Wednesday, March 21, 2007

North Mississippi Regional Park

Today, on the first full day of spring, I made another trip out to North Mississippi Regional Park in Minneapolis. It was very cloudy, misty and drippy. My first bird was a bald eagle following the river north, headed back up to it's summer territory.
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.

As I drove out a police car drove in.

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.

Not great pictures, but I put them on the laptop and got out the field guides.

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.


Larry said...

Well at least it gave you something interesting to write about.Congratulations on another lifer.-On another note-I thought Jordan Sparks was a little better than that Melinda last night from what I saw.

Ruth said...

I got hissed by geese too this week. They are extra aggressive right now. When I kept going, they backed off. I find it hard to identify birds on the water and the camera is a great help.

Susan Gets Native said...

ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. Especially when birding alone.
I scare the s*** out of my Mom when I tell her about my birding adventures by myself.

Watch out for the butt-biting geese!
: )

Mary said...

Hey, I've cursed at geese before and the first time was when one tried to eat my daughters ear while she sat in the stroller! I high-tailed it out of there! You were smart to retreat, Lynne, not only because of the geese. We would hate to hear you were pulled into the police station for questioning! Got that adrenaline going, didn't it?

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Larry- yep, it was interesting all right! That Jordin Sparks is just so beautiful, talented and she has amazing poise for just 17!

Ruth- You're right about the camers. I never would have id'd those grebes if I didn't have a digital picture to take home, enlarge and study.

Susan- I'm pretty cautious on an average day, but yesterday every bell and whistle went off!

Mary- I pity the goose that tried to eat Gina! I'll bet you flew into mama bear mode! I'm quite certain drugs were bought and sold in that lot yesterday. I was happy to see the police when I left!

Anonymous said...

Honest, Officer I was just birding!
Good thing the honkers chased you out when they did.

MojoMan said...

Those guys were probably a lot more interested in each other than in you...Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Even though you have brutal winters in MN, you seem to warm up pretty early. I'm sure an early spring is a big relief.

Deb said...

Congrats on the grebes! I forget I have always had the luxury (in my adult life) of living near water or working on water, thus enhancing my chances of seeing grebes and the like.

I also had the luxury of a heron rookery on an island right across the lake from my grandparents' place when I was growing up. I hope you get to see that one this weekend; it's a shame you can't go birding without encountering shady people in the parking lot. And those geese...bold critters.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to know.