So the boss is out and I thought I would play today on my blog, LOL. Seriously, I just thought I’d throw in a modge podge of photos I’ve taken since Saturday when I posted. I won’t post until this evening when I get home to add the photos.
On Sunday my sidekick and I took my friend to the refuge to hike the Blue Hill Trail. After a week of 60’s and 70’s, we woke up to sunny and 38. Yikes! We were going to do the 2.5 miles, instead of the 5. Some day we’ll do the 5 I keep telling myself. Some day we’ll do the Mahnomen Trail as well. Maybe Saturday.
At any rate, the day started out chilly. My friend is looking into places to take her son’s senior photos, so we stopped at one of my favorite red barns, this time a Spring shot. Found out it is NOT a place for a senior photo shoot, as it is almost under water. Which is very sad :(
We pulled into the refuge and there were a few cars parked on the trail. It was a pretty uneventful hike. I had been raving about the refuge and we didn’t see much. It is really hit or miss. We saw an eagle sitting in a tree close to the parking lot. Several birds were seen on the trail, but too fast or too far away to take a nice photo. A Downy Woodpecker, a Mallard couple. A couple of Canada Geese. I heard a Blue jay and several Black-Capped Chickadees. We certainly saw more signs of spring. Lots of muskrat “huts” have sprung up and Canada Geese have made their nests on them. A very common occurrence at the refuge and everywhere else.
We stopped on one of the bridges to take photos of the stream, and my sidekick moved on. She called me (from about a 1/2 block away) on my cell and (what I thought she said) “mom, hurry and get over here, there are 6 sandhill cranes”. So my friend and I walked silently, slowly to where she was. Only to find out that she had said “there are 6 eagles soaring”. UGH! When we got to where she was they were gone! I was creeping slowly so as not to scare off the sandhill cranes. Go figure. She is still laughing about it.
Halfway through the trail, my sidekick felt the “urge” and we had to speed it up and get back out to the parking lot and the bathrooms. Another UGH. All in all, it was a good hike, a good day. The sun came out and the temperature rose to the low 60’s. I hadn’t seen my friend for quite some time and we promised to meet up when the Wildlife Drive opens on the refuge next month.
We had errands to run, and grabbed our bag of bread to feed the ducks at the local pond. Much to my surprise, we ran into these Ring-Necked Ducks and one lone Redhead. I’m sure the same one we ran across the other night when I didn’t have my memory card. The photos aren’t as sharp as I’d like, but these all are firsts for me. Had to look them up in my Audubon Guide. They moved further away as she threw bread out. The mallards came from across the pond looking for the handouts.
On Tuesday, I went for a walk during lunch at the Woodland Trails Park again, looking to find signs of spring hoping to catch some new species. It was quite windy but fairly mild at about 55 degrees. I came across a bridge that I discovered last winter and had taken a photo of. I like to take seasonal photographs of the same thing, in order to show the changes.
I heard lots of birds, just didn’t actually SEE them. Lots of chickadees, crows, robins. Then a group of these little fellows. My Audubon Guide tells me it is either a American Tree Sparrow or Chipping Sparrow? Maybe my friend Bob Zeller can help me out here? I know it is not a very good photo to ID with the branch in the way.
I have about 33 days left in my Project 365 so I have been just driving around for something that catches my eye. On Wednesday, this was it. Another barn. Big shocker. I was pulled over to the side of the country road with my flashers on and the mail lady actually pulled over and asked me if I needed help. I thought that was very nice, that doesn’t happen often. My reply was “Nope, this is just what I do, take pictures of basically NOTHING.” LOL.
I had to throw this one in of my beautiful Chloe. She was my day 330/365 because it was her 2nd birthday. Full of mischief, this one. But cuddly when she wants to be. Which isn’t very often, but we love her nonetheless.
Now today was my favorite day. I went for a walk at one of my local parks. Turns out today it was my favorite park :) LOTS of birds to be seen today. I only wish I could’ve stayed, but I had to go back to work. I was barely on the path when I noticed a Cedar Waxwing flying into a tree. Then another, and another. They were flitting about like crazy. A bunch landed on a bush and I started snapping. They are so cool, and look like the masked bandits or racoons of the bird world. They mainly eat blossoms and flowers.
I reluctantly left the Cedar Waxwings and meandered down the boardwalk path. I heard the Red-Winged Blackbirds singing, and the Black-Capped Chickadees. Also the Robins. Then I heard them. The call I had been listening for. The Sandhill Cranes. My sidekick was at a friend’s today, the start of Spring Break. I texted her immediately and she wanted me to go pick her up, LOL. However, I only had so much time. So I promised we would go back after work tonight. As I walked toward the sounds of the cranes, I pulled out my iPhone and found my Audubon Guide app and played the voice of the crane. Sure enough they responded and started “croaking” again. Finally, I saw them. There were about 8 of them. They are so hard to see, they blend in so well with the brown grass and cattails. One flew over to the other side and they were all calling to each other. I was so sad I had to leave. And also sad I do not have a 400 or 500 mm lens! LOL.
I turned to go, and a nice little Bluebird couple past in front of me way too fast. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a red flash, and was so excited it was a cardinal and his lady friend. I just couldn’t get a good shot, he was avoiding me like the plague. But thought this was so cute, he’s looking right at me like, “HA, you’ll never catch me!” His mate is to the left.
On my way back to the car, it was like it was crazy. Birds galore, LOTS of woodpeckers, like these two. The whole way back to the car, I was hearing the Sandhill Cranes calling back and forth to each other. I couldn’t wait for work to get over with so we could go back.
After work, I picked my sidekick up and we headed over there. No Cedar Waxwings, but a few of the woodpeckers and robins were there. We walked down the path and played the Sandhill Crane call from my iPhone. Sure enough we heard back from them. However, we couldn’t spot them to save our soul. Talk about disappointment. We will definitely be headed back tomorrow, LOL. We did see this Northern Flickr, not a great shot but I think they are cool looking, so wanted to share it. Also liked the cattails with the sun behind.
We are anxiously planning our short trip to the National Eagle Center on Good Friday in Wabasha, MN. It is a 2-1/2 hour drive so we are spending the night and coming home Saturday, just in time for coloring eggs and getting stuff ready for church and Easter dinner on Sunday. We are excited for the trip, and I hope that I get some good photos. It will be our first time there, and I hear there are several eagle nests along the river near, and lots of parks and photo ops. We are just happy to be going out of town for some new scenery.
Thanks for stopping by, see ya soon!