More fallout … and some fur

OK, where were we?
I hope the Wannabe server cooperates, as we continue with some of that warbler fallout on Park Point from Sunday, with thanks to Tony Mitchell:

Canada warbler

Chestnut-sided warbler

Wilson’s warbler
And now here’s a mystery warbler, or maybe it’s a mystery something else. Tony wasn’t sure, and with the luck I’ve been having, I won’t hazard a guess. Any ideas out there?

Tony also sent along a mystery flycatcher. Any thoughts on this one?

And finally, but also from Park Point, Tony offers this white-crowned sparrow:

I tried to call it a black-crowned sparrow. It has been that kind of week.
Now to the fur. Yesterday, Todd Fedora sent this picture, along with a message: “Had this mama with her 3 cubs absconding with my offerings Thursday. Off to Wild Birds Unlimited today to replace equipment. No more absent birdfeeding for a little while.”
Here’s the evidence:

I know many of you can identify with Todd’s unpleasant surprise. It does make a fun picture, though.

Your bird (and bear) pictures and stories gratefully received at:

Warbler fallout

A warbler fallout, as I understand it, is when weather conditions force migrating warblers to settle into an area until the weather conditions change. You can tell an area is experiencing a warbler fallout in the spring or fall if you see a considerable number of people with binoculars, spotting scopes, cameras and wide-brimmed hats in that area.
Tony Mitchell writes that he headed to Park Point on Sunday after being alerted by a post from Mike Hendrickson on the Minnesota Ornithologists Union’s e-mail listserv that a warbler fallout was under way there.
Tony spotted 15 warbler species. He said some birders saw 24 or 25 of the 26 warblers that typically migrate through Duluth on that single day.
Fortunately for us,Tony shared his wonderful pictures from Sunday. The site had a fallout of its own after I tried to post several of them, so I’ll include a few on this post and the others later.
Here we go:

American redstart. A great place to see American redstarts all summer is Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. If you camp there, they’ll introduce themselves before you have your tent set up.

Black-and-white warbler. For those of you who don’t have color monitors.

Black-throated green warbler.

A plethora of pictures

So many pictures have come in during the past couple of days. Thank you!
Let’s get started …

First-time contributor Peggy Langan sent this picture of a Baltimore oriole feasting on nectar from a hummingbird feeder. She took it from her home in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota.
Here are two more from Peggy, first of a pair of red-breasted grosbeaks and then of a hummingbird getting some nectar of its own:

Peggy said she had five hummingbirds going for the sweet water the other night.

Bernard St. George is back in Wisconsin, and he offers two views of a female red-breasted grosbeak from the cabin:

I love the way the flowers set off the grosbeak in that first picture.

Kurt Kuehn took a picture of one of my all-time favorite birds at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Mass. It’s a tufted titmouse, a bird we’re not likely to see in the Northland:

Here are a few more from Kurt, taken closer to home:

That sloppy eater at the end is an evening grosbeak. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the reddish bird with the chickadee is a pine grosbeak.

And this morning, Todd Fedora reports seeing a yellow-bellied sapsucker, a lifer for him.
What a fantastic variety of birds!

Your bird pictures and photos always welcome at:

Posted in Uncategorized

Minneapolis heron rookery destroyed

Amid all of the rest of the destruction from Sunday’s tornado in north Minneapolis, the North Mississippi Regional Park Heron Rookery also was wiped out.
There’s all sorts of information available about this on the web. I’ll refer you to one firsthand account, from the birdchick blog here.

During my weekend, I received several wonderful pictures from contributors. It doesn’t seem appropriate to include them in this post, but I will share them soon.

Your bird stories and pictures welcome:

Oh that ruby throat!

Thanks to Lyle Anderson for sending me several more pictures of a male ruby-throated hummingbird. He took them on Park Point on Friday. I especially liked this one:

Someone told me that it has been scientifically proven that it’s impossible for hummingbirds to fly. Good thing hummingbirds don’t read science textbooks.
Meanwhile, Todd Fedora reports a male oriole at his feeding stations in the Morley Heights neighborhood today after going through last year without any orioles. Todd said he put out oranges, grape jelly and nectar, but the grape jelly was the star attraction. I’ve had grape jelly and nectar all week, and I put out orange slices one day. The raccoon appreciated it very much.
Todd e-mailed later to add that an indigo bunting had come for a visit — the first one of those gorgeous birds he has had for a visit in four years.

Send your bird stories and pictures to me at:

Big and small

It just happened that pictures of one of the biggest and one of the smallest birds we see in the Northland crossed my e-mail desk on the same day.
Let’s start with biggest …

My colleague Andrew Krueger, author of the “News Tribune Attic” blog (among many other things), watched this pileated woodpecker searching for insects in a tamarack stump on Thursday in Rice Lake Township. Andrew said the woodpecker left a sizable pile of wood chips scattered around the base of the stump and seemed unconcerned about the photographer standing about 25 feet away.
On to the smallest …

Lyle Anderson shared these pictures he took of a male ruby-throated hummingbird at one of his feeders on Park Point, also on Thursday.
On another matter, Lyle, who lives between 41st and 42nd on the Point, said he has seen evidence of the Park Point bear that Tony Mitchell captured with his camera on Sunday. “When I came outside the house a couple of mornings ago, there was no doubt that I had been visited by a bear,” Lyle wrote. His bird feeders were cleaned out and damaged, he said. He’s taking the ones that are still good inside at night now. About bears, Lyle adds: “They are interesting, but I am always glad when they move on.”

Your bird pictures and stories (and Park Point bear observations) eagerly accepted at:

First hummer

Since I’ve asked you to send your first-hummingbird sightings (and you’ve responded!), I suppose I ought to mention mine: a female ruby-throated hummingbird, on a branch of a tree and then on my oriole feeder, haughtily ignoring the hummingbird feeder, Wednesday evening.
It was a banner day for me, because I also had an FOY (first of year) male cardinal and an FOY male goldfinch at my feeders.
All three are glorious birds. But it’s the hummingbird that caused me to watch in wonder. It wasn’t in constant motion like hummingbirds often are. It spent a lot of time just sitting still. I almost got the feeling it was tired.
And I thought: A few weeks ago, that hummingbird was in South America. Nothing that tiny could possibly fly that far. It’s impossible, but it happened. And if it survives the summer, it will head back the other direction in just a few months.

Your bird stories and photos gratefully received at:

Also on Park Point …

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Tony Mitchell also shared pictures of something else he saw on Park Point this past Sunday, May 15. It’s a non-bird species, but like many birds it was found in a tree. I think you might recognize this species …

Thanks for the pictures, Tony.

Your bird stories and pictures (and even the occasional critter picture or story) welcome. Send them to be at:

Amazing pictures

Sometimes writing this blog makes me feel like Charlie Brown. I’m thinking of the comic strip in which the Peanuts kids are looking up at the clouds and Linus sees all kinds of esoteric images, such as the stoning of Stephen. When Lucy asks Charlie Brown what he sees, Charlie says: “Well, I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsey, but I changed my mind.”
And I was all pumped up to tell you about the black-throated green warbler — or maybe it was a Townsend’s warbler or a golden-cheeked warbler — I saw on a hike to Mount Trudee yesterday, and the ovenbird I think I might have heard. Mind you, I didn’t get any pictures. I merely saw the one bird fairly clearly through my binoculars and heard the other bird, but wasn’t sure if I identified it correctly.
I thought I had done well — until I came in this morning and found a flock of amazing bird pictures from Kurt Kuehn and Tony Mitchell.
First, pictures Kurt took on Sunday at the family cabin in Alden Township. You’ll see beautiful shots of some familiar birds: rose-breasted grosbeak, purple finch, white-breasted nuthatch, chipping sparrow … but what is that bird in the fourth picture? Any ideas, anyone?

Tony did his birding over the past couple of Sundays on Park Point, and discovered a bird bonanza. It’s proof that if you live in Duluth you don’t have to go far to see a great variety of birds, at least at this time of the year. Without further delay, here’s what Tony came up with:

Tony’s pictures from top: a flock of Bonaparte gulls (Tony saw the 200), a great blue heron, a magnolia warbler, a Nashville warbler, a northern flicker, a northern parula, an orange-crowned warbler, a pair of red-breasted mergansers, a yellow warbler singing its heart out and a bonus picture of a yellow warbler. That first yellow warbler picture might be the photo of the year, from my perspective. I wish I could fill your computer screen with it.
Tony saw something else on Park Point, but I think you might just want to enjoy all of these images for now. So I’ll save three more pictures from Tony for the next blog.

Your bird stories and pictures always welcome. Send them to me at:


Patti and Mark Stenhammer took these pictures of orioles feeding on orange slices in their yard in the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood near Boy Scout Landing:

Patti and Mark had put out a juice feeder to attract the orioles, but when the first one came it went after the suet. Obviously, this oriole doesn’t read the bird books. After spotting him, the Stenhammers put out oranges, and they’ve had two male orioles hanging out since Wednesday. A hummingbird also came, attracted to the oriole feeder.
“It has been a very busy spring with many chipping sparrows, finches, red-breasted grosbeaks and a lot of blue jays,” Mark and Patti wrote.
They also saw a flock of trumpeter swans overhead on their way to the St. Louis River.
Thank you, Mark and Patti, and thanks to all of you who have shared your hummingbird sightings.

Your observations, pictures and comments are welcome. You can click on the comment spot, or e-mail me at: