Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nuthatch Acrobat

Do you think I enjoy watching birds a little too much?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Beautiful Weekend at Hasty Brook

Art took Friday off of work so we could head up to Hasty Brook for the weekend. I have been picking up quite a few shifts lately at the hospital and was in desperate need of a trip to my favorite place.

It was AWESOME!!

There were birds dripping from the trees. I had a terrible case of fall warbler overload trying so hard to identify those yellow/green, yellow/gray, gray/green twitter-balls. I did manage to id a few:




Black and White

then my eyes rolled back into my head and I just had to sit down and enjoy the show! There is a huge black spruce with a pretty clearing under it where I parked my chair with my feet up on the trunk. The warblers were all around me gleaning insects from the branches! I grinned like an idiot and soon the tears started. It was just so amazingly beautiful. Even if I never learn to identify more than a handful of warblers, I won't mind because I got to experience that time under that tree.

On to other birds! Whooey! I got TWO life birds! This lone Purple Finch came to the feeder within hours of filling the feeders. Lifer!
I have house finches year round at home but had never seen one of these beauties. I also got a long luscious look at a Warbling Vireo (no pix). I had heard him singing in a thicket by the camper all weekend and finally Saturday afternoon he popped out to the edge. I even got to use the Handheld Birds to confirm my id with its song. Cool. Lifer!
Here's another thrill for my weekend- I FINALLY got a picture of a Pileated Woodpecker!! I was up at 0630 this morning with my coffee, binoculars, camera and a blanket on my lap to get in a little birding time. I've seen Pileated woodpeckers up there before and even got a few good looks. This morning their calls caught my ear and I saw a pair swooping back and forth, working their way through the woods toward me. These guys are HUGE! This pic will click to enlarge.

OK, so I'm not a Pileated, but I'm a big, beautiful Downy.
Warbler, schmarbler! Aren't I a pretty yellow bird too?
Is this not the cutest chickadee? He's got a sunflower seed tucked in his toes.
Within minutes of my arrival up there the chickadees started chirping at me to let me know they were there. I brought a three-hook sheppard's hook with three garage sale feeders and a twenty pound bag of oilers. As I filled the feeders, these tame little birds were fluttering around my head.
Now I'm throwing myself on your mercies. Please help me identify this little guy. I'm not sure why, but only the first of these three warbler shots will enlarge when clicked. There were several of them foraging on the ground for insects.
Who am I?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Outside My Window

It's cool and foggy outside my window. There's something in the maple. Can you see it? Look up near the top- at the center. It's not a bird. Click to enlarge the view.
As the breeze moves across it reminds me of harp strings.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Art and I went to a movie this afternoon. We don't go often so we both have to agree on the movie choice. Since I'd first heard of this story being created on film, I have looked forward to seeing it. Stardust is all I expected it to be. I would describe the story as a complex fairy tale. There are evil witches, a nasty royal family, weaselly merchants and of course there is a love story. Woven throughout the story is plenty of humor. We both really enjoyed this movie. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.
So between Art and me, that's four thumbs up!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Oh! The Carnage!!

Um, make that "cornage". After a couple of stressful days, I felt it was time for our annual summer corn feed. It's usually August before the Minnesota sweet corn is ready and these came right off the truck, at the end of the driveway at the farm where is was grown. Couldn't get fresher! There is absolutely nothing better than fresh sweetcorn on a hot summer day. At least once a year we pig out and make a supper of just sweetcorn. No burgers or brats, no salad or chips. Just corn with REAL butter (preferably Land O'Lakes) and salt. Yummm.
I saw a snag along the Mississippi River full of double crested cormorants this morning. Sorry, no camera, no pix. Those are such odd looking birds with their long, hooked beaks and droopy wings. They remind me of teenage boys with attitudes and bad posture. My back yard is pretty bare of birds right now. There are plenty of beautiful goldfinches feeding frantically. Of course there are the ever present house sparrows. I see chipping sparrows feeding on insects around the front yard but it seems the rest of my regular backyard birds have gone elsewhere. The katydids are buzzing in the trees. I'm trying not to complain about the heat and humidity because I know many of you have had worse.
I'm ready to be done with summer.
Bring on fall.
One of the things I really love about Minnesota is the distinct season change.
What do you love about where you live?
This is kind of a rambling post. It must be the corn.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Look What Came in the Mail

I had a splurge attack on eBay last week. I found this complete set of Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds published in 1964 by Dover Publications. This series was originally published through the Smithsonian in 1940. A few years ago I found the two volumes on birds of prey at Half Price Books and have enjoyed picking through them. Now I'm anxious to stroll through the rest!

On a separate auction by the same seller I bought these two books by Witmer Stone- Bird Studies at Old Cape May. The day before, I had bought my plane tickets for the First Birder Blogger Conference at the Cape May Autumn Weekend. I NEEDED these books! My mind was spinning thinking of what I could learn before meeting the FLOCK at Cape May...

The nice woman who was selling these great books told me she was including a little surprise in the box. When it arrived I was thrilled to find a boxed set of five LP records of American Bird Songs recorded by P.P. Kellogg and A.A. Allen for the Albert R. Brand Bird Song Foundation, Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University. I believe it was recorded in the mid 50's. I love the sound of LP's and I'm excited that I believe I'm getting a new turntable for my birthday next month.

Which brings me to another item that came in the mail...

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Blood Donors Needed

Most of you know that I am a hospital blood banker at one of the hospitals that received injured patients from the bridge collapse yesterday evening. CNN, FOX and of course all of our local television networks are covering what now has changed from a rescue operation to a recovery effort. If you've seen any of the coverage and are wishing there was something, anything you could do, please consider donating blood. There is an immediate need for blood, especially type O, to get these victims through this crisis. Many will need ongoing transfusions of blood and blood products throughout their recoveries. Blood supplies need to be replenished. Blood for the Twin Cities area is collected, tested and then sent to area hospitals by two organizations, the American Red Cross and Memorial Blood Centers. The number for the Memorial Blood Center is in the photo above and Red Cross donation sites are listed below.
For those of you not living in Minnesota, please consider donating anyway. One unit of blood can help or save several lives.
Please keep these victims, their families and the rescue workers in your thoughts and prayers.

To donate blood, call the Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or Memorial Blood Centers at 1-888-GIVE-BLD or visit Red Cross.Red Cross Donation Sites:
St. Paul Area Blood Donation Center176 South Robert StreetSt. Paul, MN 55107
North Suburban Blood Donation CenterNorthwest Youth & Family Services 3490 Lexington Ave. N.Shoreview, MN 55126
Chippewa Valley Blood Donation Center3485 E. Hamilton AveEau Claire, WI 54701
Minneapolis Area Blood Donation Center1201 W. River Pkwy.Minneapolis, MN 55454
Bloomington Area Blood Donation Center505 W. 98th Street, Suite 403Minneapolis, MN 55420
St. Cloud Area Blood Donation Center1301 West St. Germaine StreetSaint Cloud, MN 56301
I've added two links with additional information about donating blood.
The American Red Cross has this page of FAQ about blood donation.
The Blood Centers of the Pacific has an informative site listing 56 facts about blood and blood donation. Please take a look.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We're OK

There has been a terrible bridge collapse here in Minneapolis. We're OK and so far as we know, everyone- friends and relatives are safe too. I thank you for your concern.