Monday, November 28, 2011

                                             Sunset Nov. 28, 2011 out our kitchen window.

The next big cold front will probably push most of the remaining Tundra Swans off the Mississippi River.  We like to view the swans on pool #8 just south of Brownsville Minnesota and we try to visit about once a week beginning in early November.  The peak of around 25,000 on pool 8 seemed to be just over a week ago.  There is still time to see(and hear) this truly spectacular site.  If you do go to see the swans take the time to drive a little farther south to the town of New Albin Iowa and drive to the far eastern side of this small town.  There you will find a road that goes out into the Mississippi floodplain for about 1.5 miles.  There have been Sandhill Cranes in that area for several weeks now.

The Tundra swans are now beyond thier peak number of about 100,000 and are down below about 30,000.  It will not be long and most will have headed for the coastal water of the of the mid-atlantic coast to spend the winter.

The wine red male Purple Finches are enjoying their favorite dinner of sunflower seeds at our feeder.  The first ones arrived at our feeders on Oct. 26th and have been here of and on since then.

The female Purple Finches on the right do not show the wine red color, but they do have more streaked breasts than the male on the left.  The Purple finch is often confused with the similar House Finch but one easy way to tell the difference is to note the dark eye patch around the eye of the Purple Finches.

The Junco's (two on the left) and the Tree Sparrows have come down from up north to spend the rest of the winter with us until spring arrives. The Junco is sometimes refered to as the "snowbird".
Note the small centeral spot on the Tree Sparrows breast-that spot is the easy way to seperate this sparrow from the similar chipping sparrow(most of which have long ago headed south).