Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warbler

What a poor name for a Warbler that is very common up here in northern Minnesota. The first person that recorded the bird species probably saw one in Nashville, TN and that was most likely the reason  that it was named that way.

Nashville Warbler
Nashville Warbler

Vermivora ruficapilla is the binomial name and the first word Vermivora means “tree-dweller” and the species name of ruficapilla refers to the rufous feathers on the very top of the bird’s head. The rufous feathers are only seen when the bird is very excited when on its’ breeding grounds. Most of the time they keep those feathers well hidden.

 
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Barn Swallow baby

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallows

The young one is on the right, his beak still shows the accentuated gape that young nestlings show when begging for food.

 

 

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Another Orchid

Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain

Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain

The Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain is blooming. I was surprised to see that this plant is an orchid. More information can be found here: http://bolt.lakeheadu.ca/~borfor/herbs/herb18.htm
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Another favorite wildflower

Pipsissewa

Pipsissewa

Is it a bad thing to have too many favorites? The wildflower Pipsissewa might just be my very favorite.

Pipsissewa

Pipsissewa

This beautiful bloom droops down for a while, then as the plant matures the flower raises it head. The Pipsissewa is an evergreen plant, the leaves are hard and leathery. In the dead of winter you can dig down through the snow and find green leaves and dried flower heads. The plant is hardy to zone 3 and can withstand temperatures of -40.

Chimaphila umbellata

Chimaphila umbellata

 

 

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Baby Hoodies

Hooded Merganser youngsters

Hooded Merganser youngsters

6 young Hooded Merganser chicks resting and preening on a sunken log.

 

Hooded Merganser chicks

Hooded Merganser chicks

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Mama Merg says “let’s go kids”. 

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers

 

Sawbills

Sawbills

One of the common names for Merganser is Sawbill. That is for the serrated edges of their bills. These small duck-like birds dive for their underwater prey. They use their eyesight to see the little fish, crustaceons, and underwater insects that they eat.

Lophodytes, cucullatus is the scientific name for the Hooded Merganser and the origin of the words are from the Greek language, they translate as “crested diver”.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

 At the mouth of the river, this Bald Eagle was waiting for something to swim by in the weeds. He soon left when I saw him and I hope the baby Hoodies were wary of this opportunisitic hunter.

 

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Pollinator

Bumble Bee pollinating Indian Pipe

Bumble Bee pollinating Indian Pipe

This unique wildflower is prolific this year, there’s a lot of it blooming at the Vermilion Gorge Hiking Trail. Look quickly though, as it will go to seed and turn black after a short time.

More information can be found at this informative website: http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/indian_pipe.htm

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Favorite Wildflower

Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe

This, strangest of wildflower, is called Indian Pipe and it’s blooming all over the place at the Vermilion Gorge Hiking Trail location. It’s named Indian Pipe as it’s thought to resemble a peace pipe.  

Ghost Pipe

Ghost Pipe

Another name for this flower is Ghost Pipe. The plant is completely white because it contains no chlorophyll, or the ingredient that makes plants green.

Corpse Flower

Corpse Flower

The plant needs just the right soil components to grow. Pine forests are where they are most commonly found.

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Vireos have fledged

Friday, July 15th, I went back to check the Red-eyed Vireo nest and found it empty. The nestlings had fledged. So, after discovering the Vireo sitting on the nest, Monday July 4th, it only took 11 days for the baby birds to develop the ability to fly, at least enough for them to leave the nest and go into the cover of the tree canopy for protection. The parents will continue to feed the fledglings, and they will travel together as a family group as they learn how to fly and how to feed themselves.

For a bird that is primarily heard but not seen, the Red-eyed Vireo may be one of our most common birds. Except for the dry desert of the west and the extreme north, they occur all over North America in the summer time. As autumn comes, which begins around August 1st in the “bird world”, the Vireos begin to work their way south. Red-eyed Vireos spend the winter east of the Andes in the Amazon basin of South America. The spectacle of migration is amazing, it boggles the mind. I hope to some day join the Vireos in a southern paradise somewhere, but I will need mechanical means to get there (not to mention money), and I can’t just pick a juicy worm off of some tree branch for sustenance — or could I???

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Progress Report

Red-eyed Vireo and nestlings

Red-eyed Vireo and nestlings

The baby Vireos are getting big, so fast! It’s incredible that the incubation of these young Vireos is only 11-15 days, and then in another 10-12 days they are ready to leave the nest.

Red-eyed Vireo feeding young

Red-eyed Vireo feeding young

I think there may be just 2 nestlings in the nest. He sure can stretch his neck up to receive the food.

These young birds will probably be out of the nest by this weekend.

Red-eyed Vireo with worm

Red-eyed Vireo with worm

Look closely, this Vireo has a big juicy green worm for her chicks.

Red-eyed Vireo feeding chick

Red-eyed Vireo feeding chick

hmmmm, nummy!

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

The adult just noticed me and my camera. I think she’s giving me the “evil eye”!

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

The red eye on these birds doesn’t always show, you have to be in just the right light.

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Dwarf Raspberries

Dwarf Raspberry

Dwarf Raspberry

The wild Raspberries along the Vermilion Gorge Hiking Trail are prolific this summer. The variety is known as “Dwarf Raspberry” and that is because the plants are shorter than the standard variety of wild Raspberry. I think the fruit is much better than the other wild Raspberry varieties. They’re sweet and juicy and have fewer seeds. Check it out!

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