Wednesday, April 12, 2017
But Hepatica are different. They have tiny flowers. Mine measured only 3/8 of an inch across. But somehow they make it worth a pollinator's effort. There were a couple of flies nearby when I took these pictures yesterday, but none landed on the flowers while I was there.
It sure is nice to see these pretty flowers after the long winter in Minnesota.
Brown Creepers are strange and fairly uncommon little birds that act like nuthatches but are more closely related to wrens.
They fly to the base of a large tree and creep up the bark while spiraling around the tree trunk until they reach the top, then fly to another tree and do the same.
They find tiny bugs under the bark using their curved bill to fit into tiny crevices.
As can be seen in the picture they have long toes with long claws for gripping bark.
Brown Creepers also have long tails
I have enhanced the colors of this picture, but it still blends in very well. Their camouflage is so effective that the auto focus on the camera has trouble finding a focus point, so the majority of the pictures I took of this little bird yesterday have the bark in focus instead of the feathers on the back of the bird.
The feathers on the top of the back of the bird are perfectly in focus here, but still look blurry. These birds are good at hiding even when in plain sight!
Notice the long tail and see the picture below.
Brown Creepers have 12 tail feathers, so 6 come to a point on one side, and another 6 on the other, making a stiff and very effective brace.
With its solid color, the tail is one of the easiest parts to see on this tiny bird, at least in a picture.
When you actually see one of these interesting birds they never stop moving, so are hard to observe for more than a second or two in one spot.
This picture shows the forked tail, and the long leg, toes, and claws, as well as the brown mottling colors that are typical of Brown Creepers. The black curved beak is a little harder to see at the top of the picture.
The picture also shows the little midge fly in the lower right. These had just emerged and were flying in clouds of thousands all around the area where I took these pictures yesterday. Many of these may have been on the tree bark, and might have been part of a late lunch for this Brown Creeper.
Monday, January 25, 2016
This is a juvenile, meaning that it was a nestling last summer, somewhere above the arctic circle. The adult birds are pure white without the black spots.
It is a smaller gull that stays pretty much by itself and is normally never seen in this area.
Monday, April 13, 2015
The babies hatched and have been growing fast. This pair were able to sit together for the first time in a long time as the female left the babies alone in the warm sun for the first time yesterday.
At the well known nest in Silverwood Park the babies left the nest a couple of weeks ago, but this nest in an Edina park will still have the babies in the nest for a few days.
Great Horned Owls usually don't do much construction for their nest, using an old crow or hawk nest, or an old squirrel nest.
These nests often fall apart before the babies are ready to leave the nest, and the young owls have to hold onto branches or fall to the ground. The parents are still very attentive and protect the babies wherever they end up.
She would fly to a tree 100 feet away and then return to this branch several times.
Once about 20 crows came to harass her and I was surprised to watch her fly to the nest tree with the crows following her.
The babies must be too big for her to worry about crows injuring them. After a few minutes the crows all flew away.
This is one of the babies at the Silverwood Park nest that I took pictures of two weeks ago as it was hopping up a large branch moving away from the nest box. The babies owls are called "branchers" during these first days out of the nest.
The pair at the Edina Park did not get much time together as the male flys off in the picture below to distract some danger that the female can see as she looks up into the sky.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
I took this picture yesterday, though there was no sun.
It is always good to see these large hairy flowers push out of the recently frozen ground and open up to be pollinated by the first bees of spring.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
The Bluebirds and Robins have returned in great numbers. I took these pictures the last two days.
It is always a great pleasure to hear the Bluebirds singing when they return in the spring. This beautiful male was flying from one nestbox to another trying to decide which was the best location to attract the perfect female.
The blue of these birds is very welcome after so little color all winter.
They especially like worms, who come to the surface of the ground after the long winter. But the worms do not go willingly, and put up a bit of a struggle, as seen in the pictures below.
The worms mostly lose these contests, and the Robins get refueled and ready for their nesting season.
As the female Robins arrive over the next few weeks, mates will be chosen, and nesting will begin.
In the meantime, worms should beware of hungry Robins.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Hibernation was definately over on this warm and sunny day. She was finding materials that had been dried out by the sun on the south side of her small hill.
She continued for the entire 90 minutes I watched her, and was still busy when I left.
Around four babies will arrive in the next couple of weeks as green things start growing.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
This male was waiting for an open space on the feeder. He soon was eating seed as can be seen below.
The females do not have the purple-cranberry color, but are distinctive with the white line over the eye, as can be seen in the picture at the bottom.