The pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker species in North America. That is if the ivory-billed woodpecker is extinct. This crow sized woodpecker bores rectangular holes into trees and other wood in search of ants and other insects. The holes that they create are so large that they often attract other woodpeckers and birds that feed of insect or use the space as a nesting cavity. They are found through out the eastern half of the United States, southern Canada, and the west coast of the United States. They are not migratory so they stay on their breeding territory all year long.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
The best place that I found for photographing migrating waterfowl was Lake Hiawatha. This lake in south Minneapolis is one of several that is fed from Minnehaha creak. Since it is smaller then many of the other lakes around, it is usually where the ice melts first. This open water attracts migrating waterfowl who stop to feed on fish from the lake including northern pike, walleye and large mouthed bass. In 1922 when the lake property was purchased by the City of Minneapolis, Lake Hiawatha was just a swamp but the city transformed it over a number of years into a beautiful lake surrounded by a park and golf course. This year the lake had a number of common loons which is not uncommon but there was also a number of horned grebe in their breeding plumage. I took advantage of the rare opportunity to get a lot of horned grebe pics before they head up to their breeding grounds up in Canada. I also spotted bufflehead, common, hooded, and red-breasted mergansers, pied-billed grebe and numerous species of ducks. There was also a few eagles that circled above the lake for a few minutes and osprey diving into the lake after fish.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Our winter storm warning at the beginning of the week was not as bad ad they were predicting but we still got a couple inches of fresh snow. I went out with my camera the next day to get some pictures of the snow which was clinging to just about everything. A couple of days later most of the snow is gone.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Today, April 22, is Earth Day. It's a special day where we show our appreciation for the natural world and are more aware of the things that we need to do to preserve it.On Earth Day 2007 I began the Ecobirder Blog. During the past six years there have been good times and bad times, there have been days where I could not wait to share pictures and posts and days where it took almost every thing that I had to write a post for the day. During all this time many of you have visited often and left comments and encouragements for which I would like to thank you. With out you this blog would not be here. It has become kind of a tradition to share pics from the calendars that I make each year on this special day. So keeping with tradion here are the pictures from the 2013 Ecobirder Calendar.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO
Ferruginous pygmy owl San Miguelito Ranch, Tx
Altamira oriole at Bentsen State Park, Tx
Sandhill crane colt Necedah NWR, Wi
Western grebe Bosque del Apache, NM
Cabbage white butterfly River Bend Nature Center, MN
Red-headed woodpeckers Necedah NWR, Wi.
Pied-billed grebe Crex Meadows, Wi
Black Bear Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary, MN
Gulf Fritillary Santa Ana NWR, Texas.
Sandhill cranes Boque del Apache, MN
Northern Saw-whet owl Dodge Nature Center, MN
Thanks for a great year!
Sunday, April 21, 2013
At first glance this may appear to be two pictures of monarch butterflies. However these are actually pictures of two different butterfly species. In fact these two species are not even in the same genus. The photo above is of a viceroy butterfly, Genus Lemenitis, while the one below is a monarch, Genus Danaus.
Besides the fact that they look similar these two butterflies have very little in common. Both are members of the Nymphalidae , or brushfoot, family, but many species are brushfoot butterflies. The monarch butterfly is what is commonly referred to as a milkweed butterfly. These are species that eat milkweed during their larval stage making them toxic to many predators. Some people believe that the viceroy may be avoided by predators because of its resemblance to the monarch. However it has been proven that the viceroy may itself possess acids that make them taste bitter, which helps keep them from being eaten. Perhaps they are both orange as a warning to anything that is hungry and does not know any better.