Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Note from Mom & Some Birding

Here's a note my mom asked me to pass along to all my blogging friends:

Thank you all for all your good wishes and especially all the prayers you sent my way after my knee surgery. I got home Mon PM and I'm faithfully doing my exercises so I can have a complete recovery. The best part of celebrating your birthday in the hospital, you can eat in bed and everyone is at your beck and call.
MOM (Betty)

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This afternoon I had to return a couple books to the public library and I told my spousal unit that I was planning to take a detour on the way home and stop at the reservoir to try and see some waterfowl before it started raining again.

This reservoir is a man-made lake and part of Rochester's flood control project. It used to be a really nice wild area, but now McMansions have been built on 2 sides and another new development has been proposed for a third side.

However, being the only fairly large body of water in southern Olmsted County, there is always a chance for a person to see some good birds there. I haven't been faithful about going over there, even though it's only about 2 miles from my house.

I know it's late in the season, but I took my binoculars, camera, and "Ducks & Geese" field guide to see if there was anything worthwhile for watching and maybe getting a picture of.

Right away after I got out of the car, I saw a pair of Pied-Bill Grebes. I recognized the body shape but had to look in the book to confirm their identity. I've never seen these birds before and was so engrossed in trying to identify them that I completely forgot to take a picture!

As I was walking down the path to the little pier out in the water, I spotted an adult Double-Crested Cormorant flying overhead. That was pretty cool.

Far out in the water, I could see another bird swimming. My binoculars showed me a bird sitting low in the water with a long skinny neck and long yellow beak. My first thought was some sort of grebe, but I couldn't get a good enough look to really determine what grebe species it might be. The bird swam around for a while until it finally made its way over to a partially submerged log and then hopped on top.

Looking through binoculars again, I immediately recognized this wing-drying posture. Could it possibly be another cormorant?

I opened up the field guide and sure enough, the bird I was seeing looked exactly like the picture of a juvenile Double-Breasted Cormorant. My field guide says they're a summer resident in most of Minnesota. I wonder if the adult bird I had seen earlier was one of its parents?

It started raining about 10 minutes after I got out of the car, so I decided to make my way home. As I was leaving the parking area, I noticed this male bluebird sitting on top of a streetlight. Such a gray can't even really tell that he's very blue.


Larry said...

The only time that I saw Grebes was when an ace birder took me out to see them during a list building event called big january.-I saw somany birds that day, I don't even remember what the grebe looked like.-Glad you had some success

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
They're kind of similar in size and shape to the Coot. I knew it wasn't a Coot (wrong color) but I started looking in that section of the field guide and found it a few pages away.

Lynne said...

Nice photo of the cormorant Ruthie! You never know what you'll find when you have a little get-away!

Lynne said...

I'm glad you're home and recovering well.

Ruth said...

Happy to hear your mom is doing well. She is likely the type of patient I would enjoy. I will send you some more Cormorants if you send me some Bluebirds. I have seen flocks of 100s of cormorants on our lakes and fishermen would like to cull them. I have yet to see a BB.

Mary said...

Hi Ruthie's Mom! Glad you are home and on the mend.

Ruthie, all would-be lifers for me... :o/

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lynne,
I was glad I went out there--even if it was a very short time.

Hi Ruth,
Mom is a good patient. She goes back for a check-up next week and isn't looking forward to having all those staples removed from her leg.

I'm surprised to still be seeing and hearing bluebirds, but I guess that's a result of our warm weather staying around so long this year--there are still a lot of insects around.

We have the same problem with cormorants here in Minnesota. If I remember correctly, they took some people into some of the bigger lakes last year and shot bunches of the cormorants. I'm not sure what a good solution is, but I sure don't agree with shooting them!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
I hope when your lakes fill back up again you will see grebes & cormorants too.

Maud said...

Great pictures once again, and always as fun to see for me new birds.

Mary C said...

I'm so glad to hear your mom, Betty, is on the mend. We will continue to keep her in our prayers for a full recovery. I'm so glad, Ruthie, you saw some cormorants and grebes. I guess they are quite common around here. I think they are common around where your brother lives, too.

mon@rch said...

Looks a bit like a Cormorant to me also! Looks like a great time and great to hear from you mom!

Jayne said...

So glad to hear your mom is doing well post-op. :c)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Maud,
Thank you. I suppose you're knitting activity has slowed down with the arrival of the new puppy in your household?

Hi Mary C,
Thanks from me and my mom. I thought of you also was I saw those cormorants. My brother has now moved to Robbins, CA and is in a much more rural/agricultural area. He's seeing LOTS more birds and sent me a note last week about the owls, hawks, egrets and herons in the neighborhood.

Hi Mon@rch,
I sure wasn't thinking cormorant when I saw it swimming. I would have thought those guys would have all flown south by now, but I guess our warm fall temps are keeping them around longer.

Hi Jayne,
I talked to Mom again yesterday and she sounded pretty good--not looking forward to getting those staples pulled out next week though!

Trixie said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Betty! I am glad you got waited on hand and foot, just too bad it had to be in the hospital.

I love the pose of the cormorant. It makes me want to stretch and open my shoulder girdle and chest. Now, breathe!