds feeding at the same time.

RuthieJ- Let's meet there some time! I didn't see any orioles that morning.

Mary- I'm glad you're getting much-needed rain. Now I can quit doing the rain dance. (my neighbors are laughing!)

Susan- Maybe I'll try your approach. I usually look first, pix second.

Lostroses- I'm not a crazy lister (don't know my #) but before I add a bird to my life list I really do like to think that if I saw one again I'd be able to id it.

Larry- You're right, I always carry my camers and I often use pix to help with id and to study further when I get home. It is a valuable tool for me.

Liza- I sure was excited to get that first hummer shot!

Laura- Hoping it cools down your way.

eriesargonaut- Thanks for visiting here! You are right, sometimes it IS worth it!

Deb said...

Lynne- This reminds me of all the wonderful places around the Cities I could have spent some time birding when I was a teenager...instead of worrying about boys and all that stuff. :)

Lynne said...

Deb- Our priorities have shifted haven't they?

;)

nina said...

The camera definitely helps with the IDs. No matter how much I try to study it and imprint it upon my mind, I always get confused when I sit later and try to remember details. Maybe when I really know everything of what I see, the photos won't be so important for me--but for now...

p.s.--thanks for your help with the butterfly--how are you with dragonflies? :-)

mon@rch said...

Love watching the Hummingbirds and Turkey! Looks like a great place to visit!

HellZiggy said...

Hey you.
They're banding the Colonnade peregrines tomorrow.
http://www.minnesotazoo.com/conservation/Local/PeregrineFalcon/banding_07.asp
I'm taking a couple hours vacation so I can get out of work early enough to go! I don't know if Birdchick will be there or not...
Can you make it?
~the Other Sharon

Lynne said...

Hellziggy- I'll be there with bells on!!

HellZiggy said...

Yay! :)

~Zig

HellZiggy said...

Yay! :)

~Zig