Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sparky's feeders

I continued watching for Partridges all the way until the ag fields faded, and the Nemesis rating held on. I had called Sparky around nine and as agreed called again on the Interstate approaching Duluth. We met at a casino, after I parked in the wrong place, quickly sorted out. Didn’t take long to decide that the wind and now snow made for lousy birding, so I followed Sparky to the house he’d built in the woods. Moved a few items in, and started bird talk. We’d met two years ago in the Everglades, and maintained contact by email. Sparky is a good enough birder to be a trip leader for the American Birding Association Annual Meeting, and a good wildlife photographer as well. I’ll be using some of his pics in the blog.

While watching the birds on his feeders as I sorted myself out he says, “There’s a Shrike”. I jumped. About twenty-five feet away was a Northern Shrike, no need for binocs. Much different, paler and bigger than the Loggerheads we have in Arkansas, and the second lifer for today, and hardly a better view possible Sparky agreed.

Sparky has had a number of good birds at his feeders, including a Great Gray Owl, Barred Owls, and Northern Saw-Whet Owls. I didn't see any of those there, but did see my first Brown Creeper in Minnesota, a cute little brown bird that has stirred affection in a lot of birders.


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