I knew it would be a perfect day to do some birding--especially trying to find some new sparrows. So after a little lunch, I loaded all my gear into the car, and in my best "GPS voice," instructed Mr. Johnson when to turn right and left to get us to the optimum birding areas. Our first stop was a little pond where we found a snapping turtle a couple weeks ago. I got out and started focusing my binocs around the edges of the pond, hoping to see something, but never expecting to see this......A juvenile Green Heron! WOW!! Lifer!! It was way over on the other side of the pond so this isn't the best picture, but based on the size of the bird (as big as a crow), I'm checking Green Heron off my list.
As we continued, we saw this small herd of cattle relaxing in a pasture right next to the road.....not birds, but pretty darn cute nevertheless. I call them Ebony & Ivory!
My GPS voice then directed Mr. Johnson over to "Prairie Woodlands," an upscale housing subdivision in rural SW Rochester. This is a very cool bird area as there are large, undisturbed grasslands (I think they're lots for homes, but the lot prices are so high that most of them haven't been sold or developed yet). We heard several Clay-Colored Sparrows out here, and also saw flocks of Bobolinks--males and females, and possibly juveniles.
As we were leaving this area, I spotted this Sedge Wren singing loudly from the road ditch.
I saw one of the these little wrens on my trip to North Dakota in June, but I've never seen one here in Minnesota. What a great little singer this bird was and there were several more in the grassy field beyond.
We took one more familiar backroad on our homeward journey--still seeking sparrows and once again discovering the unexpected......can you tell what it is?
How about now?
Earlier this spring, we discovered there was a new vineyard and winery out here in the country: Salem Glen Vineyard and Winery. They have all kinds of different grapes growing here and also huge patches of rhubarb used for their wine. I wonder if they know about the fawns wandering through their vineyard in the middle of the day? It looked as though these little deer were feasting on clover or grass on the ground and didn't appear to be munching on the grape plants.
What a great afternoon! Even though I didn't see any new sparrows to check off my Minnesota list, we did see lots of other neat things and enjoyed a fun afternoon together. The trip lasted about 2 hours and consumed 1 gallon of gas (approximately 25 miles).