Another fall out?

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

New arrival this morning at Crane Lake is the  White-throated Sparrow. With the couple inches of spring snow that we received today, the birdfeeders are busy.

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow is the familiar bird that sings constantly from the deep woods, he sings: poor sam peabody, peabody, peabody.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow has been back for a little while, I’m sure he didn’t bargain for this weather. The good news is the snow will be gone tomorrow, the forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 50s.

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Loon Convention

Common Loons

Common Loons

This is a great time of the year to “Loon Watch”. The migrant Loons will get “stacked-up” on area lakes waiting for the ice to go out on lakes up north.

Loon & Crayfish

Loon & Crayfish

They can rest and feed as they make their way north. Common Loons are so beautiful all decked out in their fresh breeding plumage.

Loons and Grebes

Loons and Grebes

A little later, some Red-necked Grebes swam into view.

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Here’s a bird that matches its’ name: Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebes

Red-necked Grebes

 

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

 

Loons and Grebes

Loons and Grebes

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Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

No facial stripe and a light colored eye.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Off on another sortie…

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Open Water

Crane Lake

Crane Lake

Lots of open water is showing up on Crane Lake, the lake should be open all the way by the end of the weekend.

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Bohemians take a nap

Saturday was a truly incredible day at Crane Lake. A late season snowstorm sent birds to the feeders by the hundreds. There were so many birds flitting around it was total chaos. Luckily I had enough seed to put out for the hungry hoards, but now I am running very low.

It was weird to see Song Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, and Tree Sparrows feeding alongside Redpolls and Pine Siskins. Juncos, Purple Finches, Red-wing Blackbirds and Grackles were all eating seeds. Even a pair of Mallard Ducks were in the yard eating sunflower seeds and cracked corn.

All the activity attracted other birds too like the Bohemian Waxwings that came in.

Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwing

 

Bohemian Waxwings usually don’t eat sunflower seeds, they are fruit-eating birds. In the winter they can be seen around Minnesota in trees that still have fruit clinging, like Mountain Ash trees or Apple trees, including Crabapples.

Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwing

They didn’t really find any food in my yard, but they stuck around and napped for quite a while. Bohemians are bigger than their cousins the Cedar Waxwings, other field marks include their gray coloring and most importantly the chestnut colored undertail coverts, which can easily be seen on these photos.

Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwing

This bird woke up for a bit and seemed to be complaining about the inclement weather.

headless Bohemian

headless Bohemian

This bird had his head tucked in so far he looked headless!

The hundreds of small songbirds also attracted more ominous company as well. A Merlin Falcon streaked through the yard at least 3 times that I saw. She was successful on each of her hunts. This small Falcon is truly a magnificent hunter – she grabbed small birds out of thin air as they tried to escape. The small size of the Falcon, short tail, and facial stripes, along with an all-dark eye differentiate this small bird hunter from the equally aggressive and small Sharp-shinned Hawk.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCEEjMIPprU[/youtube]

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Mallard mockery

Mallards in snow

Mallards in snow

Mallard pair

Mallard pair

Honey, this isn’t what I had in mind!
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Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe photo by Alice Hill

Eastern Phoebe photo by Alice Hill

The Eastern Phoebe was here a few days ago, but I think he may have flown back south.

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Another new arrival

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

A Chipping Sparrow made an appearance in the yard yesterday. He looks a lot like the American Tree Sparrow, but there’s no central breast spot, and he’s smaller. Also notice the totally black beak. Another sign of spring. It’s coming fast now.

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American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow’s are moving through the area now. They are on their way to their northern breeding grounds in the high arctic. Look for a central breast spot on an unstreaked breast and a bi-colored beak.

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Ice out!

The lake ice is going out.

Ice out

Ice out

There is lots of water flowing into Crane Lake, that’ll help get that ice melted. The 2 major rivers, the Vermilion and the Echo, are high and the water’s flowing fast. Two other little creeks, Snake and Camp 40, are doing there share too. Stay tuned to the Crane Lake webcams for the latest conditions: http://visitcranelake.com/webcam/index.html

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