Sapsucker Nest!

Right now is a really good time to find Woodpecker nests, especially Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Northern Flickers. When you’re walking in the woods, keep an ear out for baby Woodpecker chatter. Baby Woodpeckers, for some unknown reason, keep up a constant chatter when they are still in the nest. Once you hear it, just keep searching for a likely tree that has a few holes drilled in it. Then patiently wait for the parents to show – which shouldn’t be too long – as the parents know they have hungry chicks to feed.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker nest hole

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker nest hole

Sapsucker entering nest

Sapsucker entering nest

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, male

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, male

 Before they would leave the nest, the adult bird would check to see if the coast was clear. They would look left, right, and overhead before flying out of the hole.

Sapsucker with fecal sac

Sapsucker with fecal sac

The male Sapsucker was cleaning house. Here he’s leaving with a fecal sac.
female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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Remote Pond

Remote pond

Remote pond

I hiked into this remote beaver pond last week. It was in about 1 mile down an old logging road. This pond was teaming with bird life.

The dead tree snags provide critical housing for cavity nesting birds like Tree Swallows, Eastern Kingbird, Wood Ducks, Hooded and Common Mergansers and others.

Ox-eye Daisy

Ox-eye Daisy

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in the Cedars

Spotted Coralroot Orchid

Spotted Coralroot Orchid

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow had a family nearby and she was pretty upset with my presence.
White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

O.K., O.K., I’m moving on – take good care of your babies!
White-throated Sparrows are one of our most populous birds in the forest. Their beautiful song can be heard through out the day ringing out from the forest. Many times the bird will not appear from the thick cover of the woods, but their song comes through loud and clear. It’s amazing that such a small bird can sing so loud.
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Hidden Gems

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler

Singing from their favored habitat: dense patches of the shrub Mountain Maple.

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler

It’s as if he is saying “I challenge you”! It even looks like he has little horns.

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

And further on, tucked in the dense stands of the Balsam Fir, is the Magnolia Warbler.

 

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New Duckies

Mallard Hen with ducklings

Mallard Hen with ducklings

Under the watchful eye of…

Bald Eagle, immature

Bald Eagle, immature

Maybe if I hide behind this tree, nobody will notice me…

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Always the opportunist, the Bald Eagle doesn’t miss a chance at a possible meal.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Not this time…
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Surprise in the Woods!

The other day I kicked up a family of SPRUCE GROUSE!

Spruce Grouse fledgling

Spruce Grouse fledgling

Surprisingly, the young birds could fly fairly well – albeit only for short distances.

Spruce Grouse female

Spruce Grouse female

The Spruce Hen was making the weirdest noises as she was kept  in contact with her youngin’s. At one point she vocalized a spooky scream.

Spruce Hen

Spruce Hen

O.K., O.K., I’ll leave you alone so you can gather up your family.

Heliport

Heliport

Back on some of the remote logging roads, in the Superior National Forest, there are Heliports set aside. I suppose they use helicopters to drop firefighters when there’s a wildfire in the forest. Or perhaps they’re used in search and rescue missions or if someone has been injured in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

There must have been a wetland beyond the rock face as I could hear many birds that associate with that habitat: Common Yellowthroat, Alder Flycatcher, Chestnut-sided Warbler. This clearing, some of it natural and some encouraged, was thick with birdsong.

Remote Beaver Pond

Remote Beaver Pond

My destination was a remote beaver pond that was about a mile in from the Echo Trail. It was a really cool spot, but there wasn’t much for bird activity. But then I was there in the afternoon when most birds are taking their siesta. 

However, on the way out I found a pair of Juncos that seemed to be defending a nest site. They got really upset when I walked by and they were causing such a commotion that some other birds came out to see what was going on. They were promptly chased away by the indignant Juncos. I took the hint and got out of there as well.

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Blueberry Report

Blueberries

Blueberries

It looks like we might get a good crop of Blueberries this year. The rain came just in time to replenish the forest plants and the Blueberry bushes!

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Evening Warbler Walk

Finally the sun came out last evening and I just had to take advantage of it by taking a walk at the Vermilion River Gorge.

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler

And the Bonus bird: Canada Warbler!
Wilsonia canadensis

"Wilsonia canadensis"

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Mama feeding baby

Hairy Woodpecker feeding young

Hairy Woodpecker feeding young

 The Hairy Woodpeckers are busy teaching their young how to forage and find food on their own.

Juvenile Hairy Woodpecker, male

Juvenile Hairy Woodpecker, male

 

It’s curious how the young male Hairy Woodpecker shows the red on his forehead when they’re just out of the nest. Later the red feathering will move to the back of their head which is where you find it on the adult male.

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what was that pile of feathers?

The other day I was heading down the Echo Trail on my way back from a morning of birding, when I came around a curve and there appeared, quite suddenly, a family of Woodcocks! One adult and at least 4 babies.

I pulled over as quick as I could and got the camera out. I walked back to the spot where the birds had been, which was only about 50 feet away from where I stopped my car. As I got closer to the spot, I noticed a small pile and I thought, oh no, one of the chicks had been hit by a car. I didn’t think that I had hit anything.

I thought I’d take a picture of it before examining it further – when all of a sudden the pile of fluff jumped up, held its wings straight up and headed for the woods.

American Woodcock

American Woodcock

 

American Woodcock chick

American Woodcock chick

The Woodcock chick held his wings straight up in the air the whole way back to the side of the road and the safety of the tall grass.
Woodcock chick

Woodcock chick

The bird is so young that it hasn’t grown feathers under its wings yet.
Woodcock

Woodcock

He made it back to the family group. There were other chicks running around in the grass and ferns and the mama Woodcock was flying frantically in the woods. They are one strange looking bird – the adult doesn’t have much of a tail and their long wings look incongruous with their bodies. Woodcocks are part of the shorebird family and the similarities come through in strange ways. Maybe the wing display was one of those traits that they share. Sometimes shorebirds will display their wings by holding them straight up in the air for a second or two.

 

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