Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe Hare

In his summer coat.

The Snowshoe Hare is the only rabbit species that we have up in the north woods around Crane Lake. For more information there was a great article a few years ago in the MN Conservation Volunteer. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/young_naturalists/hares_rabbits/index.html

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Herriman Lake Trail – May 7th

Emerging Ferns

Emerging Ferns

Marsh Marigold Buds

Marsh Marigold Buds

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

 

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

 

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

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Crane Lake Raven nest

Common Ravens

Common Ravens

This Common Raven nest has been nestled into the cliffs on Crane Lake for as long as I can remember – and it probably has been here for a lot longer than that. I have read that Ravens will use the same nest site for decades. The Ravens that are using the nest site at a particular time will stay in the same area and defend it against other Ravens that enter their territory.

The above photo shows the adult Raven arriving at the nest.

Raven Nest

Raven Nest

I think she’s giving me the evil eye. Don’t worry, I don’t think anything would be able to climb up the cliff to the nest.

Raven nestlings

Raven nestlings

Hungry babies! So ugly, they’re cute!

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Franklin’s Spruce Grouse

After I posted my Spruce Grouse video, I found this really awesome video of a “Franklin’s” Spruce Grouse. This sub-species of the Spruce Grouse is only found in the northern Rockies and Cascade mountain ranges. Part of their display flight is a “wing-clap” which is shown in this video. I’ve heard the wing clap described as sounding like a shotgun. Watch the video and decide for yourself, either way it’s pretty cool! Kudos to the person who had the opportunity to video tape this bird in action.  

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

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Trailing Arbutus

Trailing Arbutus

Trailing Arbutus

The first wildflower of the season to bloom in the coniferous forests of northern Minnesota.

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Spruce Grouse display

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

Last Thursday, I spent over an hour with a very cooperative “displaying” Spruce Grouse.

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

He spent all his time flying back and forth from one pre-determined branch to the ground.

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

 I think he may have fallen in love with the click of the shutter of my camera as he would puff up and click his tail in response. Or he could have thought it was another male Grouse challenging him.

Spruce Grouse display

Spruce Grouse display

Immeadiately before he would fly up, he would flick his wings once. Here is he preparing to flick his wings.

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

Only one time would he flutter his wings, then he would hesitate for a second before flying up to his perch. It was a great thundering sound when he flew up.

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

He would spread his tail and then quickly snap it shut, making a clicking sound. He took a little rest at one point and I watched as he ate Jack Pine needles.

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

Eventually, I stood right on his lek and he flew directly at me. I thought he was going to land on my head, but he lit just to my right on the ground – I could have reached out and touched him. He then cocked his head to the side and stared up at me. We looked at each other for a few seconds then he walked away to once again fly up to his favored branch. Back and forth he would go, over and over again, landing right next to me and then walking away to fly up to his branch.
 
At one point, a group of 6 Boreal Chickadees worked their way through the Jack Pine. It was fun to hear their spring song mixed in with their “chick-a-day, days”. Other birds heard were Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Hermit Thrush.

 I had been waiting to see the “flight display” for some time. I heard the thunder of wings in the silent woods and that is what attracted my attention. I saw the bird through the trees and thought I might spook him as I thrashed through the brush. He didn’t spook at all and I think he thought the shutter noise of my camera was another male clicking his tail. It was tons of fun!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyh_w-MH2QI&feature=related

 

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Goldeneyes in the Snow

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

It’s not a James Bond movie!

Common Goldeneye, female

Common Goldeneye, female

Both Goldeneyes were busy grooming their feathers.

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

Goldeneye

Goldeneye

 

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

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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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