Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year Wishes

You all know the last few months have been difficult for me with the sudden passing of my Mom. Yesterday would have been Mom and Dad's 69th wedding anniversary so needless to say they've been on my mind a lot. Of course I miss them both terribly but I'm also finding myself thinking about what they gave me. So very much of who and what I am came from their teaching and example.

We always had a cabin growing up where I was the one filling my pockets with rocks and feathers. One of my favorite memories is going on "rock walks" with my Dad. After I'd filled my pockets Dad would fill his. Dad was the one to show me bird nests what he called "wild canary" feathers. He made me a little wooden box with a screen front to catch frogs and bugs. Mom would sit for hours with me by the water's edge so I could catch crayfish and minnows. She never squealed when I brought home snakes or spiders.

Mom and Dad always respected my need for solitary time- I've always be comfortable to be alone. They encouraged me to buy my own house and travel. I didn't get married until I was 32 and they helped me be self-reliant and confident.

Moving on to a new year and a new season of my life without my parents, I realize that I will carry them with me every step of the way. I am grateful for my past and excited about my future.

I wish you all a healthy and peaceful New Year, with surprises and new birds around every bend in the road.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Stupid Road Trip

I was hoping to have some great stories of wonderful birds to share tonight. I was hoping to be able to post beautiful pictures. Art and I packed the truck this morning. Boots, hats and gloves, extra socks. Camera and back-up camera. Binoculars, field guide, Birdjam. Hand warmers. Insulated mugs and a thermos of hot coffee. Stop for gas and we're on our way-
Hasty Brook here we come!!
We'd made it about fifty miles on the freeway when we heard a thunk. A bad sound. The power steering went out, the heat turned off and the check engine light came on. Art managed to pull the truck off the freeway to the first exit and into a gas station. He knew before he even opened the hood that it was the serpentine belt. We found an open auto parts store half a mile away that had the part and limped over there. Seventy five dollars (cha-ching!) later we had the belt and tools he needed. Handy Art fixed the problem in the Checker Auto Parts parking lot. Art was so pleased, and it was only 10AM so we turned around and got back on the road headed Up North.
Hasty Brook here we come!!
We weren't on the freeway more than a few miles when I started to hear a flappity-hissy sound. Art said "Oh, that's just the belt seating itself". Moments later gray smoke was trailing us and the power steering went out again. Please-oh-please maybe the belt just came loose. Nope. The water pump was shot and antifreeze was spraying all over. Now we had to call a tow! While we were freezing waiting for the wrecker Art called Checker again and luckily they had a new water pump to fit the truck. (I'm grateful for cell phones!) Finally the tow guy showed up and loaded the pickup. I stuffed myself in the back seat of the tow truck for the SIX MILE tow north to the next exit and then back to Checker Auto. Six miles = $120!!!!! (cha-ching!!)
Art's brother lives 45 minutes away and he drove over to help him replace the water pump ($80 cha-ching!!). At around 2PM they were done. After another $75 (cha-ching!!) for tools, sealant, antifreeze and paper shop towels (they cleaned up after themselves very thoroughly) we were ready to go. The guys were cold and hungry and had worked so hard, we needed to stop for food before getting back on the road. White Castle was two doors down and that's what they wanted. I've heard about White Castle hamburgers but don't remember ever tasting them. Well, now I have tasted a "slider"- one bite was enough. Check that off my life "to do" list. It was awful, really awful! The little burgers were wet and gooey. The bun stuck to my fingers. The onions were clear and colorless and slimy. The meat(?) was wafer thin and gray!! Ugh!!
It was too late to go on to Hasty Brook so Art suggested we check out Carlos Avery Wildlife Refuge a few miles away. Surely there would be birds waiting for us. It was really pretty there. The skies were quite overcast but there was lots of fresh, clean snow. For two hours Art drove slowly through the refuge, stopping patiently when ever I thought I saw something. Trying to keep the conversation cheerful during our 5 MPH, two hour refuge drive, Art reminded me that this wildlife area is a favorite body dumping ground for Twin Cities murderers. NEAT.
We saw:
one pheasant
two ruffed grouse
one blue jay
That's it.
Eight hours,
$350 (not counting gasoline)
four birds,
no pictures.
I had such high hopes of visiting my Hasty Brook. I wanted to see cool birds. It just wasn't meant to be. We picked up pizzas on the way home. Oh well, we're all home, safe and sound and the pizza was terrific. It could have been worse!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Just You and Me

It's been nuts around here. I've worked all three shifts in the last seven days. Art and his brother were gone Sunday through late Wednesday, driving to Las Vegas and back to pick up a '72(?) Camero. Art's brother rebuilds cars. Luckily, before he left on this cross-country jaunt, Art took a day off work so we could get the bulk of the kids' Christmas shopping done. Molly and I finally went to put the artificial tree up last weekend only to find that most of the cheesy plastic pins that held the branches on were broken. So a quick trip to Menards found us lugging home a new fake tree. I am sooo not in the spirit. No baking this year. Thank heaven for Costco! One stop shopping for all your entertaining needs!
Running last minute errands today I saw three deer and a beautiful red fox along the freeway near home. And then I saw these two beautiful hawks. It must be time for them to be pairing up all ready. None of the wild birds or animals I saw cared that people were racing around them. I doubt the world looked to be spinning crazily to them. Their lives are driven simply by their instincts. Maybe it's the season, or my turning 50, or the loss of my Mom, but I've been thinking a lot lately about how I want to live. I'd like a simpler life. That's a frequently heard expression these days. It's hard for me to let go and unclutter. I tend to hang on to worries as much as I do things. I really want to lighten the load and purge my house of STUFF. Knowing my habbit of fizzling, maybe I should set the goal small- a bag or two a week. There are several charities in our area that come to the house for pick-ups. Maybe someone else would find value or use in the things that I feel are closing in around me.
Letting go of the worries will be harder. Fretting over how things are compaired to how they "should be" is a major stumbling block for me. One of Mom's favorite expressions was "Pick up a rosary- it will help you let go". Well, I'm taking her advice, working on my faith and bringing some peace back into my life.
I wish you all peaceful hearts in this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Are you looking for a good laugh?
My fourteen year old daughter sent me the link to I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER and I haven't stopped laughing yet.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seven Random Things

I just remembered that Nature Woman tagged me a couple of days ago for a "Seven Random Things" meme.
Here are the rules:
The rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Hmmm... Here's what I came up with:
1. I am a Medical Technologist and part of my job is to draw blood for legal blood alcohol levels for law enforcement agencies. A few times a year I receive subpoenas to testify in court. I just got one for next month. Yuck.
2. I always have a rosary in my pocket or in my purse.
3. My fingers are double jointed. My thumbs can bend backward at a 90 degree angle.
4. I can't stand to scoop corn starch out of the box. I can feel a squeak like fingernails on a black board.
5. I have a serious addiction to Caribou latte, extra hot, no foam.
6. I love Costco. It used to be that I couldn't get out of Target without spending $100. Now it's Costco.
7. My favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla. Actually, vanilla is the only flavor I like.
Since most everyone I know has been tagged all ready, I'm going to refrain from tagging anyone else. Feel free to join in if you want to!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Sax Zim Bog Birding Festival

Hello Friends! I wasn't sure if I remembered how to put a post together with photos, it's been a while. I've been reading all of your blogs and occasionally commenting, but it's taken a bit to find the energy to write a post. But now I have something to tell you all that I'm really excited about. I'm signed up for a birding festival in northern Minnesota in February. It's the Sax Zim Bog Birding Festival. This is its first year for a formal festival and it sounds terrific. The dates are February 14-16. I'm especially excited that Ruthie, the Nature Knitter will be driving up here from Rochester to the Twin Cities to pick me up and we'll be carpooling on up to Duluth. There will be two evening programs that sound wonderful. One of the speakers is Laura Erickson, an ornithologist and a gifted birder from here in Minnesota. I had the honor of meeting her last January when I went on a birding trip with the Duluth Audubon group. I'll be bringing along my copies of the books that she has written 101 Ways to Help Birds and For the Birds: An Uncommon Guide (Appointment With Nature) - I'd love to have them signed.

I'll be hoping to see another Great Gray Owl. This is one of the many GGO's I was fortunate to see in northern Minnesota during the irruption winter in 2004/2005. I wrote about it in this post Great Gray Owls for Susan. I wrote it trying to entice her and Laura up here to the frozen northland to see these amazing birds.

Maybe we'll be lucky and see another Northern Hawk Owl like this one biting the head off a vole.

I might wish to see another Snowy Owl, but even if I don't, seeing this one last winter in Duluth was pure magic.

The other evening speaker is Dave Benson, a naturalist and writer from Duluth who is the author of a new book Owls of the North: a Naturalist's Handbook. The book looks great and I hope to buy it there.

Here's the brochure description of the field trip Ruthie and I have signed up for:

Sax-Zim Bog/Duluth Harbor Area: We will meet in the parking lot at 6:00 a.m. to get organized and leave by 6:30 a.m. We will start the day by looking for Great Gray Owls at dawn and then concentrate on Sharp-tailed Grouse, Northern Hawk Owl, American Three-toed & Black-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Shrike, Boreal Chickadee, Red & White-winged Crossbills, Common & Hoary Redpolls, Evening & Pine Grosbeaks, Snow Bunting and other winter bird residents. After lunch we will head down to the Duluth harbor to look for some possibilities like Harlequin Duck, Gyrfalcon, Thayer’s Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, and Snowy Owl. If there is time look for Bohemian Waxwings.

I'll be happy with any or all of these birds listed. I'd like to add a Gray Jay to the list. As many times as I've been Up North in the winter, I've never seen a Gray Jay.

Any of the rest of you want to come up? I'll pick you up at the airport and provide trasportation to the winter wonderland of northern Minnesota!

Will there be life birds that you won't find anywhere else? YES!!!

Will it be fun? YES!!! (maybe even too much fun!)

Will it be cold? Well, OK, it will be cold- but- you CAN handle it! I'll even provide the hand warmers and hot drinks. And cookies. And banana bread- I make really good banana bread with and without mini-chocolate chips.
I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Hendrickson who worked very hard with the people of the Sax Zim Bog area to get this festival up and running.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

We close our eyes,
we bow our heads
and offer thanks
for daily bread.
For friends and family
gathered near
for forests and rivers
for elk and deer.
For oceans and mountains
for plant and stone
for all that we feel
for love, beauty and home.
And when the day comes
that we must say good-bye,
we thank you, dear God
for the tears we shall cry.
And our children shall sit
with their own children small,
and give thanks once again,
for the miracle of it all.
Steve Myrvang

Monday, November 05, 2007

A New Normal

Thank you friends, for the kindness you've shown me over the last two weeks. Your comments, emails, phone calls and prayers were a great comfort. I don't think I can find words to adequately convey my gratitude. Please know that I thank you with all my heart.
The last two weeks have been so difficult. But I'd like to think that the really hard parts are over and I'm trying to find a new normal for my life. After the burial last Thursday we all came home, changed into comfy jeans and sweatshirts and relaxed a bit. The kids got out the video games on the Wii and quickly had us laughing. That felt so good. Art came outside and helped me clean and fill my feeders. They had been empty for so long I wondered if the birds would come back. I needn't have worried- they came back in droves! Chickadees and nuthatches, both white-breasted and red-breasted were swirling around my head as I put the filled feeders back up. At one point I counted seven red-breasted nuthatches zooming around the feeding stations.
"Thank you!" Check out the tail on this gray squirrel! I try to toss some seed or nuts in this old wooden pop crate for the squirrels. It keeps them off the feeders that hang on our old wooden swing set. I put aluminum stove pipes on the 4X4 uprights to act as baffles but they quickly found a way to jump from the huge lilacs to the top beam. As long as they don't destroy my feeders, I'll admit that I enjoy watching them and they are welcome.
I wonder why her tail is ringed like that.
Even the bunnies are welcome. This one lives under the play house. Rabbit damage was minimal over the summer and we've fenced in the shrubs to keep them from chewing bark over the winter.

I finally unpacked my suit case for Cape May yesterday. Of course I have no regrets about not going but I did feel a little sad about not being able to meet the bloggers. BUT- I have a year to use my plane ticket! And I do plan to use it for the Second Bird Blogger's Conference!

Friday, October 26, 2007

At Peace

My brave little Mother passed away this evening.
Thank you all.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Short Update

My mother took a turn for the worse on Wednesday and I cancelled my Cape May Trip, no regrets. There will be other trips. My place right now is at her side. It was a long day of very tough decisions.
The outpouring of prayers, love and support has overwhelmed me- and all this from friends I've never even met. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Mom

Just a quick note to let you all know what's going on here. On Monday my Mom had a bad fall and was found unconscious. She 's in the trauma/neuro intensive care unit with several brain bleeds that are being watched. Gratefully, her status has gone from grave to critical and now this morning to serious. If the results of today's CAT scan show no progression of the bleeding she will be considered stable enough to go out on the neurology floor. Her neurologist that I have known for 10 years and in whom I have tremendous trust has told me that if she's stable through tonight I should feel safe in going to Cape May tomorrow. My brothers agree. In fact they are adamant that I go. I'm torn. Monday morning before she fell, I spoke with my Mom and she was so excited for me that I was making this trip. She said she was proud that I was so brave to fly away to meet strangers and to learn more about the birds that I love. Please offer a prayer for my Mom.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Crex Meadows Birds

Time for a quick recap of the birds we saw at Crex Meadows on Saturday.
Red-tailed Hawks
Northern Harriers
Field Sparrows
Snow Buntings- lifer and an awesome view!!
Canada Geese
Green-winged Teal- lifer
Ring-necked Ducks- lifer
We spotted 3 Northern Shrikes (2 of them were my spots!) This one was pretty far away but I think you can still make out the field marks.

There were quite a few Trumpeter Swans. Here is a pair with their three gray goslings. I learned that trumpeter swans were extirpated from Minnesota due to hunting and as few as twenty years ago they were very rare to see. They've made quite a healthy come back.

The main reason I signed up for this trip was to see the Sandhill Cranes. Several thousand of them use a field in Crex as a staging area on their migration south. Every evening in the fall the cranes come from about a fifty mile radius to this field to spend the night. To say it was a remarkable sight would be a gross understatement.

If I scanned the tree line with my binoculars I could see lines of the sandhills flying in from all directions.
Sandhill cranes stay in family groups throughout their migration. As they flew in they were constantly calling to each other. The sound was musical- a combination of yodeling, trumpeting, and trilling.
I found the experience so moving. It felt like I was witnessing something very special, and very old. As the light waned, and we got ready to leave, there were thousands of sandhill cranes in the field, still calling to each other. I wonder at their language and I wonder at their instincts, passed on through the generations that call them to this field in Wisconsin year after year.
It was a privilege to stand on the edge of that field and watch those magnificent birds, something I will never forget.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Crex Meadows Sky

I went on another birding field trip yesterday to Crex Meadows, a 30,000 acre state-owned wildlife area near Grantsburg, Wisconsin. I've wanted to visit Crex for some time and was excited to find an organized trip. It was a fun group led by Stan Tekiela through Eden Prairie Park and Recreation. Hellziggy, AKA "the other Sharon" a frequent commenter on Birdchick's blog was there with a ginormous lens. Needless to say, her pictures were AWESOME. I really am satisfied with my point and shoot, but I secretly dream of a digital SLR with a sweet lens! Saturday was the first day with significant sunshine in quite a while and the golden light made the trees glow.

I really couldn't get enough of the sky. The cloud formations were amazing. A perfect weather day, temps around 70, gentle breezes and sun.
I drank it all in, like a tonic.
I couldn't take my eyes off the ever-changing sky.
Were there birds?
Oh, yeah, there were birds all right...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Winter Finches and Hasty Sparrows

After the pelagic trip two Sundays ago, with dry clothes and a nice rum drink warming me from the inside out, I settled in to see what birds were visiting the feeders at Hasty Brook.
A beautiful male purple finch bullied the rest of the birds away when he wanted this feeder.
I have a hard time telling females from immature purple finches. Is that a fox sparrow watching from above? There were many fox sparrows in the thickets- they were reluctant to come into the clearing.
A new lifer for me!! Pine siskins! I've had glimpses of pine siskins before but this day I got to watch them up close for quite a while.
A purple finch and two pine siskins on the feeder gave me a chance to compare their sizes and bill shapes.

In among the many juncos was this lones sparrow. My first thought was that this is a chipping sparrow but it didn't seem small enough compared to the juncos.
It doesn't seem to have the dark eye-line.The beak is pinkish and it has a white eye-ring.

Field sparrow? Am I off the mark?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

101 Ways to Help Birds

It's human nature to worry about the people and things we love. Often we feel our contributions are small, our efforts ineffective. Friends, I love birds and I'd like to share my thoughts on a book I bought called 101 Ways to Help Birds by Laura Erickson.

Laura's book is direct and practical in offering concrete ideas, ways we can help birds. She starts her approach in the home- from composting and recycling, to making your windows safer for birds and knowing what to do if a bird does strike your window. From the home she moves out to the yard. She suggests we learn about the flora and fauna in our yards, neighborhoods and regions. She offers many suggestions in managing and caring for our backyard habitats and beyond. We need to make choices that effect birds in the larger world too and Laura reminds us to be compassionate and ethical in our birdwatching, wherever it takes us. Laura cares passionately about the environment and believes we can and must have a positive impact on it. She explains 101 ways to do just that. We all have an obligation to protect the birds that we love and this book has given me some new ideas. Please check it out- or better yet, buy it. You'll learn a lot and find yourself empowered with ways to help.

I am fortunate to have met Laura on birding trips here in Minnesota. She is gracious and very generous in sharing her birding knowledge and experience. She is an ornithologist and lives in Duluth.

Laura Erickson has a wonderful blog called Laura's Birding Blog. There she also has a link to her informative and entertaining podcasts about birds.

I feel strongly about this book. Are there any birding books you would recommend?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

After the Boat Ride From Hell

Since Deb and I were still soaked and chilly from the pelagic, we decided to duck in to a restaurant for a hot lunch. Neither of us had to get right back to our families so we decided to drive along Park Point to see what there was to see. Not far along we spotted a group from our trip with binoculars and spotting scopes focused on this group of water birds. (that's what you call easy birding- looking for other birders!) We got our field guides out to id what we were looking at. Thank you to all the other birders who were happy to point out and help id the birds in this group. there were:
Redhead- lifer
Greater Scaup- lifer
Surf Scoter- lifer
Black Scoter- lifer
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Horned Grebe- lifer
Red-necked Grebe- lifer
Can you tell I don't know water birds? It's easy to get lifers when the majority of your birding is in your backyard. And note, not all of these birds are in this picture. We saw more water birds along the harbor side at another stop. Kim Eckert, a noteworthy Minnesota birder id'd a Barrow's Goldeneye but my inexperienced eyes couldn't see the difference between the Barrow's and Common Goldeneye so I won't count it.

After birding the harbor side Deb and I decided to check out the beach house on the lake side. It's a good spot for scanning for rare gulls and shorebirds.

Thank you to Mike Hendrickson for the help in identifying these Sanderlings and Dunlins. I am painfully inexperienced in identifying shorebirds- and even worse than shorebirds are GULLS. When we got to the lake side Deb and I ran into Mike and a couple of other birders. The group was thrilled to see this rare Sabine's Gull.
We watched as it snuggled into a footstep in the sand to rest. Later we got a good look at the gull in flight and Mike pointed out the distinctive black, white and gray upper wing pattern. Beautiful.
We stayed on the lake side, scanning and chatting birds with Mike for a while. He's a nice guy and he REALLY knows his birds. Mike has a bird guiding business for northeastern Minnesota. Check out his website. He's been working hard putting together a new winter birding festival in the Sax-Zim bog area for this coming February. Sax-Zim if well-known for winter boreal species. I've been there a few times and it's an amazing place. Thanks to Mike for all of his help on this remarkable day of birding.
The power of the waves and the constant high wind was hypnotic- and exhausting.
Deb and I called it quits and started back, driving into the thickest fog I'd ever seen. When we got back to her car, sweet Deb gave me a bottle of Malibu Rum! When I got home to Hasty Brook, Art and I each had a big glass (tumbler!) of orange juice with a liberal slosh of Malibu to fight off the chill. All in the interest of good health!

Monday, October 08, 2007

My First Pelagic

Saturday dawned cold, rainy and windy- not so perfect weather for a pelagic birding trip on Lake Superior out of Duluth. I met Deb from Sand Creek Almanac near a freeway exit between Hasty Brook and Duluth and we motored up to meet Mike Hendrickson and the group he was leading on this memorable trip.

The captain of the LL Smith told Mike he'd still take us out so Mike gave us our options: go out on the lake (20 mph winds with gusts up to 25-30 mph and 6-7 foot swells) , boat around the protected harbor where the water would be calmer, or cancel all together and Mike would lead the group around Park Point by car and foot. We opted for the harbor. I had a good gore-tex rain jacket and layers under that and felt I was prepared for the wind and drizzle.
Mike is an awesome birder and was terrific in calling out everything he saw. I'm quite sure I was the least experienced birder of the bunch and I really appreciated that Mike and the other better birders would call out birds that were probably "old news" to them.
Everyone in the group was asked to bring popcorn which Mike would toss into the water "chumming" to attract gulls.
Here they come!
Deb and I spent the better part of the trip perched by a picnic table at the back of the boat. I was really glad to have that table to grab on to later on when we neared the channel that separates Minnesota Point from Wisconsin Point- the entrance to Lake Superior. I think the plan was to scan this breakwater on Minnesota Point for gulls but I lost interest in birding and conversation the further out into the channel we went.
Ok, so it's getting choppy. Then we started rolling uppp...then down...

I can handle this. The waves are getting taller...

Wisconsin Point, and beyond that, the open lake and 6-7 foot waves. The LL Smith running directly into the waves is REALLY scary, but we had to turn around! So the captain turns the boat, and now we're parallel to those 6 foot rollers.

I look out and we're up high on top of a wave (hang on to the table!), and then, it feels like the deck falls out from under my feet (hang on to the table!) and a wave broke over the back of the boat and the water is OVER the railing! (HANG ON TO THE TABLE!) The spray was over my head.

You can see I was drenched from about mid-thigh on down. That, combined with strong winds and temps in the low 50's made for a chilly morning. But I'm not complaining. I saw :

White-winged Scoter (lifer!)

Caspian Tern (lifer! and a beautiful look)

American Black Duck (lifer!)

Belted Kingfisher -one of the best looks I've ever had

Herring Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

Double-crested Cormorant

Common Merganser

That was an exciting trip and I'd love to go again. If you're interested, check out Mike's webpage for his spring and fall Lake Superior boat trips and if you have time, stop over at Mike's blog Colder by the Lake Birding and read his hilarious account of this trip.

But wait! The day's not over yet. After Deb and I got a hot lunch in a warm restaurant where our pants and feet could dry, we headed out to Park Point and we saw...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Odds and Ends From Last Weekend

We did get an extra non-birding treat last Saturday when we saw this steam engine come chugging up the hill. We could hear it and feel the vibrations in the ground before it came into view. It was a nice reminder of a different era of transportation. Does anyone remember Lunch With Casey? It was a local (Minneapolis/St. Paul) children's TV show that ran over the noon hour back when kids left school to go home for lunch. The character Casey Jones and his pal Roundhouse Rodney were very popular and they made many appearances at local businesses. When I was five or six my Dad took me to see Casey Jones at a department store opening. We waited what seemed like hours in line and when we finally got to meet Casey, I started to cry, and told Casey that I loved him and asked him if he would marry me! He got down on his knees and hugged me and said I'd have to grow up a little before I could get married but that he loved me too. I went home a very happy little girl.

After we left Hawk Ridge we headed down to Park Pointe to look about. Someone spotted a plover and Sharon got her scope out to get a better look.
We narrowed it down to either a Black-bellied or American Golden-Plover in winter plumage. Stan saw it take flight and noted the black "armpits" which made it a Black-bellied Plover! A lifer for me!
That wraps up my 50th birthday birding weekend. I'll leave you with one more look at those red-tailed hawk feet.
A rabbit nightmare!