Monday, March 23, 2009

My World: Whitewater State Park

Spring is here and the weather, at least here in Minnesota, has been cooperating so far this year. Many birds are beginning to migrate back in or through the area so on weekends, when the weather is nice, I have been heading south.
One location that I have been visiting frequently on my trips lately is Whitewater State Park. Since I first visited whitewater back in January, during the Golden Eagle Survey, I have been looking forward to birding the park once the ice on all of the pools and ponds melted. Much of the ice has melted and some waterfowl has made its way to the park, I saw shovelers and ring necked ducks for the first time this weekend, but it will still take a bit more time before everything is thawed out.
Even though many parts of the park are still frozen, I have always found a lot of activity up at the visitors center. With several feeders, a small pond and lots of cover the back of the visitors center attracts many birds.
There are several tube type of feeders that attract many different types of small passerines.
The American goldfinch is a common visitor to the feeders. Right now the males are in the middle of molting into their breeding plumage. You can see on this one how the head has begun to turn that bright yellow that they get during breeding but the belly is still pretty plain.
Another bird that I saw a lot of earlier in the year was the purple finch. Sometimes it was difficult to ID these birds because there were also some of the similar looking house finch at the feeders but unlike most locations that I have visited the purple finch actually always outnumbered the more common house finch down at Whitewater.
Another visitor that I was always happy to see was the pine siskin. This year was a good year for pine siskins but Whitewater always seemed to have more then its share. Even after the other northern species have headed north, there were still pine siskin down at Whitewater this weekend.
Not all the birds feed at tube feeders though. There are several platform feeders and excess seed on the ground for birds like dark eyed juncos.
Spilt seed also helps to feed some of the local mammals, such as deer, opossums, and grey and red squirrels.
If you are looking for a little more exercise, there are several trails around the visitors center that lead into the woods, down to the river, or over to the campgrounds.
While you are walking the trails keep your eyes, and ears, open for a variety of woodland birds that can be found in the trees around the path. Birds like American robin, northern cardinal, bluejays and a variety of woodpeckers can be found here.

20 comments:

Louise said...

Great bird photos! I think I need a platform feeder!

kjpweb said...

Sweet Bird shots!
All about birds today! :)
Cheers, Klaus

ewok1993 said...

Oh my goodness, what lovely birds with glorious colors. Thanks for showing us this.

Sylvia K said...

What fabulous shots of these beautiful birds! Oh, they are so lovely! and beautiful colors! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised but we have the same birds her north of Toronto. The pine siskins were in HUGE numbers this year and VERY greedy.

Tranquility said...

Those are beautiful! The Goldfinch has such an interesting beak - it looks metalic!

Carver said...

Great shots of the birds and squirrel. Also looks like a very interesting place to visit. I enjoyed this post.

Denise said...

Sounds like a birder's paradise. Great photos and I always enjoy your posts. Thank you.

SandyCarlson said...

Signs of a healthy world, I hope! These birds are gorgeous.

Barb said...

What a bonanza of birds. Thanks for sharing - great pictures.

madcobug said...

Great shots of some beautiful birds, Helen

Now and Then said...

Beautiful snaps of those birds.

Mary Elizabeth

Babooshka said...

Yout goldfinches are very different to ours. ID of birds can be a nightmare, especially when it comes to birds like warblers. Cardinals and bluejays to you are so common to be exotic.

Janie said...

Thanks for the tour. You captured so many beautiful birds in your photos, giving information about them at the same time. Nice job.

Lawstude said...

Lovely bird shots. They seem to pose for you. How did you do that? It takes patience really to have those shots. Great job.

allhorsestuff said...

What a great place to be !I absolutely love the Goldfinches...the way they hang to eat and the songs they sing!
Nice post!

Erin said...

as always...love your post and photos always just so nice.
have a wonderful week.

Jenn said...

Lovely bird shots and that squirrel is the cutest!

2sweetnsaxy said...

Your photos are amazing. The assortment of birds and their colors is beautiful. I can see why you go here.

Diana said...

I would be in HEAVEN there!!! I have always been a Bird watcher, thanks to my Dad teaching me about them when I was a child..I just love your blog!!