Friday, April 22, 2011

Hey, Hey, It's our B-Earthday!

Four years ago today I began this blog with a post that said:


Welcome to my new Ecobirder Blog

In honor of Earth Day 2007 I have started my first blog. The purpose of this blog will be to share my love of the environment, wildlife, and birding with others who share these interests.

A couple days later I posted my second post which included 3 pictures of a great horned owl nest that I was photographing at Wood Lake Nature Center. I had hoped to put these pics into my first post but I was very new to blogging and was still trying to figure things out. I wanted to start the blog on Earth Day, since the blog has a lot to do with the earth, nature and environment, so I decided to make an announcement post on Earth Day to start the blog and begin posting the pictures when I was ready.

I figured that for this B-Earthday we would invite a bunch of owls back to help us celebrate. I photographed this little eastern screech owl near Minnehaha Creek in south Minneapolis in December of 2009. I heard about the owl of the MOU list serve but it took me several trips before I finally found it out sunning on New Years Eve. I guess that proves what a nerd that I am, celebrating New Years Eve out freezing my butt off taking pics while everyone else is out getting ready to party.
2009 was a pretty good year for taking owls pics. While I was participating in the Redwing Christmas Bird Count in December of 2009 we decided to quit and head back up to the Twin Cities early. We had heard about a long-eared owl that had been spotted in a park in St Paul during the Bloomington count the week before so we decided to see if we could locate it. It took us a while but we did find the owl. Unfortunately dark comes early in December so the picture is not as good as I would have liked but you don't often get to be picky when it comes to owls.

In 2009 we took a side trip to Idaho during our Yellowstone vacation to participate in the first ever Snake River Birds of Prey Festival. Since we did not have much time, Yellowstone was calling, we only signed up for a field trip on borrowing owls. The field trip was great we had owls out in the field to photograph and even got to open up some man made burrows to check out burrowing owl chicks. Definitely one of the highlights of that year.

I have been fortunate over the years to be able to observe several great horned owl nests. A hawks nest that was taken over in Lakeville, MN has been the most productive for getting pics. Great horned owls have produced young in this nest in 2008,2009 and again this year. In 2009 they raised three young that began to branch, walking out on the branches before they can fly, in April.

So far 2011 has been a pretty good year for photographing owls also. Although I have had the opportunity to photograph northern saw-whet owls during the owl programs at Hawk Ridge over the years, I have not had the opportunity to photograph one that was not trapped for banding until this year. Back in February a saw-whet decided to perch, for a couple of days in someones back yard in Bloomington, MN. Fortunately the home owner was a birder and he got the word out about the owl in his back yard. A lot of people showed up over the next couple of days, myself included, to get some great photos

This year I made a couple of trips up to the Sax Zim Bog during the winter, as I do most every year. The first trip was for the first ever Brrrdathon that was held in January. As often happens in January in Minnesota the first day of the Brrrrdathon was complicated by a snow storm that dropped about six inches of snow in the area. Fortunately the next day, Saturday, the weather turned sunny and it was a great day to be about taking pictures of wildlife. Since I was spending one more night in a hotel in Duluth I stayed out in the bog until it got dark. I was rewarded when a pair of great grey owls began to hunt along the road at dusk. Since great grey owls are crepuscular, active at dusk and dawn, they can be tough to photograph.

In comparison northern hawk owls are diurnal so they are active during the day which makes them much easier to photograph. I saw northern hawk owls on both my trips up to the bog, as I have in most every year. I took this pic on my second trip at the beginning of March. This hawk owl seemed to be very used to people so it was not very nervous about my presence. As such I was able to get some really nice pics.

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So another year of blogging has come to an end and a new one begins. This is the 1502 post that I have done in the four year. I have managed to post every day for most of the past three years. I really hope that you have enjoyed coming here and have taken something away from my pictures and writings. If I manage to make it another year I will have to do something really special for my 5th B-Earthday. I have updated the slide show on my side bar, the old one was getting a bit tattered and frayed, and I hope that you enjoy it. I hope to see you all here over the next year and invite you to join in the big party one year from today.

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16 comments:

Nicole MacP said...

Lovely pics, the Saw-Whet picture is awesome! I always enjoy your posts and pics, happy blog-versary!!

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Happy B-Earthday - fab array of pictures of my favourite birds.

Best wishes for continued earthly posts!

forgetmenot said...

Such great shots of the owls. Your sunrise shot was just beautiful too, and I love your words. Mickie :)

Susan said...

1500+ posts on an almost daily basis!!! Congratulations!!! Your photography is great, your easy writing syle well worth the frequent visits I make. Thank You!

Lawstude said...

happiest birthday the best bird blog i know :)

cat said...

So many fantastic owl photos! Happy B-earthday!

Frank said...

Congrats on your 4th anniversary.

You have definitely acheived your initial goals and I enjoy seeing the wildlife and habitats through your eyes (even though I don't often leave a comment).

I'm sure you have inspired many a watcher over the years .. keep it going. Cheers FAB.

EG Wow said...

Congratulations for having blogged for four years! Your love for nature is indeed evident. :)

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Beautiful photos.

Crafty Gardener said...

Happy b'earth'day to your blog. Great owl photos.

Jidhu Jose said...

beautiful shots

BJ Roan said...

Happy B-Earthday. Very nice post to commemorate this special day. Love the sunset below, too.

Coy said...

Congrats on 4 years of blogging and thanks for sharing your amazing collection of owls.

Susan said...

What fantastic owl photos! Happy blogeversary! In my experience, owls are not easy to capture at all! I'm impressed!
I didn't know that Great-horned owls aren't cavity nesters. I had just addumed they were.
Thanks for sharing!

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Lakshmi said...

owls are my favourites..loved every pic