Sunday, August 16, 2009

Birders Who Blog, Tweet & Chirp Event

Saturday, August 15th marked the first Minnesota gathering of Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp, and I was thrilled to be a part of this inaugural celebration of all things birdy. The event was attended by a good number of fellow Minnesota nature lovers and bloggers.....some who were new to me and some who were old friends

Here I am with my blogging friends Lynne (Hasty Brook) and Richard (At the Water). Lynne and I have been on previous birding adventures, but this was the first time I met Richard in person and I was really surprised and happy when I saw him in the parking lot because I didn't think he was going to be able to come.

We all met at the Carver Park Reserve near Victoria, Minnesota where Roger Everhart (Minnesota Bird Nerd) and his assistants were conducting a bird banding program at the Lowry Nature Center.
The birds weren't exactly cooperating, but Roger's enthusiasm and knowledge of birds was amazing and we enjoyed spending time with him even though there weren't any birds to band.

We also got to see a couple of raptors that are permanent residents at the Lowry Nature Center due to injuries they received in the wild. Here is a pretty little female Merlin.

And this is a female Barred Owl. Both of these birds are used for teaching purposes. The handler was taking them out for their daily weigh-in and feeding.

We finally got started down the woodsy trail to do some birding and were lucky enough to find this Northern Red-Bellied Snake on the trail. This was a reptile "lifer" for me. I never knew we had snakes this small in Minnesota.
Virginia (Bees in the City) caught and held the snake for me while I took this picture and then I got to hold the snake so she and others could take pictures. Honestly, I've seen night crawlers bigger than this snake. It was so neat!

We had a another surprise for this event when Hap from New Hope showed up to bird with us. Some of you are probably familiar with Hap if you're a regular reader of Lynne's Hasty Brook blog, and we were all thrilled to meet him in person, including Dawn and Jeff (Dawn's Bloggy Blog).

Before leaving Carver Park Reserve, we stopped to check out the Trumpeter Swans on the big pond. While not a life bird for me, this was the first time I'd seen them in Minnesota, so it was good to check them on my Minnesota list! (sorry, this is a crappy picture of a beautiful bird)

Of course, the Great Blue Heron is a pretty common bird, but I loved the way this picture turned out with the bird's reflection in the water.

After a stop for a delicious meal and fun conversation, it was time to head over to Hyland Lake Park Reserve and the Richardson Nature Center. After some discussion and study of the maps by Richard, Hap, Mike and Lizette (Mike & Lizette's Travel & Thoughts), we decided to head down the Prairie Trail for more birding.

We got as far as Wood Duck Pond where oddly enough, we spotted a large number of Wood Ducks perched in a dead tree that had fallen down in the pond. Jeff and Dave both brought their scopes so we all got good looks. I've never seen so many wood ducks altogether in one place!
Farthest to the right in the picture above are Penny (Penelopedia blog) and her husband Dave and just to the left of them (in the black shirt) is "Other Sharon" (aka Hellziggy).

While walking the Prairie Trail, we spotted this industrious male Goldfinch gathering thistledown for nesting material. (Another thing I've never seen before!)

Watching turtles and hooded mergansers from the observation dock.

All too soon, it was 4:00 -- time for me to brave the freeway traffic and construction detours and head back to Rochester with memories of a wonderful day spent birding with old and new friends. It's always fun when you get a chance to meet bloggers face-to-face and spend time with people who share your interests. The other great thing was that all of these folks (except for Dawn and Jeff) live only a couple hours from me, so there's every likelihood that we'll be able to get together in the future for more birding adventures like this. Thanks everyone for a fun day.....I really enjoyed meeting all of you!


Jayne said...

So glad to hear it was such a great day Ruthie! Now, THAT is a birdy day I could sink my teeth into! Maybe one day.... :c)

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

It sure was a fun, relaxing day.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a fun day Ruthie. I can just imagine how you felt meeting some of your blogging buddies. I got to meet many of the garden bloggers I read and some I don't read at the Chicago gathering this spring.

Penelope said...

Nice photo of the little snake! Mine didn't come out well at all. I had never heard of such a small snake either; I assumed it was a baby at the time. Anyway, yes, it was a wonderful outing and I really enjoyed meeting you. I look forward to doing it again.

Gaelyn said...

What a great gathering and adventure. Nice to share the day with fellow birders who blog, tweet & chirp. Great captures. Really like the Heron.

Meggie said...

What a great day! Looks like a good time was had by all.

Anonymous said...

What a nice blog, very interesting, and you got to meet Richard in person. I hardly recognized Lynn, she is wearing her hair different, very attractive. I'm glad you had a fun day and saw so many different things. Great pics too.


Mike and Lizette said...

Lizette and I are greatful that we met up with you and everyone there and enjoyed everyones company.

NCmountainwoman said...

That looks like such a fun group of people the birding would have been a bonus to the company. Glad it was such a good time.

Julie said...

Thanks for taking us along through your pictures! I'm glad the weather was nice for the event. Is it always held in Minnesota?
I was wondering if you'll let me know when you see birds going south. I wonder if it will happen early this year due to the weather. Its another very mild week here (highs in the lower 80's!) with lots of rain. Squaw Creek doesn't start up their bird count until next month. I'll try and get up there during a good week.

MaineBirder said...

Isn't it great being with fellow birders and bloggers? Love the photos!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
It was a really nice group and you would have had an enjoyable time. Someday we'll get to bird together too!!

You got that right Lynne! It was so nice to see you in person again.

Hi Lisa,
It was definitely a super-fun day. My only wish is that I could have stayed longer.

Hi Penny,
My close-up shots usually don't turn out either--I just got lucky this time.
It was really great to meet you and Dave. We'll have to plan our next get-together for the Northfield area and you guys can show us all the good birding and nature spots over there!

Thanks Gaelyn. It was sure a fun day--good birds, good friends, and good times.

You got that right Meggie!

Hi Mom,
I was really surprised to see Richard was there too and I recognized him right away. You're right, Lynne's hair is a little bit shorter than on her profile pic.

Hi Mike & Lizette,
I'm so glad that you were able to make it and that I got to bird with you. You're both so nice and I look forward to keeping up on your nature adventures through your blog.

Hi Carolyn,
The birding was fun mostly because it was just a fun group of people. We didn't have to be anywhere at a certain time and the whole event was very relaxed and leisurely--a good way to spend a Saturday.

Hi Julie,
A birding event like this can happen wherever Dawn and Jeff happen to be and there are birders who blog, tweet or chirp there. You can find out more at the BWBTC website ( or by following Dawn and Jeff's travels through their blog (
I'll let you know if I see any migration activity--for now I'm still seeing orioles which is surprising because mine have usually left by now (but these might be juveniles still hanging around).

Hi MaineBirder,
It's the best! We had such a great time. (thanks for the compliment on the photos!)

merrilymarylee said...

I had read on Dawn's blog that you were the zucchini bread maker and the snake handler. Ruthie, we've got to give you points for versatility!

dAwN said...

howdee..Great post..oh it make me smile with memories!

I have a good picture of you handling the little snake beauty..feel free to take any of my photos! Oh and you have many nice rings..tee hee

I wish we had more time to talk..wanted to ask you questions about your naturalist program..something i would love to do someday..if we ever stayed somewhere long enough!

I am happy that you will all continue having bird outings.
Lots of good birding areas you have there in MN.
I am so glad I got to meet you!
I hope our paths cross again!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary Lee,
We were lucky to have the younger and more agile Virginia who caught the snake for us, and I was thrilled to have the chance to hold it also while others took pictures. A little tiny snake like that is not scary at all!

Hi Dawn,
Many thanks to you and Lynne, for setting this all up for us. Otherwise I would never have had the chance to meet you, Jeff and all the other bloggers. I will treasure the memories of this most excellent birding day and hope our paths will cross some day again!