My birding has been mostly uneventful as of late.
At the Wannabe Ranch in West Duluth, I seem to be feeding mostly chipmunks and squirrels — and possibly a mystery critter that left some, uh, interesting scat on my deck the other night.
I still see an occasional hummingbird, but they seem to be in passing-through mode now.
Earlier this month, I spent a few days at L’Abri House in Rochester, Minn. It’s actually two houses on 10 wooded hilltop acres. I regretted not bringing my binoculars, because I’m sure I could have seen lots of activity.
No binoculars were needed to spot cardinals. They were as common there as chickadees are up here. I also heard the “meow” of a catbird. That was about it.
I spotted a catbird in the woods near my house a few weeks ago. They’re fairly common, but some years I don’t see a single one.
And on a hike a few weeks ago in the Tettegouche Camp area of Lake County I scored a personal “lifer”: a pair of pine warblers.
They must have been in their first year, because they were rather nondescript. But they matched the picture in my bird book. And they were in a pine tree.
So my modest list is now up to 109 species.
Speaking of lists, I almost forgot about the ongoing list of great birding sites at national wildlife refuges as reported in a National Wildlife Refuge System news release.
Here are a couple from the Midwest:
* Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge on Lake Erie in northwestern Ohio. Ottawa claims to be “warbler capital of the world,” thanks to 38 species that pass through from late April through late May. It’s also a great spot for bald eagles. And, huge flocks of dunlins have been seen in the Crane Creek estuary as they travel between Arctic breeding and coastal wintering grounds.One more thing: It’s host for the Biggest Week in American Birding Festival in early May. Read about that here: And learn more about Ottawa Wildlife Refuge here:
* Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge is in north central Minnesota (the closest towns are Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids). It’s a habitat for migratory birds, including more than 30 nesting pairs of trumpeter swans, a species that once had disappeared from Minnesota. They are best seen from April through October. NOTE: The refuge’s visitor center is temporarily closed for an energy retrofit. Read more about Tamarac here:
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