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Subject:Minnehaha meanderings: Black-crowned Night Heron, etc.
From:Heather Ilse <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Heather Ilse <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 15 Sep 2010 13:30:44 -0500

Greetings. I am brand new both to birding and to this list, but my 9-yo son
enthusiastically insists we contribute post-haste some of our recent
observations along Minnehaha Creek, so I am doing just that without having
had much of a chance to ground myself in the netiquette and scope of this
community. I'll begin with our sightings and then offer an introduction.

Yesterday (9/14/10) while bicycling the Minnehaha Creek trail, we spotted
some herons on a fallen log on the south side of the creek visible from the
pedestrian path between 28th Ave S and the bridge over the Lake Hiawatha
outlet. There were two Great Blue Herons along with one adult and one
juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron. We moved back and forth between the
bridges to observe them both in the water and in trees. At the time, we
didn't have our guides and had not identified the Night Herons. We were
mesmerized by the dark wings of the adult Night Heron, which appeared to us
as a shimmery (almost iridescent) emerald green. At first, my son thought it
was a green heron, so that's what we were calling it, and he was very
excited about its potential rareness. Later that evening, we paddled our
canoe from Lynhurst Park to Lake Hiawatha. We observed more Great Blues and
adult Night Herons at the beginning of our trip, and then at the end when we
spilled into Lake Hiawatha, we saw perhaps the same grouping of Great Blue,
adult and juvenile Black-crowned that we'd seen while bicycling earlier in
the day. Even though we've now read up on Night Herons and learned that
they're common, my son is still very excited about this sighting. We
certainly enjoyed watching them (and all the other creek/lake wildlife)!

Today, while driving east on 42nd Street, my son swears he saw an osprey fly
right over the car at the intersection of 28th Ave (flying toward Lake
Hiawatha). I didn't see the bird at all, so I'm not sure, but he really does
have a sharp eye and a knack for detail, so I wouldn't be surprised.

We are a homeschooling family in South Minneapolis just a couple blocks
north of Minnehaha Creek. My son's ornithology career began just a few
months ago with the purchase of the National Geographic guide during an
extended stay in Duluth. We now have tons of guides and birdsong audiobooks
out from the library, he's acquired an I-Flyer and several birding journals,
and he picks up bird calls and identifying marks lickety-split. We bike
along Minnehaha Creek up to three times per day to check up on a clan of
cedar waxwings nesting down by the LRT bridge just west of Longfellow
Gardens and to observe the ducks, geese, starlings, kingbirds, peregrine
falcons, nighthawks, etc.

We were thrilled to run into some folks with binoculars near Nokomis Ave
just a couple weeks ago. We learned from them about the warbler migration,
and they pointed us toward MOU and this list. (Ben...we'd love to see some
of your warbler photography if you have it posted online somewhere. Feel
free to get in touch offlist.)

I have bookmarked Dan Tallman's blog. I have chuckled at Thomas Maiello's
humor and ebullience. I have noted the Hawk Ridge weekend and am considering
a last-minute trip up there. I have perused Diana Doyle's warbler
observations and discovered we have an avid birder right in our
neighborhood. (Diana, feel free to contact me offlist if you'd like to meet
up at the creek sometime.)

Thank you for this resource. I'm not sure how long this birding bug will
stick, but I'm guessing we'll get much more out of this community in the
weeks and months to come.

In gratitude,
~Heather (and Ethan)

"You look so beautiful. I wish you could see what I see." ~Paul Hawken, 2006
Bioneers plenary

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