Friday, January 22, 2010

January Rocks in Minnesota

I'm not a New Year's resolution gal but I am going to try to change a few things. One of those changes to to get out and DO more. Another forward change is that we're going to get up to Hasty Brook more. We've got this wonderful building but it has no inside finished. We have LOTS of work to do to get the upstairs comfy and livable. Our Good Neighbor has been kind enough to keep our long driveway plowed so every other weekend, regardless of the temperature, we've gone to Hasty. Last Saturday we got up there in mid-morning. The first bird (other than the bazillion Chickadees) that I saw was a Northern Shrike. Shrikes are easy enough to find in northern Minnesota but this one was the first here- Yard Bird! This Shrike was not bothered by our presence and stayed in the area all day. It would fly between the other side of the creek and a birch snag over the feeders. I guess there were plenty of little snacks for the Shrike!
I love this photo even though the background makes my eyes wiggle.

My next new yard bird was this Bald Eagle. I see Eagles most every trip to Hasty but this was the first one that was "parked" there.

Last Tuesday evening Good Neighbor Mark called to tell me that they had a Varied Thrush coming to their feeders. I made a quick plan to drive up on Thursday. Wednesday morning when I heard the crummy freezing rain forecast for Thursday I knew I just had to drop my plans and get up there right away. When I got up there Renee was home and graciously invited me in! I spent the next two hours warm and comfy, sipping coffee with Renee, watching the Varied Thrush and waiting for the bird to drop down into the sun so I could get a good photo.
Lifer! And such a pretty bird. Thank you Renee and Mark.

This picture needs a caption.

I had about a million things to do today but a quick check on Facebook led me to a black bear den web-cam at the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. Lily the black bear mama was in labor and I was hooked. I watched her belly contract and listened to her huff. After a bit I heard the tiny squeak of the baby! I don't know which sound moved me more- the teeny tiny baby bear sounds or the soft huffs and grunts of mama. Finally I put the laptop down so I could get moving on my chores and errands. I glanced out the window to check the bird status in the back yard and something different caught my eye. It looked like dry leaves were spilling out of the Wood Duck box entrance. I kind of assumed that the army of gray squirrels had finally moved in but grabbed my binoculars anyway.
It was a Screech Owl!!
LIFER in my yard!
I grabbed the camera and fired off some shots.
(I have GOT to wash the windows.)
The photos were grainy at best.
I threw a quick post onto Facebook and called Art.
(I think he though I'd had a stroke or something...)
I called Susan and fluttered and babbled on about this amazing owl.
She understood me.
I NEEDED a better picture.
So I quietly slid the window up a few inches-
and cut a big hole in the screen!!
I've never heard a Screech Owl in this neighborhood before.
Maybe I'll try and call it in with my Birdjam (Hi Jay!)
So what do you think? Two lifers in January in Minnesota!
I think it's going to be a very good year.
Sunset at a tamarack bog.


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

You are off to a flying start.Awesome pictures of the birds and that sunset is gorgeous.

ivars krafts said...

I'm sure you will have a "very good year." Wonderful photos, especially of the Shrike!

Cindy said...

Lynne, can I come and rub your head for good luck?! Amazing! You had to be looking, though. If you don't look, you don't see! Congratulations!!

Linda in Erie said...

Oh, Lynne, you're so lucky! Bald Eagles, Northern Shrikes, Varied Thrushes and a Screech Owl! I don't know if I would actually cut the screen, though, but I'd do just about anything to get a shot like that!

Beth said...

WOW! What an amazing month so far. And I don't blame you a bit on cutting the screen - I would have done the same thing :)

Mary said...

INCREDIBLE. Your backyard birds eat mine. I'm so happy for you, Linne! It's going to be a great year.

troutbirder said...

Way to go Lynne. It does look like a great year just starting.

Jayne said...

Oh Lynne, this post was so packed full of wonderful visions and joy!! I've never seen a Shrike, so I was mesmerized, until I saw the Varied Thrush! WOW! Lucky you. Just as I was recovering from THAT, I get to see Lily in her den with cubs AND then get to share your excitement over the Screech Owl!!!! I think I need to change my pants now. Wow. :c) What a great start to my day.

Montanagirl said...

Wow - wonderful post, Lynne! Your photos are really good. Now and then we get a Shrike in our back yard too. I've seen only one Varied Thrush in our backyard since we moved back here in 2001. I believe I posted a photo of it awhile back. In fact, a picture of it showed up in Birds and Blooms Extra recently. January 2010 issue page 11. Love the Bald Eagle photo too. Your'e off to a good start!

Richard said...

Great pictures especially the N. Strike. are never going to get anything finished up there if you keep cutting joles in the screen.

Richard said...

Ooops...Holes in the screens.

Deb said...

Wonderful photos Lynne, and your enthusiasm is contagious! I especially like the tamarack bog sunset- it looks like home!

Anonymous said...

Oh how wonderful - a screech owl in the yard! Living in a nest box, no less. How cool is that?

And how cool is blogging, that you can find so many people who would also have cut a hole in their screen for a better photo. :)

Owlman said...


The Early Birder said...

Of course it's going to be a good year for you..more visits to Hasty, more lifers and great views of the regular visitors. Have fun.

Kirk Mona said...

Excellent yard birds. All I had this morning was a house sparrow!

Anonymous said...

Your passion is unmistakable...the screen is going to need to be fixed...a new application of your first resolution.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne,
Indeed, you have had a great
January! You deserve it Lynne.

PS; had a 'possum in the
backyard tonight!

Eve said...

I'm laughing so hard!!! This could be added to the "you know you're a birder when"...You cut a hold in the screen to get a picture of a lifer!!!!!
You are too much Lynne! I love your shrike pictures. I never got a better one than this! Love the great but the Owl, that is fantastic! Great fun, great job, now do something about that window before mosquito season!

NCmountainwoman said...

Great photographs! I'm sure it is indeed going to be a good year for you.

dAwN said...

Hee hee...Lynn you crack me up! cutting the screen..LOL..
The owl looks so happy in the nest box..was it just trying it out for size?
do you have owl boxes made?
hope it comes back..

jalynn01 said...

Hey Lynne! Thank you for the hug you sent my way...I needed one for sure.

I love all your shots today, but the varied thrush has to be my fav. I have never seen one either. The owl is special too... Sleepy head!

I will miss you in WV this year.. I can't go! :-(

ksdoolittle said...

All I can say is WOW! You hit it big this time, didn't you? Great shots, every one!

RuthieJ said...

What a great post Lynne! So many good birds this month.
So, if that Varied Thrush is still hanging around in February, can we take a little detour on our way up to Sax-Zim? That would be a lifer for me.

KaHolly said...

You are so funny!! You cut a hole in the screen? I love it! Wonderful shots. You are one lucky lady. I can tell 2010 is going to be your big year!

MevetS said...

Wow, screech in the yard, how cool is that!

And I love that you cut the screen.

Very cool.

Kerri said...

WOW! What a wonderful place for birds!!!

Kathiesbirds said...

Oh Lynne, I am so jealous! I have never seen a screech owl or a varied thrush! If I think of a clever caption for the photo I'll let you know. Congrats on it all. Perhaps I should come hang with you this year since you are having all the luck! I hope all goes well with geting your house finished at Hastybrook. I look forward to the day I can sip a cup of tea with you there. I can take the cold as long as you have a wood stove to nestle close to!

BTW, I cracked up when I read about you cutting a hole in the screen and I TOTALLY understood!

Susan Gets Native said...

During our quick and frenzied phone call, I just sat there with a huge grin on my face, because yes...I UNDERSTOOD.
And who gives a damn about the screen? You had an OWL.

Cathy said...

No way! No Way!

Oh man!

I'll bet you didn't think twice about that hole in the screen.

(Did you have to do it whilst your hubby's back was turned? ;-D

Kay said...

what a wonderful yard you have! I love these pictures. The birds are so different from ours--we live at opposite points of the country.