Fall Transitions

Watch out, Buckeyes! I'm coming to Bellville, Ohio next month! On October 18, I'll be giving a presentation on how to start your own nature blog for the Audubon Ohio State Assembly. It would be fun if we could work out a Birds and Beers there. Suggestions anyone? Non Birding Bill is coming to Ohio with me ( but wants to make it clear that he will not be participating in any birding). His family lives in nearby Mansfield, so I'll get to visit the in laws as well...and enjoy some of the frightening dolls of small town Ohio. Oh hai, and for my Mom, here is an article about the assembly. I'm actually really excited about this, Kim Kaufman and Jim McCormack are leading field trips on the October 19th and I'm hoping to tag along.

Boy howdy, I need to be careful about going out with librarians on a Tuesday night for dinner and drinks. I have a librarian friend who is...your fantasy librarian you would see in 80's music videos. Business by day (glasses and smart clothes) but in the evening, the pencil comes out of the bun, the hair falls, the glasses disappear and well, you find yourself a tad hungover on a Wednesday morning. So, I did some light Wednesday morning digiscoping. The above great blue heron perched on the wood duck box somewhat mirrored my state of mind.

I found it interesting that after a few minutes, the great blue heron went to sleep, above the reeds, out in the open. I wondered if this bird had migrated in the night before from Canada or northern Minnesota and was just that exhausted. Migration is going in full force. Yesterday while workin' on my fitness on the bike trails, I realized that this was the first day I did not see any swallows along the trail. Come to think of it, I didn't see any while out birding, they have moved south.

But other birds were moving in. I heard the chip notes of white-throated sparrows and sure enough, I found a pair hidden in some trees. This is sort of that denial time of late summer early autumn in the Twin Cities. It's still fairly warm, lots of insects are making sounds: katydids, cicadas, crickets, but key birds are gone like the swalllows and migrants are pushing through--warbler waves are hidden in the tops of many trees. Even as I type this, I can hear yellow-rumped warblers making their chip notes in the trees outside my apartment. In another month or two, the trees will be silent. Sigh.

Lots of young birds were learning the ways of the flocks, like this young cedar waxwing. You can tell this is a bird that was hatched this summer by the vertical stripes down the breast--that's one way we tell immature from adult raptors. Immatures tend to have vertical striping, adults tend to have horizontal (or no) striping.

Anyone else noticing fall transitions out there?

Oh, and for international birders who read the blog, did anyone see this photo over at Cute Overload? Some of their readers suggested it was a red-tailed hawk--which I know for sure it is not a red-tail. Is this a snake-eagle? Anyone want to hazard a guess?