Friday, January 3, 2014

First Birds of the Year

Snowy Owl
 I have never been much of a bird lister. My pictures are basically my bird list, but this year I am thinking of trying something new. I am going to try and post any new bird species that I photograph each week and then at this time next year I will be able to look back and count the number of species that I have seen throughout the year.
Long-tailed Duck
So I started 2014 off with a bang. I did not get out on the first but I spent most of the day Friday running around Dakota County, where I live. With the cold front that hit this past weekend we have a good influx of snowy owls (top). Snowy owls are usually found around the arctic circle but in years where there is a lack of food or they have a productive breeding year owl migrate south into southern Canada and the US. The northeast US has been experiencing a snowy invasion for a while now but it started out kind of slow here and just kicked in the past week. I found 4 different owls yesterday and it is estimated that we could have 7 or more just in this area. My second bird is another arctic visitor. The long-tailed ducks breed in pretty much the same range as the snowies do. Most long-tailed ducks migrate to the east or west coast of the US during the winter. For the past few years though we have had one or two that winter at the confluence of the St Croix and Mississippi Rivers. The water there usually stays open unless it gets really cold and the long-tailed duck usually join with flocks of other diving ducks, such as common goldeneye and mergansers, and fish the icy water. I hope that my next set of birds is this good but it is going to be hard to beat this pair.  




13 comments:

The happy wanderer. said...

Sounds like a good personal challenge, and an interesting one for other bloggers to see.

The happy wanderer. said...

I meant to add, what a great pair to start with!

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi. Now that is a great challenge for you and your fist 2 are wonderful. For me it was lovely that you had the LT duck on as today I will be featuring it on my blog. I found 2 in a place in Northern Ireland that they had never visited and I was so pleased although we usually get about 5 visit another county but far out at see. You might like to have a look at my blog today as I have quite a bit of information about the LT duck.

troutbirder said...

A great start to the year indeed!

Steve Borichevsky said...

Great Snowy. We had one in our "front yard" yesterday. That was a first for me. There are quite a few reports here in Mass.

Anni said...

Lucky, lucky you!!! To have these beauties so near to you so you can spot them and get wonderful photos.

Y'know, while I check Texas Birds and Sightings each day to see if there are 'new' birds in my area, someone posted they spotted a Long Tailed Duck...but I think that was farther north near Austin.

I'm so jealous. And I can't wait for the end of the year to see how many different ones you get to 'tally' up.

Christian Weiß said...

Looks like a good start into the new year.

EG CameraGirl said...

How nice to see the Snowy Owl. I saw a couple at the end of 2013 but have not seen one yet in 2014! Lucky you!

HansHB said...

A great photo!
Well done!

Karen said...

Awesome owl!

retriever said...

Lovely shots

Gemma Wiseman said...

The snowy would be an amazing visitor in your world. Quite a chunky character - but perhaps that's all the feathers dealing with the cold. And the long tailed duck is a cute one.

Dave said...

Great personal challenge, Looking forward to the posts already..... however Snowy Owl!!!!! you jammy so and so, what a great start