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.
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.