Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Any guesses as to who built this nest? This is really a tough question. I wouldn't have any idea if I had not taken the photo. It will be identified at the end of this post.

I think the powerbook problem is almost resolved--my volume structure is no longer corrupt and there are some losses, but not as many as there could have been. I think Non Birding Bill has been able to recover almost all of my photos, I don't know if I will get back the osprey photos from yesterday, but we'll see.

Recent events have helped a great deal with this situation. Right before I went to Maine, my iPod went kerflooey. I got a replacement from the warranty last week and I had just hooked it up and synchronized it to iTunes so all of my music is backed up--whew.

My important files of articles, calendars and books were mostly backed up. I think some articles and MANY emails are totally lost. I'm a pack rat by nature and I think these periodic losses due to my not backing up files is necessary for me. Sometimes to generate new ideas, slates need to be wiped clean and force me to start from square one. If the idea had been that great in the first place, I would have gone to a greater effort to back it up.

We have been dealing with this problem since yesterday afternoon and were up well past Midnight trying to get it figured out. 1am is the worst time to hear--"I think everything is gone." Needless to say, it was a restless night of little to no sleep. Banding ended up being cancelled this morning so I took a small sidetrack to Dakota County to refocus.

I went to the substation on 210th Street to just take in the meadowlarks and dickcissels. I have to say we are having quite the dickcissel explosion in Minnesota this year--they are everywhere, even in the metro area. Kestrels were fledging and awkward juveniles were on just about every powerline.

At the substation I took walk and found lots of suspicious acting clay-colored sparrows. There are several small conifer trees for sparrows to nest in. I was following one sparrow and he led me right to the nest below. Can you tell what bird this is based on the naked chicks?

Okay, this one is a toughie too--it's a goldfinch. It was kind of funny, I watched the clay-colored be bopping around the bottom of a spruce tree, so I thought I would peek for a nest. I searched and search and then stood up, only to be face to face with a female goldfinch sitting on the nest. I don't know who was more surprised, her or me. She had to have known I was on hands and knees under the tree. After five seconds she gave one of her sad little warning chips and took off. Two males moved in--it's hard to take goldfinches seriously when they are scolding you with that sad sounding chip they make. Since she flew, I aimed my camera for inside the nest and found the four naked chicks. Well done little finch, well done.

On my way out, I did find a clay-colored sparrow nest--that is the photo at the top of the blog. It's not a very well woven nest, it was surprisingly loose. I aimed my camera and found...

...a cowbird! Blah.

I stuck my finger underneath it and found one unhatched egg. Poor clay-coloreds, all that work for a cowbird.

Back to more powerbook recovery. Thanks to everyone who kept their fingers crossed, it worked.