Monday, April 6, 2009

My World: Maplewood Nature Center

Now that it is April it will not be long before the spring migration reaches Minnesota. Already migrating waterfowl have begun to move into the area and soon they will be followed by waders, raptors, songbirds and the rest.
I am looking forward to getting out to some of my favorite spots and actually getting to see a variety of bird life. One of those spots is the Maplewood Nature Center.
The Maplewood Nature Center is not very large, but it does have some really nice ponds that attract migrating and resident waterfowl.
One of the first ducks to return to the area, other then mallards who stay here year round, are the wood ducks. I have already begun to see wood ducks at several area ponds stacking out their territory.
One of birds that I frequently saw on the ponds of MCC last summer were green herons.
It is fun to watch green herons foraging through the shallow water and thick vegetation looking for small fish and invertebrates.
They slowly wade through the water their heads down and eyes on the water and when they find some prey they strike quickly with their long beak.
Sometimes you see them just sitting motionless at the waters edge waiting for an unwary prey to swim by.
There is also a small tree island in the main pond that was one of the best places that I visited last year to find fly catching birds.
The eastern phoebe is one of the most common flycatchers that we
see in Minnesota.
Another frequent visitor during the summer is the eastern kingbird.
They may not be as bright as their cousins the western kingbird, which are black and yellow, but they have a great personality.
The most exciting flycatcher that I saw at Maplewood was the olive-sided flycatcher. Since we are just at the southern edges of their summer range we do not always see these birds during August, when picture was taken.
It is fun to watch them take off from where they are perched at the top of a tree and do intricate maneuvers in the air. At first you are not sure why they be making acrobatic moves while they fly but when they land if you look closely you will probably see a fly, dragonfly or bee trapped in their beak.


erin said...

enjoyed reading...and of course i loved all the photos.
have a wonderful day.

FAB said...

A very interesting time of the year when we wait, sometimes not too patiently, for our visitors to arrive. Look forward to watching what you see this year. Thanks for keeping me interested in your wildlife. Cheers Frank

Louise said...

That little wood duck is the sweetest thing! I like all the fly-catching birds, too. Terrific post!

SandyCarlson said...

Thank you for introducing me to these birds by way of your camera. They are beautiful. That must be quite a nature center.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post! great shots.

Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful week.
Mary Elizabeth Now and Then.

Carver said...

What a wonderful place to photograph birds. I enjoyed this sequence.

Martha Z said...

Nice birds. Here in California they are searching for nest material, I suspect it will be a few more weeks where you are.

Anonymous said...

While your spring arrives, summer is already showing down here in FL.
Wonderful detailed shots, I'm of course partial to the Green Heron! :)

Cheers, Klaus

Sylvia K said...

Love your beautiful shots! Being able to see the birds up close is marvelous! Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

Jane Hards Photography said...

Each week, so many new birds for me I can't contain myself. We got a redpole today. Believe me that is exciting here.

Janie said...

Beautiful bird photos, as always. I'm learning to identify birds from your pictures!

Guy D said...

Fantastic photos of the birds, looks like a fantastic place to photograph, beautiful.

Have a great week!
Regina In Pictures

2sweetnsaxy said...

What wonderful shots! I can't wait until the day I can swing for a camera with a lens that will let me zoom in on a bird like that. One of these days. In the meantime I'll just admire yours with envy. :-)

Arija said...

Your world is alwys full of wonderful birds.

Ebie said...

I admire your photographic skills, the details of each bird are just magnificent.

Kathie Brown said...

Well, I love your world! It looks like a great place to visit! Awesome pics of all the flycatchers!

Reader Wil said...

Dear me! You sure know a lot of birds! Very nice post! Thanks for sharing!

Rob Ripma said...

All of your shots are great! It is always fun to watch Green Herons hunt!