Friday Activities

Yesterday the nets were hopping at Carpenter. I took my friend Amber along and it seemed we were constantly checking the nets. The nets by the orchard were especially busy, every time I walked by there were at least six new birds in them. As I would be trying to get a vireo or flycatcher I could hear a large flock of robins, chirping as they watched our activity. Robins just seem a little scary this time of year as they lurk in bushes and trees quietly chirping to each other. They sound like they're planning something.

Of course the bird in the previous post was the back of a red-breasted nuthatch. Good call. I was just mentioning that it's August and we should start seeing red-breasteds in the Twin Cities.

Last December in Arkansas, one of the men on my search team did studies on mixed flocks of birds for his graduate project. His research showed that in a mixed flock of downy woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches and red-breasted nuthaches, the the red-breasted were the most aggressive and the Sam Jacksons of the flock. Nobody messed with them. So tiny, so cute, so aggressive.

Here's a male downy woodpecker that we got in. You just don't see them head on like this, since they're normally facing a tree. We also got in a couple of other interesting birds, which I am saving for a photo quiz later.

I survived KTIS and was on very good behavior. Last night I had a message on my cell phone from the guest host Steve Moore that the producers at the station were a little wary about a bird watcher filling a whole hour on the show. Is birding really that exciting? How could they have thought that? Of course birding is exciting and I apparently surprised them and they may have me back on again. That would be fun.

Last night we were having dinner and a drink with a friend at Herkimer in Uptown. Outdoor seating is a premium in the Twin Cities--enjoy the outdoors while we can. As we were sitting outside, we could see nighthawks kettling up for migration. I would excitedly point them out and at first the surrounding people thought I'd had too much to drink but would look up and see the flocks. The second kettle quickly headed south but a third formed and then got so high you could barely see the specks in formation...the third one looked to be heading north instead of south like the first two kettles, but I'm sure the nighthawks figured it out.