And now I'm home and can write about yesterday's trip!
7:00 is really freakin' early on a Saturday morning! But I was all bundled up and ready to go down at the Staring Lake Outdoor Center in Eden Prairie. Our drivers and guides for the trip were the lovely and charming Birdchick, aka Sharon, and the very cool nature uberguru Stan Tekiela. And, of course, you know Moose tagged along on the trip!
Our first stop to see birds was the Hedbom Forest Road just outside of Floodwood. We saw a ton of cool birds in there. Then we headed toward Duluth so we could get a look at the Hawk Owl that had been hanging out there.
(The Hedbom link will take you to a webpage where local guide Mike Hendrickson has posted a map of the logging road. The map is © 1996-2004 Microsoft Corp. and/or its suppliers. © 2003 by Geographic Data Technology, Inc and © 2004 NAVTEQ with the birding notations © 2006 Mike Hendrickson.)
The cool birds I got to see that I hadn't seen before were:
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Northern Hawk Owl
We also saw Crows, Ravens, and a Pileated Woodpecker.
We spent a good part of the day on the road so it was a good thing we had excellent company. Birdchick was driving the van and there was also a really cool woman named Lynne in our van. We ate chocolate and talked the whole day.
We also went out for dinner at Outback after we got back, along with another of the women who had been on the trip. It's a good thing when you can be trapped in a vehicle for so long with people and still want to go to dinner together. Our dinner conversation included such appetizing subjects as injuries brought into the trauma center, diseases, and turkey vulture vomit.
Since I don't have binoculars Birdchick let me use one of the Swarovski pairs that she'd just received from them last week. I also had the 400mm lens that I'd rented with me. At the end of the day I asked Birdchick how much that pair of Swarovski's would run me to buy. $1800! Damn! Between that and the lens and camera I had over $3500 hanging around my neck!
And now for pictures:
The Three-toed Woodpecker (male)
Lookit that cute little yellow patch on his head!
I am in love with this lens! Here's how nice I could zoom in on the bird up in a tree:
And the picture is sharp enough that I can zoom in this much and it's still pretty damn clear:
I was also able to get some good pics of the Black-backed Woodpecker:
And here are a couple shots of the Hawk Owl: