[mou] birds in the snow

john nelson nelsonjc at hickorytech.net
Tue Apr 1 15:17:50 CDT 2008

AMAZING DAY 3-31.  29 and 30 had few birds at the feeders,just the  
usual suspects BCC, WBN,DWP,RBW,BJ,no Juncos, no Goldfinches. As the  
snow started on 31, 100-150 Grackles came in along with 55 Juncos and  
38 Goldfinches ( aren't they gaining color fast?). They were all there  
until late afternoon and were joined by 4 male and three female  
Cardinals. There was some competition going on with the latter. As I  
was standing in my garage wondering if the snow would ever stop, a  
Sharp Shinned Hawk flew up our hillside into the woods carrying a  
bird, which I couldn't identify, although my sense was Junco. I have  
found two bunches of Junco feathers in the in the past week and on one  
occasion saw a small hawk chase a Junco into the woods.
     ? To date myself and my Peterson guide what is a Cackling Goose?  
I observed and got a good picture of a pair of Giant Canadas at Loon  
Lake- near Lake Crystal on 3-30, standing near what I call Lesser  
Canadas. Were the latter now called Cackling? I also got good pictures  
of White Fronts, Trumpeters (they're not in my Peterson guide either,  
although he mentions a flock being started in MN),  
Buffleheads,Canvasbacks,Ruddies, a pair of Pintails we had not seen  
until we blew up the picture of the Trumpeters, a flock of 12 Common  
Merganser in flight and a number of others on the water Shovelers  
(which I grew up to know as Spoonbills), and a number of Scaup  
(Bluebills). A fun thing happened again on the computer when we got  
home. I had taken a number of photos at 100x digital zoom. They aren't  
good pictures but helpful in identifying birds to far away for our 10x  
binoculars. The best example was a photo of 4 fast  flying ducks app.  
50 yds away. I got a glimpse, brought the camera up and shot. I  
figured the odds  of the them being in frame at 100x were nil, but on  
the computer one was perfectly positioned  to show the wing stripe  
extending nearly to the end of the wing. I couldn't tell they were  
Bluebills when we saw them and certainly not Lesser or Greater.

After being a bird feeder for years , I'm working on a lifelist and  
the backyard keeps the list pretty short, I'm also finding bird  
identification in the field a little different than on a bird feeder  
outside the window. Tips would be appreciated. Also any tips on Lac  
Qui Parle would be helpful, I'm planning a trip this week.
John Nelson
Near Beauford and the Big Cobb R.

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