Monday, December 26, 2011


First saw this Great Horned Owl a little over a week ago and it was so light colored that from a distance I thought it may be a Snowy Owl-but once the ear tufts became apparent I knew it was a Great Horned Owl. Got these pictures today(Dec. 26, 2011) and it is by far the lightest colored Great Horned I have ever seen-it is also less spooky than most. There is a subspecies of this owl from the sub-arctic and after doing some research it appears that this is a Great Horned Owl that has migrated south form the sub arctic region.

Great Horned Owl -better picture. The wind was so strong that holding the camera still was difficult and the firstpicture is a bit fuzzy but does show the ear tufts better. I was about 20 ft from the owl when I took this picture.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Red-breasted Nuthatch spends its breeding season in the pine forests of Nothern Minnesota but often comes south later in the year. The earliest we have seen this species at our feeders is about Sept 1. Some years they will spend the whole winter here and leave as late as the last week in March. This year the first one showed up on Sept. 15 and has been here, off and on, ever since.
They feed on both sunflower seeds and suet.

This Nuthatch is with us all year long and often comes down the tree head first to get sunflower seeds from our feeder.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beaver dam in Forestvilles State Park. About 100 yards upstream from the picnic area in Forestville St. Park the Beaver have built a dam across the South Branch of the Root River. The dam has raised the river level about 3 feet and the river has frozen over behind the dam.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Northern Shrike hits our window. In spite of 8" by 8" grill grids to prevent this a N. Shrike was trying to make a meal of the Juncos feeding at our feeder. It did a fly thru of the Juncos on the ground, missed, lost concentration, and hit the window. It took about 1 hour but it did recover and fly off. This is the only songbird preditor and we often have them here during the winter. We have a plum thicket about 200 yards from the house and sometimes
find mice impaled on the plum thorns by the N. Shrike.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter has arrived in Fillmore County, Minnesota. Over the past 24 hours we got 5 heavy inches of new snow. This is the third year in a row that real winter has arrived on Dec. 3rd. The previous 3 winters have been tough-colder and snowier than normal-be interesting to see if the pattern holds.

The snow of Dec. 3, 2011 has pushed many of the local geese to the south today. While sking for the first time this year we had 5 high flying flocks of Canada Geese go by in just 1/2 hour-This is indeed the first real day of winter for S.E. Minnesota.