Nelson’s Trail does not disappoint

This has been a great bird week for me! On Thursday I chased a ROSS’S GOOSE that was reported in Virginia, MN down on the Iron Range. This very special Goose from the Arctic was among a group of Canadian Geese and Cackling Geese on the campus of the Mesabi Range College. He was going about his business of eating grass and napping when I observed him. The Ross’s Goose is smaller than a Snow Goose and has a stubby bill. The 2008 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp (Duck Stamp) features the Ross’s Goose and the painting was done by a local artist from Orr, MN! Congratulations Sara Stack!

Then last night I took a hike on the Nelson’s Trail to see what I could find. The minute I started out I could hear a soft tapping that was very consistent. On a field trip earlier in the season, we had listened for just that sound in our pursuit of a Black-backed Woodpecker. So I stood and listened for some time and narrowed down the tapping to a huge White Pine as the tapping resounded down the trunk of the tree. I searched the tree and could see nothing, but continued to hear the tapping. I moved up the hill a little ways to get a better look at the upper branches. This was a huge White Pine. Then I caught a glimpse of some movement way up at the top on some branches, and there she was: a female Black-backed Woodpecker. The females do not have the yellow patch on the top of their head, but the facial stripe and totally black back make this bird distinctive.

Once I got back to the area where the Boreal Chickadees were found on Sunday, which is way back by the beaver pond in a grove of Jack Pine, I started looking and listening for the very special northern Chickadee. And with a little patience and persistence – one Boreal Chickadee came out of the woods. Yes!, maybe they will stay around in the area.

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