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.
Sunset at a tamarack bog.
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.