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.
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.
Is it a bad thing to have too many favorites? The wildflower Pipsissewa might just be my very favorite.
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.
6 young Hooded Merganser chicks resting and preening on a sunken log.
Hooded Merganser chicks
Mama Merg says “let’s go kids”.
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”.
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.
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???
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!