Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Medicine Lake continued

At the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge we also were able to photograph a few birds in the fields surrounding the lakes. Along with red-winged blackbirds they had a pretty good population of yellow-headed blackbirds.
Red-wings are common in eastern Minnesota but yellow-heads are not so we always like to get shots of the Yellow-heads when we get the chance. We did have one living at Woodlake Nature Center in the Twin Cities earlier this year but I have not been back in a while to check and see if it is still around. Sounds like something to do tonight.
We also spotted a couple of chestnut-collared longspur. They were difficult to shoot because they stayed low in the grass.
Eastern Kingbirds are also common in eastern Minnesota. I usually see quite a few when I visit the Carpenter Nature Center in Hasting's Minnesota.
The range of the western kingbird does not extend to the eastern portion of Minnesota.
We saw many ring-necked pheasants in the park and in the fields on the side of the road on the way there and on the way back.

We even saw a jack rabbit spying on us from near the border of the preserve.
After we left Medicine Lake we spotted this harrier flying over the field on the side of the road. We spotted many harrier on our trip but usually we were on the freeway and could not stop. Since we were on a highway at the time we decided to stop and get a couple of shots.
After I got a couple shots my wife noticed a second raptor had flown into the area. I believed that the second bird was a female harrier but it was pointed out by Dennis and Barbara Martin that it looked more like a swainson's hawk.
The dark remiges certainly looked like a swainson's but I was still not sure until I found this picture in my archives.

This shot had the clearest view of the second birds face.
And it was not very harrier like. Dennis and Barbara were right. Thank you very much for the correction.

It appears as though the swainson's was intruding on the harriers territory. This is something that prolly happens often out in open areas like the one we were in. The harrier did not seem to take the invasion lightly.
I kept shooting as they continued to circle each other until they faded away into the distance. Then we headed on home to give our attention starved cat some love.

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