Tuesday, April 27, 2010


First mallard ducklings of the year spotted on the north side of the lake near the reeds around noon.

Sandpiper and Swallow

This morning I had my first really good look of the year at a Spotted Sandpiper at powderhorn lake (I had seen 3 sandpipers a few weeks ago early one morning but didnt' have my binoculars and couldn't get close enough to verify whether they were spotted sandpipers or not). In addition, I saw my first Tree Swallow of the year at the park, along with several red-winged blackbirds and the first song sparrow I've seen since they did the grass burn along the waterline.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Return of the Night-Heron

So, the Black-crowned Night-Herons (or perhaps just one) are back in the park. I've seen one for the last couple of days, generally hanging out on the island.

I saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker as recently as Friday, so my previous pronouncement that they have moved through the area appears to have been premature.

Hermit thrushes can still be seen regularly. My high count was 4 of them on last Wednesday afternoon.

The Scaup is still (somewhat inexplicably) hanging around in the middle of the lake.

Sunday afternoon I went out to Theodore Wirth park for an hour or two in the afternoon. The most noteworthy sightings for the day were a Pileated Woodpecker, a single male Belted Kingfisher (my first of the year), and a small group of Northern Rough-winged Swallows (a new bird for me).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Yet another new park species for me over the lunch hour: a lone Greater (I think) Scaup diving in the middle of the lake:

Greater Scaup

There were also a couple pairs of blue-winged teal at the lake over the noon hour.

I observed a pair of great egrets flying over the park last night, but they didn't stop at the lake. I haven't seen the yellow-bellied sapsuckers for a few days, so I assume they've moved on through the area. The hermit thrush is still hanging around, though.

More butterflies showing up all of the time as well:


Monday, April 19, 2010


Not much new at the park in the last few days. The one strange sighting over my lunch hour today was a couple of parakeets (Budgerigars, I think) hanging out in the trees along the west side of the lake. At first I had assumed that the harsh chirping that I was hearing was just a group of house sparrows until I saw a small long-tailed yellow/white/blue bird fly between the trees. I guess somebody is missing a pet.

I also saw another field sparrow over lunch hour.

Over the weekend, I took a trip down to the Minnesota Valley NWR, and had a really good afternoon of birding. Beautiful weather, a bunch of first-of-the-year sightings (white-throated sparrow, tree swallow, trumpeter swan, cedar waxwing, ruddy duck, lesser scaup, redhead) and a good look at my first red-necked grebe (thanks to a look through a friendly stranger's scope). I also saw a ton of yellow-rumped warblers, some hooded mergansers and killdeer, horned grebes, bald eagles, blue-winged teals, ruby-crowned kinglets, brown-headed cowbirds, etc. etc.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kinglet invasion

These guys are everywhere right now:

ruby-crowned kinglet

My first sighting of a Blue-winged Teal at Powderhorn park:

blue-winged teal

The pair of bluebirds I spotted a while ago seem to be sticking around, I even observed them checking out a hole in a tree over the lunch hour. If we're lucky, perhaps they'll nest in the park this year. The Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are still around as well.

Warbler Alert

I spotted my first warbler of the year last night. It was a Yellow-rumped warbler, as you might expect. I have not yet found any more this morning, but it looks like the warbler wave will be starting soon now.

In somewhat less exciting news, this morning I spotted my first Brown-headed Cowbirds of the year.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sapsuckers and Sparrows

The Northern Shovelers don't seem to be around anymore, but they're being replaced by plenty of other new birds. Migration seems to be heating up again, as I've had a few new-for-the-year sightings (including a couple birds I've never seen before) in the last couple of days. The new arrivals to the park include at least two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (which seem to be juveniles since I couldn't see any red on their heads), a lone American Coot, a Chipping Sparrow, and my first-ever sighting of a Field Sparrow:

Field Sparrow

In addition, I'm still seeing lots of phoebes (several of which are singing their "phoebes" quite loudly and persistently), lots of flickers, occasional hermit thrushes, up to 4 pied-billed grebes at a time, and a ruby-crowned kinglet.

I also took a quick trip over to lake harriet yesterday to see some of the reported horned grebes that showed up after the rain storm. There were reported to be at least 150 of them on the two lakes, but I think most of those were only viewable with a high-powered scope. I did have very nice looks at a small group of four horned grebes, along with a pair of buffleheads, a flock of red-breasted mergansers, and numerous pied-billed grebes and coots.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shovelers, and a recap of the past week

My first Northern Shoveler sighting at Powderhorn Park:

Northern Shoveler

There were two pairs on the lake over the noon hour today. (Update: they were still there at 7pm in the evening)

Also notable of late: yesterday morning I saw upwards of 10-15 Eastern phoebes, so they're certainly back in numbers. So are the Northern Flickers, of which I saw at least 10 on my walk this morning. Other sightings over the lunch hour include a gorgeous breeding-plumage male Swamp Sparrow (with a bright rufous-red cap), and a solitary hermit thrush skulking in the conifers near the tennis courts.

I've also been seeing double-crested cormorants and pied-billed grebes regularly. I usually see at least one grebe on my walks around the lake, but there have been up to 2 or 3 at a time. The great blue heron has also been around somewhat regularly.

I saw my first mourning doves of the year last week.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hermit Thrush, Cormorant fly-by

A couple new arrivals sighted in the last couple of days. A hermit thrush was skulking around near the conifers by the tennis courts early Saturday morning. This morning, I saw a flock of 16 cormorants fly over the lake, though they didn't stop. I assume the resident cormorants should be setting up shop on the island in the near future.

Last night I saw a pair of great blue herons at dusk, the first time this year I've seen more than one at Powderhorn. Also, I had another pied-billed Grebe sighting this morning.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rusty Blackbirds

A new bird for me at Powderhorn Park tonight: a flock of 30+ Rusty Blackbirds landed in the huge tree near the tennis courts at the top of the hill. This morning I saw my first Northern Flickers of the year, as well as a large number of skittish Song Sparrows and at least one more Brown Creeper.