27 February 2009

The Minnesota equivalent of Groundhog Day....

...is when the first raccoon shows up in your yard after its winter nap.  

Not interested in seeing its shadow, the raccoon is all about eating the suet from your birdfeeders, rummaging for dog food in your garage or tearing off the top of a garbage can.


One other difference from the real Groundhog Day is, in Minnesota, there is never an issue about whether there will be another six weeks of winter.

17 February 2009

Cosmic Clouds

The ground we walk on, the plants and creatures, the clouds above constantly dissolving into new formations - each gift of nature possessing its own radiant energy, bound together by cosmic harmony.

11 February 2009

Another Canadian Visitor

Redpolls are another species of the northern boreal forests to migrate to a more "southern" state to spend part of this winter. Yes, Minnesota is considered a place to retreat to if there is a poor seed crop in their Canadian homeland.

Like their cousins the pine siskins, redpolls love the thistle seed and will do their best to drain feeders often leaving a large amount of seed on the ground.

The males are more colorful with a pink chest.

08 February 2009

Cattails in Winter

05 February 2009

Post holiday decorations in Minnesota's spruce trees

Numerous flocks of white-winged crossbills have migrated south to Minnesota this winter. Hanging from tips of spruce branches, they extract seeds from the cones with bills that cross at the tip.

When they don't want to work as hard, they drop to the ground to do clean up on all the cones felled by their visit. The presence of a sudden amount of fallen spruce cones in the winter is a good indicator that the crossbills have attacked.
Check out this video that shows how the crossbill adaptation works.

04 February 2009

A Tale of Two Seasons

Photos of the same hydrangea plants!