Friday, May 27, 2011

Last of the Migrants

Well, it's been a fun few weeks, but it looks like migration is finally drawing to a close up here. A couple new birds have still shown up in the last week (Blackpoll Warblers, Red-eyed Vireos, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewees), but these are mostly a sign of the end of migration. In fact, for the first time in over a month, I actually had a day yesterday where I saw no warblers at all.

The good news is that the Eastern Bluebirds are indeed nesting in the same cavity that they used last year. I've observed both the male and female bringing insects to the hole over the past couple of days, so I suspect that the eggs have already hatched. We should be seeing the young birds venture out of the nest in the next week or so.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homeless Herons

The last couple of days, I've seen quite a few more Great Blue Herons flying over the park than normal. On Wednesday I saw 8 herons flying over the lake, and one in the lake, by far the most herons I've ever seen at Powderhorn at one time. Presumably these are mostly Herons from the Minneapolis heron rookery that was destroyed by the tornado looking for new places to live.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bay-breasted Warblers

The warblers have been thinning out recently, but the storms this weekend dropped a fairly large number of them in the park on Sunday afternoon. Going out between rain storms, I found several trees hopping with activity. Several Magnolia and Chestnut-sided warblers were around, but the highlight was at least 3 male Bay-breasted Warblers, a first for the park.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Tanager

On May 12, I happened across a rather rare (for Minnesota) bird hanging out at Powderhorn park. This first-spring Summer Tanager was hanging out with a male Scarlet Tanager near the park building:

First-spring Summer Tanager
Summer Tanager

I went back the next morning and found him in a tree by the basketball court. I'm quite sure he has moved on by now, but it was a nice surprise to stumble upon a bird whose normal range doesn't extend much north of Missouri.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

They keep coming

The last couple of days have been pretty spectacular for new migrant arrivals. The treetops are often filled with warblers these days, so look up! In the last two days alone, the following birds have arrived at Powderhorn Park for the first time this year:

  • Savannah Sparrow*
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Tennessee Warbler (among the Nashville and Orange-crowned warblers)
  • Ovenbird
  • Blackburnian Warbler*
  • Golden-winged Warbler*
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Scarlet Tanager*
  • Green Herons (2 on the island)

* birds I've not previously seen at Powderhorn

Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

In addition, Swainson's Thrushes are still around, and I even saw a pair of Downy Woodpeckers mating this morning.

Monday, May 9, 2011

First Hatchlings

Over the weekend, I noticed that at least one set of Mallard chicks and one set of Canada Goose chicks have hatched.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Week Recap

In addition to the previously-mentioned Sandpipers, notable birds that showed up at Powderhorn Park this week include quite a few warblers: Northern Parula, Black-and-white Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler (a new park bird for me). New non-warblers include Blue-headed Vireo, Least Flycatcher, Chimney Swift, Clay-colored Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Brown Thrasher (another new park bird), Gray Catbird, Winter Wren, several Swainson's Thrushes, and the first Black-crowned Night-Heron of the year. An Ovenbird also wandered through my back yard on Tuesday morning.

Brown Thrasher, trying to avoid my camera

Yellow-rumped Warblers were still plentiful this week as well.

A cooperative Yellow-rumped Warbler

Friday, May 6, 2011

Daytime Bat

I caught a glimpse of a bat out of the corner of my eye the other day, but it disappeared as it flew past a tree. So I went to investigate...

Little Brown Bat
Little Brown Bat (?)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sandpipers Redux

The sandpipers returned after May Day. Today there were 3 Solitary Sandpipers and a single Spotted Sandpiper. The Solitaries were considerably more obliging with the photo opportunities.

Solitary Sandpiper
Coming in for a landing

Solitary Sandpiper
Foraging along the north end of the lake