Birds actually showed up to Birds and Beers! For those new to this site, Birds and Beers is an informal gathering of birders of all abilities. Normally, we meet at a pub and talk some birds. This time, we decided to take it on the trail to a park to gather for some socializing and then watch woodcocks. As we had our little tailgate party going in the parking lot of the park, this pair of mallards waddled over in the parking lot to join in the fun. I think they sensed chips and crackers (and a few bird suckers). They were welcomed with open arms.
The original plan with this Birds and Beers was to tailgate a bit at Lebanon Hills Regional Park until the sunset, then we were going to look for woodcocks. All went according to plan--it got dark and the woodcocks started to do their "peent"...for about two minutes then they abruptly stopped singing, never to be heard for the rest of the night! We heard some other birds including wild turkey, great horned owl and barred owl, but the woodcocks...they totally teased and ditched us. I felt bad, this was a life bird for some in the group. However, with birding, that's the way it sometimes crumbles, cookie-wise.
But, Birds and Beers regular and all around good egg, Linda Whyte has suggested that we use this coming Wednesday's rain date for Birds and Beers to go to Cliff Fen in Burnsville and try for woodcocks there. Which I think is a capital idea. She emailed me directions and a map!
Cliff Fen Park is just east of the 35W bridge, on the south side of the river, and you access Cliff Road East from Highway 13 or Cliff Road W directly from the 35W exit and Frontage road just south of the river.
Once in the lot, you walk along a dirt drive/path at the edge of the adjacent ballpark, passing close by some small cinder block buildings, and find a brown wooden sign with information about the Scientific and Natural Area. This marks the entrance to the path that crosses the tracks, and there is no other trail through the area. The trail will lead past a pair of power stanchions, just after which we should find a likely open patch to do a stake-out.
So, we're going to try again for the woodcocks on Wednesday, April 29 and this time we'll meet at about 8pm. If it's raining, it will be cancelled.
Now, there is one small snafu that could happen. I might not be there. I just got word that our bees are supposed to arrive any time this week. If I get the call that our bees arrive on Wednesday, then I will have to go out and hive the packages--must get them installed in their new home right away. But Linda and the rest of the gang will be there. Who knows, maybe my absence will insure that the woodcocks will put on a great show?
If you can't make this Birds and Beers, we are planning another one before I go to Kazakhstan either May 7 or 8 at Coon Rapids. As soon as I get the details worked out, I'll post them in the blog and on the Facebook Twin Cities Birding Group.
I have to say that I really enjoyed the tailgate end of the Birds and Beers this time. It was fun to gather and laugh while doing some light birding. It fit well with the theme that Birds and Beers is an informal get together for other birders to meet...and this time have birds join the party.