Spring Migration, It's On!

We have turned a corner winter wise up in Minnesota--I was up and at 'em early in the morning this weekend and I heard a robin singing on territory in my neighborhood!  I took the above photo of an American robin outside of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha on Sunday (that's roughly 80 miles south of me).  I was stationed at a binocular booth all day and it was a great vantage point for watching the birds use the Mississippi River as a major highway.  Saturday was bright and sunny and my biggest surprise was seeing a meadowlark zoom right overhead.

I love this photo of a bald eagle tucked behind some branches bursting with red buds about to pop.  That's spring!  It was crazy how migration really turned a corner this weekend.  The previous weekend I struggled to see a red-winged blackbird and I passed clouds and clouds of them on my way down.

Both days, on my drive down I saw several groups of hooded mergansers involved in courtship display in the backwaters of the Mississippi.  Speaking of hooded mergansers, have you seen the shots Picus Blog just posted--amazing!

While Saturday was beautiful and offered great views of spring birds (like the above robin), Sunday was cooler and drizzly which eventually turned to fog and was utter crap for getting photos.  You could still see migration working through the skies until the fog got so thick that we couldn't see across the river.  We would scan the skies with the scopes and watch strings and strings of tundra swans heading north as well as a whole host of other ducks like ring-necks, scaup and common mergansers.  I even got my first of year pelicans.

I'll be at the National Eagle Center one more time this month.  Next Sunday, I'll do a digiscoping workshop on how to take photos and video of birds and wildlife using a binoculars or spotting scope with a digital camera.  I think it starts at 11am.  I'll also have my pro cleaning kit if you would like me to tidy up your optics for you too.