Sunday, July 8, 2007

Fort Snelling State Park

On June 29th I read on the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union list server that a prothonotary warbler had been spotted at Fort Snelling State Park. Since it is only a short 20 minute drive I decided to run over and see if I could get a picture. That day I did not see the prothonotary but I did get a good look at a peregrine falcon that appears to be living under the Mendota Bridge which passes directly over a large part of the park. Since the 29th I have made several trips back to Fort Snelling. I did get a glimpse of the prothonotary once as it crossed the path that I was on but was never able to get a picture. I did find some good subjects while I was in the park though. Like the eastern phoebe pictured below. I found him at the edge of a small field that opened up out of the woods.
There were also some downy woodpeckers checking out the small trees that lined the field.
On most my trips to the park I got some shots of indigo bunting.
They liked to sing in a dead tree on the side of the trail.
The indigo bunting were more blue then this juvenile eastern bluebird that I found.The Minnesota River travels from the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge through the park and then connects to the Mississippi. The flood plain of the Minnesota River provides plenty of shallow water for long legged waders, like great egret and great blue heron, to hunt.
The egrets and heron are not the only hunters in the park. Several times I have spotted the peregrine again on my visits.
Unfortunately I have not been as close as the first time that I spotted it, usually I see it perched on the high support beams of the bridge.
But one morning I was lucky and it decided to take off from a beam that was fairly close and so I got some decent flight shots.
There are other things to photograph in the park other then birds. There are a lot of white tailed dear in Minnesota, even in the Twin City metro area, so photographing them is kind of like taking pictures of cowbirds or robins.
However the fawns are still cute and fun to watch and they are plentiful at this time.
I found a pair of muskrat working on building there home.

They kept going to a small island, in the pond that their home was located, digging up weeds and then dragging them through the water back to their home on the opposite bank.

I also took a lot of pictures of butterfly and dragonfly but I will save them for my next post.

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