[mou] Ft. Snelling Wed./ Old Cedar-Bass Ponds today

linda birds@moosewoods.us
Fri Apr 13 03:20:48 EDT 2007

Two very different viewing conditions!

Ft. Snelling yesterday: The song sparrows barely managed to toss a tune 
into the blowing snow. There were some tree sparrows and chipping 
sparrows, but they were too busy foraging along the lakeside to make 
more than a few stray sounds. Along with the usual expected woodpeckers, 
there were two flickers along the main driveway near the beach. On the 
lake, a flock of tree swallows were going through hunting motions. The 
backwaters were sheltering several pairs of ring-necked ducks, a 
kingfisher, and one great blue heron, none of them doing much fishing. 
Only the goldfinches, chickadees and juncos seemed somewhat energetic, 
but they, too, were relatively quiet.

Today at Old Cedar/Bass Ponds, viewing was easier, and the soundtrack 
richer (not counting the sound of the airport gashawks). Again, there 
were tree swallows in force. An eagle was visible on the nest across 
from the boardwalk platform. Just as I raised the binoculars to watch 
the eagle, a yellow-headed blackbird sailed into my sights, proceeding 
to circle around behind the platform and land in the cattails on the 
west side of the boardwalk behind me, vocalizing all the while.

Since the path to the bluff trail is very flooded, I headed east. There 
was a nice cloud of bugs hatched (yes, I'll be eating my "nice" word in 
a few weeks), and a very lively E. phoebe amidst them. Among the many 
coots, the mallards, and the Canadas, were a few wooducks and 
bufflehead, and a good number of ring-necks and scaup. A redtail hawk 
perched just off the main path for awhile, before resuming her cruise 
over the shore.

On the road down to Bass Ponds there were fox sparrows and brown 
creepers. The biggest pool hosted 4 great blue herons, and one bluebird 
was working the road between there and the bluffside marsh. Four 
goldfinches sporting some spring plumage were bathing in the stream by 
the footbridge. Over the marsh across the river, a northern harrier was 
circling low. To the east there were more waterfowl, including four 
pairs of redhead, though no sign of the hundreds of shovelers seen there 
a couple of weeks ago. It can only get better from here on!

Linda Whyte

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