Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Hoary and Common Redpolls!
I flew to Minneapolis yesterday and then drove part way to Valley City, ND where I was hoping to see hoary and common redpolls this morning. I was up at 5:30 AM to cover the last 115 miles. It was still dark when I arrived in Valley City so I stopped at the Broken Spoke Cafe to have your basic eggs over-easy breakfast with bacon, hash browns and an english muffin.
I then called Jean Legge, the birder and woman who has the feeders, to get directions to her house. When I arrived about 8:15 she told me that the redpolls would come in about 9. While we waited, we watched her feeders thru her kitchen window (a great benefit since it was about 10 degrees outside, and the birds could not easily see us), and enjoyed a large group of american goldfinches, quite a few black-capped chickadees, 2 white-breasted nuthatches, 2 pine siskins, a couple of house sparrows, a hairy and a downy woodpecker, and 1 troublesome blue jay. Once he had his fill and flew off, the redpolls began to come in. There were only 2 at first, but as I was leaving a total of 5 appeared.
The top 2 photos were taken by Jean who has a better camera than mine. In the 1st you have a single hoary, and the next one has 3 commons feeding. The 3rd photo down is also of a common redpoll that I took while it snapped up seeds on the snow. The hoary mostly stayed away from the feeders, but I was able to study it and saw its very white back and rump, and its mostly white breast.
A little after 10 I hit the road to make it back to Minneapolis in time to fly to Texas in case the black-vented oriole that was seen there yesterday was relocated. As I arrived into Minneapolis I saw on Narba that after several hours of searching by at least 20 birders this morning the oriole was not found. So I decided to visit Matt's Bar (bottom photo of the grill man at work) to have my 3rd juicy lucy hamburger of this big year. It was as good as the first 2.
9 more new birds were seen for the week, and the hoary and common redpolls raise the YTD to 704. When asked last month about reaching 700 birds for the year, I said that the chances were "slim and none at all, and slim had just left town." Today not only is "slim back in town" he is sitting in the mayor's office with his feet up on the desk drinking a fine single malt scotch. I have added an updated travel map. It looks like I will be heading home early tomorrow morning. Stay tuned!