“There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night.” ― Albert Camus

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Raining Warblers (and a Vireo or two)

A small number of the hundreds of photos I took on 8/25/2021 at the water feature of 1410 in the Oakwood neighborhood of Albert Lea, Minnesota.





Yellow-throated Vireo










Spring Warbler migration progress can be monitored online by the satellite images. Fall is difficult to know exactly when they will come through, but I believe more consistent for us year to year. In Spring they seem to be in a nervous hurry to get to breeding grounds. Some years they catch a front and blow right over us. In Fall they seem maybe a little more laid back, just resting, feeding, moving on down the line to the tropics. Nothing  scientific, just a feeling I get watching them. 

- Gunnar

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

More Warblers From Yesterday.








Golden-winged Warblers

This is my favorite seasonal backyard Warbler. It is beautiful and becoming rarer. 😢Historically they nested in the Appalachians and northern tier states west into Minnesota. Now due to habitat loss and a complicated relationship with its cousin the Blue-winged Warbler, it nests primarily in northern Minnesota.  

If migrating birds can remember and return to the same local nesting location, maybe they remember the pit stops along the migration route. Maybe? For whatever reason, we have gotten them every Spring and Fall for a number of years. Yesterday they showed up right on schedule. A couple of rest days and they will be on their way again to Central America. 





Amazing 31oz bits of blood, bone, gristle and feather.

-  Gunnar

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Canada Warbler

 Lorna's cousin Fritz stopped over to drop off a bag of mixed prairie grass seed to help fill and anchor the garage back slope that I have been planting with small trees and shrubs. He is not a birder as such, but it hard to ignore a Redstart hopping about. Oh yeah, my first of season Chestnut-sided Warblers today too,

The real star was the male Canada Warbler ... and the Golden-winged Warbler! that showed up high but refused to come down after I spilled my beer all over my pants.  A Golden-Winged is reason to get up and go sit and wait tomorrow.








Be well, stay young,
Gunnar

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Still Waiting

... for the serious fall Warbler migration to arrive. Today, three repeats from the past few days - Nashville, Canada, Yellow.

I keep tweaking the water feature and planting perennials and trees. I have planted ten trees and shrubs this fall to date - one still in the pot for tomorrow if my 76 year-old back can cope. In the past year, an additional seven trees plus a number of small shrubs. Fruit, berries and nesting. Next Spring - more. I tend to plant far closer than "experts" recommend. I am not planting an orchard; I am planting habitat.



It isn't Eden ... yet, but if you shut your eyes real tight you can see it from here.
- Gunnar  

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Pardon the lighting. It was bright sunlight and they were in and out of the shadows. I honestly don't know s**t about actual photography and I was struggling. When I do get an occasional decent photo it is mostly due to really basic settings, location and those amazing Japanese photo engineers. 

So apologies aside, on to yesterday's pics. Still the usual suspects - I continue to look for Yellow-rumps and Redstarts, and anything more unusual - like Blue-winged and Golden-winged. Golden-winged Warblers are rare anywhere but Minnesota and there numbers are slipping here, so I appreciate my good fortune and try to be more diligent when they do show up. But not yesterday.









- Gunnar

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Yellow and Blackburnian Warblers

Mid to late afternoon the birds tend to relax and come to the water. First of season Blackburnian Warbler and two or three Yellow Warbler again today. The male hasn't shown in a week. I am really not easily able to tell the difference between females and first year birds, but I am betting these are young ones.

The Blackburian didn't find the water until late in the day. I'll be looking for him again tomorrow afternoon, but probably not three days in a row - he has miles, miles, miles to go before he rests in the South American Andes forests.




Saturday, August 14, 2021

Water Feature and Birds

Today:
Five Yellow Warblers, a couple of Tennesee Warblers, a Canada Warbler, and a Yellow-throated Vireo. 








Actually, the Yellows and Vireos could be local nesting birds, just resting, fueling up, and packing their bags for their long haul south.

- Gunnar