Black-backed Woodpecker – Sept 11, 2006

Last night at about 6pm, I heard a loud chip call like a Hairy Wookpecker, but lower and louder. I ran for my bins and got a good look at a Black-backed Woodpecker. I believe I also saw one last week on Thursday, but didn’t have my binoculars. I was alerted to the bird’s presence by its different call.

The fall migration here is fantastic this year. My yard is full of White-throated Sparrows, they’ve been here for a while now eating at the feeders and foraging on the ground. They have even learned to negotiate my caged squirrel proof feeder. Perhaps the severe drought this summer has helped their nesting efforts.

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I took a boat ride down Rollick Creek, this small creek flows into Crane Lake. We used the electric trolling motor so we were able to sneak right up to many birds. We scared up a flock of 20-30 Wood Ducks, Blue-wing Teals, and saw a couple of lone Pied-billed Grebes. The highlights of the trip were the numerous Warblers in the wild rice beds. I believe there were several flocks of Connecticut Warblers hanging onto the stalks of the wild rice and gleaning insects. We also saw lots of Common Yellowthroats. There were other warblers present, but I was unable to identify them in their fall plumage. (Thank you to Chet Meyers for his excellent article in the MN Volunteer this month on Fall Warblers) I was able to identify the Palm Warblers with their tail pumping and there were Yellow-rumped Warblers present as well.

Last week the huge picture windows at Nelson’s Resort were deadly. In one afternoon a Swainson’s Thrush, a Hermit Thrush, a White-throated Sparrow, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler came to their demise. While I used the unfortunate incident to compare the Swainson’s and Hermit Thrushes close-up, it is not a scene I want repeated.

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