Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Birds of 2008 (21-25)

Posted by Kirk Mona
Getting the first 20 birds of the year wasn't so bad. I knew though that getting 10 more by the end of February would be tough. There just aren't that many birds here and I don't have time to drive all over the state looking for birds when I have a three month old at home. Here's how it played out.

Friday, January 18th I came into work late as I was working an evening program. I stopped by the Stillwater Town Hall on the way in as my co-worker had spotted a rare Townsend's Solitaire there the day before. I didn't see anything but I learned later I was looking in not quite the right spot. I had a little time before I had to be at work so I did the drive around the Warner/Wilder acreage. I only found two species of birds and they were both in the same spot. I saw a flock of dark-eyed juncos and while watching them I noticed a red-tailed hawk sitting in the tree above them. I hadn't seen a junco yet this year so I was thinking my drive paid off. Turns out Juncos showed up at my house on Saturday and then Monday at work.

Monday the 21st I headed once again to Lake Elmo Park Reserve for a program. I saw three female pheasants, a junco, a white breasted nuthatch and a crow at the park. On my way back to the office I saw a couple of red-tailed hawks and crows. I slowed down as I approached Stillwater Town Hall knowing Paul had spotted the Townsend's Solitaire there and sure enough there was a lone bird up at the top of the trees. I pulled over and pulled out the Binoculars. It was the Solitaire! Tally Ho!

February 1st I started the month off right with a new species. I stopped on norell ave about a mile from work when I saw birds on the side of the road. I grabbed my binoculars and sure enough there were American Tree Sparrows. While stopped there I also saw a white breasted nuthatch, a black capped chickadee and juncos. A huge flock of pheasants also crossed in front of my car. There were a least a dozen of them. On my way to an outreach event around lunch I saw my first Blue Jay of the year in this same spot. I also again saw the Townsend Solitaire across from Stillwater Town hall on my way into and again on my way out of town.

Just as I was leaving for the program I heard one of the school groups had spotted a Barred Owl on one of the trails. I set out with my camera when I returned from the program and he was still there.

Sunday, February 3th I heard a Cardinal singing from my neighbor's yard but didn't see him. The lack of mature trees in my yard pretty much keeps most birds away. There are blue jays, cardinals and woodpeckers just across the alley but they don't dare come pay me a visit.

Wednesday, February 6th I was surprised when two Canada Geese flew over my car. I was especially surprised a I was on Hwy 94 right in the heart of Downtown. Never the less, that's bird number 25 for the year.

21 Slate-colored dark-eyed junco
22 Townsend's Solitaire
23 American Tree Sparrow
24 Blue Jay
25 Canada Goose


~Kirk

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