Raptors on Pike Lake

Tiffany Venne and her family put their pontoon boat out on Pike Lake on Mother’s Day. Tiffany, who started watching hawks a couple of years ago and said she is learning about other types of birds in the area this year.

So she took her binoculars along, and this is what she reports:

"After spying the ever present Mallards and Loons, I spotted a couple female Common Mergansers. I had seen them a few weeks ago while kayaking. Then, the "ladies" were accompanied by a single male. It was my first time ever seeing a Common Merganser and thought that they were just passing through. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see them still on the lake a few weeks later.

"Later in the afternoon, I took a walk around the lake. I watched a couple Eagles ride a thermal up and then part ways. I generally don’t stop walking, but when I heard a chirping/pipping sound, I paused to find the source. Up in the tree I spotted an Osprey. It bounced its head to the right, and then to the left. It chirped once more and dove toward me. With a wing span of at least five feet, it flew right over my head giving me a great view of the underside markings. It was carrying some sort of rodent in its talons and I watched it fly gracefully down the road.

"Of course the Osprey was the highlight of my day (aside from spending time with my mother on Mother’s Day) but I was glad to see the Mergansers are planning on sticking around. "

Pike Lake obviously is a good spot for bird watching. Here’s another one: Target Field.

Contributors to the Minnesota Ornithologist Union’s e-mail listserv reported the sky over the stadium was filled with chimney swifts during the Twins’ Saturday afternoon game. And a kestrel apparently has been showing up for night games, perching on the right field foul (fowl?) pole.

So there you have it: another reason the new stadium is better than the Metrodome.

Write to me (and send pictures if you’d like) at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

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