Friday, April 18, 2008

Kinglets, Sparrows, Eagles and Osprey

Although my trip out on Sunday was primarily to photograph migrating waterfowl I did also manage to find a large number of new passerines as well as a couple of raptors.
Kinglets are always pretty difficult to photograph, but I followed this golden-crowned kinglet around the Old Cedar Ave Bridge area for a while and was able to get a couple of good pics.
I did see ruby-crowned kinglets at Black Dog Lake and Old Cedar Ave Bridge that day also but all of my photos of them turned out to be like Big Foot pics, blurry and indistinguishable.
The song sparrows were out singing in the fields around Black Dog that morning. The males sing as a way to attract a female, as well as to warn other males to stay out of their territory.
The lenghtening days, as well as warming temps and food availability, determine when the males begin to sing their courting songs. Studies show that females prefer mates that sing a more complex song. If that was the case with humans then classical and opera singers would be studs while boy bands would be duds, well at least half of that statement is true.
While reading up about song sparrows I found that the song sparrows in the Aleutian island in Alaska are so large that they are actually twice the weight of an eastern bluebird. Talk about a raptors extra value meal.
Speaking of raptors I did see my first osprey of 2008 on Sunday. I was just a fly by, so I did not get any great pics, but it was still a welcome sight. I will need to make sure that I start checking out the osprey platform in Roseville to see if any osprey are nesting there again this year.
I also found a bald eagle perched in one of the large trees on the shore of the river. It is possible that it could be an inhabitant of the nest across the river channel, that is visible from the road. Several people who I ran into at Black Dog and Old Cedar Ave where down there looking for eagles because of a feature that one of the local stations ran on their news program about eagles at Black Dog Lake. I let the people who I talked to know that there was at least one eagle still around as well as a nest but that the best time for eagle viewing at Black Dog Lake is actually during the winter months. Since Black Dog is one of a few locations where the water does not freeze over, due to the power plant on the lake, eagles congregate there during the winter. When the temps warm up and our 10,000 + lakes thaw out the eagles disperse leaving only a few behind.

3 comments:

Island Rambles Blog said...

Love the osprey and the eagle and I really liked reading about the eagles in the winter time there as I wonder what they do...they leave here in the winter and I have no idea where they go ...probably along the coast somewhere..always enjoy your photos ecobirder.Thanks for your comments on my blog and I enjoy your scientific help anytime.

Mike and Lizette's Travels and Thoughts said...

We continue to enjoy the photos that you have posted, we also checked out the Mississippi Regional Park like you suggested, we will have to check it out again soon. If you haven't been to the Coon Rapids Dam on the Brooklyn Park side, there is an active Osprey nest near the entrance to the walkway over the dam.

Ecobirder said...

Thanks Ocean, actually the eagles in your area probably winter down at the Skagit River down in Washington in the US. The Skagit River Preserve is north east of Seattle and is one of the top winter gathering spots for eagles in North America. The eagles gather there because of the open water and the spawning runs of the chum salmon.

Thanks Mike and Lizette, I don't think that the ospreys were back yet the last time that I was up at the Coon Rapids Damn but I will make sure that I look next time that I am up there. I em glad that you enjoyed the North Mississippi Regional Park. I have made a couple of trips there lately.