After all the exotics in Texas, I was kind of jonesing to spend some time watching the usual suspects around Minnesota feeding stations. I'm dealing with a minor mouse issue in our apartment, so I've let my own feeders go empty. We headed to Mr. Neil's yesterday and his feeders have also gone empty because of a minor chipmunk issue. When I had been there about three weeks ago, the woods were chock full of activity with pine siskins, purple finches, juncos, and the other expected species. Yesterday, it was eerily silent...except for the non stop booming of rifles of deer season. I filled the feeders and gradual activity resumed, but not in time for photos. All of the images in this blog entry came from a quick stop at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge this morning.
The visitor center is closed on Mondays, but you can still watch the feeders from outside, as well as take the trails. I'm not sure if it was because it was Monday and things were closed, but they only had their platform feeders out (not the super cool peanut feeder they had up last winter) and the platform feeder was empty--note the disappointed nuthatch above.
But fortunately, I'm the kind of crazy person who keeps a bag of bird seed in the car just for such an occasion--note the shocked look of the nuthatch in the above photo. So, I grabbed the mug from my car's emergency kit and tossed some seed into the feeders.
Chickadees came out of the woodwork--zipping in all over. I love that point at a feeding station when birds are coming from all directions and you don't know where to look next, it's just a constant flow of a activity. At one point, every time I took a photo with my digital camera through the scope, the image that came up would be a different bird: chickadee, nuthatch, two chickadees, downy woodpecker, nuthatch, chickadee.
Look--bookend chickadees! I really needed the relaxation, I'm getting edgy about travel this coming weekend. We normally stay home and Non Birding Bill have our little Naked Thanksgiving, avoiding all the holiday cranky and cramped travel. But, we're doing the Disapproving Rabbits book signing at Big Hat Books on Saturday at 4pm. So, we'll have Thursday for our celebration, but Friday we drive to Indianapolis--and there's supposed to be a storm in the Midwest--including Indiana. But I'm looking forward to meeting the folks form the Indian House Rabbit Society who will be at the signing.
Now the black-capped chickadees are facing out at the same time--perhaps this is a little Tomax & Xamot action going on?
So, here's a video of all the bird action going on, just at this small corner of the feeder. You can hears some goldfinches chipping the back ground. Not long after I took the video, a northern shrike flew in (it didn't stick around long enough for the photo) but I have to say that I have seen so many shrikes this fall, I think this is the most I've seen this time of year, so keep your eyes open around the feeders.