Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Birding Adventures at Minnesota Valley NWR

The final weekend in June I spent a lot of time in the Minnesota Valley NWR. I started out up by the visitors center. I spent a lot of time at the visitors center last winter. They have a large feeding station that attracts a lot of birds during the winter time. I prefer to photograph birds in their natural habitat over photographing them at feeders, however it is pretty difficult to find birds at frozen lakes and snow covered forests. The visitors center also has large windows in front of all of its feeder stations so that you can stay warm while getting close looks at a variety of birds during the winter.
During the summer I do not pay much attention to the feeders. Instead I am usually in the small field on the east side of the visitors center looking for butterflies and dragons. Each fall or spring they burn these fields down to promote new growth but this year things did not come back very quickly due to our late winter. So I did not find very many insects to photograph. I did find a couple of eastern bluebirds, that appeared to be nesting in one of the nesting boxes that are in the field, which posed for a few shots.
After checking out around the visitors center I decided against venturing down to the river, the trip back up the hill can be a bit strenuous when you are carrying a couple of cameras with large lenses, and decided to head down to the Old Cedar Avenue Bridge portion of the refuge. While I was preparing to go out on the trail, bathing in bug repellent, a bird flew low across the pond adjacent to the parking lot and perched on a low lying branch. I grabbed my camera and got off a shot before he flew off across the pond again in search of more insects. Even though I never got a good look at its breast, which is where many of the flycatchers have their field markings, I believe that it was an eastern phoebe, because of the dark head, white chin and black beak.


HANNIBAL said...

Fantastic shots! Love them both! I'm guessing Phoebe too!

Leedra said...

I think Easter Phoebe too, although I have never seen one. Looks like my reference book. Great shot, the light is just right.