Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pelicans, Cows and Songbirds

We made another trip to Union Lake today via some back roads south of Hwy 19, where we heard and then located a Common Yellowthroat in full song at the top of a large dead tree. Dan Tallman did a blogpost on the Yellowthroat just the other day, which is well worth taking a look at for a better view of this black-masked, bright yellow warbler than the out-of-focus shot I was able to get at such a distance and for a description of its "witchity-witchity" song. [Addendum: Another Minnesota bird blogger/photographer, Richard of At The Water, also featured the Yellowthroat in a June 14 post. The bird is popping up everywhere!]

Nearby we saw a Song Sparrow throwing back its head and singing with all its heart. The spot on the chest is a good field mark for identifying this bird.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says:
[The Song Sparrow is] one of the first species you should suspect if you see a streaky sparrow in an open, shrubby, or wet area. If it perches on a low shrub, leans back, and sings a stuttering, clattering song, so much the better.
Soon after we'd left that area, as we drove west on Old Dutch Road, I saw a very small dark bird ahead of us on the road which turned out to be a life bird for me: an Indigo Bunting. They are not uncommon, I just haven't had the luck to see one before -- and I didn't see this one for long before it flew into the roadside shrubbery. Since the sky was overcast it didn't show the brilliant blue it is known for, but it was a solidly blue songbird -- good enough for the identification.

We saw dozens of pelicans on Union Lake. This formation flew close enough overhead that I could finally get a decent pelican photo.

After stopping for a Bobolink fix at our Bobolink-spotting place, we drove on and on a small, green-with-algae pond we saw a female Wood Duck with ducklings and some unaccompanied ducklings with a pair of Blue-winged Teals not far off that perhaps were overseeing from a distance. On the other side of the road, this group of cows was so photogenic I couldn't resist adding them to the day's photographic count.

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