22 May 2009

A Walk in the Woods

Here in Wolsfeld Woods, a hole in the tree canopy brings
in light for young maples to start growing on the forest floor.

Budding willows are abundant along Wolsfeld Lake.
Hummingbirds gather the fluff off the bud
to use as nest material.

19 May 2009

Guest blog entry appearing in Birdchick.com

Have you hugged a snag today?

Does this image make you want to get a chainsaw or a pair of Swaroskis binocs?

As any bird aficionado will tell you, snags such as this one, do not have to be an unattended issue in your backyard but rather a hidden magnet for all sorts of bird activity.
Your neighbors might think you are being rather neglectful allowing a dead tree to stand while shedding its various parts over a long period of time but this is certainly less crazy then constructing an artificial snag.

Besides nesting, birds use dead trees for foraging, domain-watching, hunting and just plain hanging out without the hassles of dealing with leaves.

For birding humans, dead trees provide great viewing and photo opportunities.

An ibis "tower" in Sebastian Florida

Many birds of prey, such as this red-tailed hawk, rely on the unobstructed view that a dead tree provides for finding food.

This barred owl is perched on a man-made snag of cut buckthorn. Buckthorn is an invasive small tree that is choking the understory of woodlands here in Minnesota. Creating a few of these mini-perches to be used by the owl is one way to make something positive out of a nuisance situation.

A wildlife pond is not complete without a few horizontal snags. Ducks love to rest on dead trees by the water's edge. Seeing the baby wood ducks each summer makes dragging an 100 pound snag over to the water worth all the work.

And for a non-birding use of snags, you have to give credit to Bruce Stillman who designed what I call "snaghenge"

This work of art is part of the amazing Big Stone Mini Golf Course in Minnetrista, Minnesota.

15 May 2009

Aww...the birds of spring

Every year the excitement of the spring arrivals
in the wildhood never gets old.

The rose-breasted grosbeak is one of these
most colorful visitors
to the feeder in early May
that always delights us.

Grosbeaks spend winter in Mexico, Central and South America
and migrate to nest here in Minnesota.

The aptly named indigo buntings are another migrant
from the neotropics

that arrive here in early May to nest.

One of my favorite photos from last year has a local
goldfinch not too pleased with the new finch in town.

12 May 2009

Spring at Wood-Rill

After a striking autumn last year,
nother season starts anew at Wood-Rill.
A lack of significant spring rains so far has stalled
the greenery from appearing on the floor of
the big woods.

Marsh marigolds are providing most of the color right now.

The weathered skeletons of the forest giants can be seen
rather simply this time of year.

Tree blossoms on the outskirts of the deep woods

05 May 2009

The Art of Being a Turkey

Turkeys are the "new" tame bird of the Twin Cities suburbs.
Like the Canada goose, turkeys are being found everywhere
and are not shy about appearing in one's backyard.
Turkeys imported from Missouri were used to reintroduce turkeys back to Minnesota almost 40 years ago and most of today's birds are from that successful attempt.
With their funny shape, bizarre colors and quizzical nature,
turkeys can be interesting to watch.

Turkeys will fly into trees to escape danger and roost at night.

Turkey in abstract-
actually preening.

This turkey is going out on a limb to make friends
in the wildhood.

Whoa, dude-
headshot of a male in full breeding colors.