Friday, January 30, 2015

Atmospheric Effects

There was a nice solar pillar at sunrise this morning but I had trouble getting a clear shot due to all the trees.  There was another one at sunset that was bright red but by the time I got to a clearing it was gone.  This evening there was a lunar corona again.  There were lots of clouds passing in front of the moon so I took a 30s exposure to show the full ring.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Moon in the afternoon, Moon at night

Moon rising in the afternoon

 Lunar corona as clouds pass in front

Patience, pileated.

Sitting very still, I was snapping pics of the little chickadees and red polls at my feeders, hoping some the color I saw earlier would return: blue jay, white-breasted nuthatches, red-bellied woodpecker, and a purple finch.  I was just about to pack it in, when he showed up.  I was very close to this nervous Pileated Woodpecker (about 7ft) and he couldn't figure out what that clicking noise was.

Ruffed Grouse                                              Blue Jay

 Common Red Poll

Black-capped Chickadee

Backyard buck from down the road

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sax-Zim Bog Blog

My wife released me from my domestic duties to go up to the Sax-Zim Bog this afternoon.  I was in search of owls and other boreal bird species this bog wilderness provides a winter home for.  It was a good day and I saw lots of birds, but no owls.  My wife went grocery shopping in Pike Lake and saw a Snowy Owl on the side of Hwy 53!

So I didn't even get out of the yard before I started taking pictures.  
I typically only see one White-breasted Nuthatch at a time.

Then just up the road a few miles from the house there was a Bald Eagle feasting on a deer carcass.

I hadn't stopped to check out the Blue Jay...

 I wouldn't have seen the Ruffed Grouse in the brush an got my favorite pics of the day

Lots of mammals out as well.  Many pine squirrels.  
This Muskrat was walking along the frozen ditch.

I stopped hoping to see an owl...but it was a Rough Legged Hawk!  A lifer for me.  Then a second one swooped at him and both flew off.  Later I saw a third one.

Gray Jays

 Black capped Chickadee, didn't find any boreal chickadees.

 C. Red poll

The day's overall list of species:

Other mammals:  pine squirrels, Muskrat, (no deer!)

Black capped chickadee
common red poll
pine siskin
Pine Grosbeak (Lifer?, I may have seen one 20+ years ago)
Rough Legged Hawk (Lifer)
Blue Jay
Gray Jay
Ruffed Grouse
Bald Eagle
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Black-billed Magpie (second time ever)
Hairy woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

and other little birds too fast for me to identify!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Northern Hawk Owl

I have driven up Jean Duluth Rd north of Duluth a few times, looking for the Northern Hawk Owl that resides in the area.  I surveyed the frequented pasture area and was just about to leave when I spotted one.  Kelly J, the name given to this bird, was 200 yards away and given the cloudy day, was hard to shoot.  Standing in the snow in my sneakers, a used the fence as a tripod to steady my shots.  This was my first time seeing a Northern Hawk Owl!  After many pictures I was satisfied and returned to my car, removed the snow from the insides of my shoes, and headed back towards Duluth.

As was I driving along, wishing I had been able to get a closer pic, I see another Northern Hawk Owl right off the road!  Sitting on a high line wire, I was able to walk right up and was about 40 ft away.  Perturbed, it flew across the road into a tree.  But the tree was still pretty close!  So I took lots more pics and got some video (at bottom of page).

Kelly J

Not Kelly J

Check out those talons!

In the tree across the road

There was a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers that were not impressed with the owl's presence.  
This one was brave enough to get close.  The forced perspective of the shot makes the woodpecker seem large, but it is actually a couple feet closer than the owl.

With a chickadee                                  Alone at last  

Preening, and visited by a Hairy Woodpecker.
Don't mind the car noises.

Pic a pair of pileated peckers

My neighbor's feeders were host to a mating pair of Pileated Woodpeckers.  This male (left, with the red mustache) and female (right) have been in our area for several years.


Monday, January 19, 2015

A slip of the tongue

I caught this male Downy Woodpecker having breakfast...and he stuck his tongue out at me!