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.
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.
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
The Swans are anxious to get back up north, but they’re running into the ice and snow that just won’t go away up here.
They are finding what little open water there is to rest and feed. My neighbor Harvey sent me these photos, Thanks Harvey!
Swans & Geese
They look huge next to the Canadian Geese.
Swan on Snow
The other afternoon I was heading home from town, and as I was going by Myrtle Lake, I saw two humps of what looked like snow out on the ice covered lake. Then one of the humps raised its’ head and I realized it was two Swans! There was no open water in sight! There are always Swans on Myrtle Lake. I think they might nest in the marshes in the area close to that lake. It’s always such a beautiful sight. Swans are so elegant.
Last Sunday, March 13th, was the last time I saw a Pine Grosbeak at Crane Lake. And the funny thing is, is that the last one I saw was a brightly colored male. So I guess that blows my theory about the males leaving first.
This is pretty much right on schedule. Last year they left by the 12th and the year before that they were gone by the 15th. This is a sure sign of Spring. And to top it off, numerous Saw-whet Owls have moved into the area. They can be heard calling after dark – the continuous, monotonous “toot, toot, toot” can go on for hours. It’s such a great time of the year! Watch the birds and you will be inspired!
It’s that time of the year when the Pine Grosbeaks start heading back up north to their breeding grounds in Canada.
Pine Grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator
The past few years that I have been watching the Pine Grosbeaks, it seems like the handsome red males leave first, leaving behind the females. If the Pineys are like a lot of birds, the males will arrive on their breeding grounds long before the females. This will give the males that arrive first the best territory, which they defend against other males.
It seems like the Pine Grosbeaks leave Crane Lake around the 15th of March. I’m keeping track; this morning, on the 11th, there were 2 females at the feeders.
The scientific name, Pinicola enucleator: Pinicola, one who inhabits pines and, enucleator : one who ‘shells out’ from the bird’s way of husking the pine seeds.