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Showing posts from January, 2016

Ivory Gulls in Duluth

WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley
The last thing I would expect to happen in the heart of a Minnesota winter is to add a new ‘life’ bird to my list, but that’s just what happened a week ago in Duluth.   Maybe you heard the news reports about the Ivory Gull that appeared on December 30th along the shipping canal in Duluth. Soon after it was identified, word spread in the ‘birding’ world.  People began to come from all over the country to get a look at it.  Ivory gulls are normally found in winter on the edge of the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean, or at sea between southwest Greenland and Labrador.  Jan Green of Duluth is a well-known birder and according to her an Ivory Gull was last seen in Duluth in 2008, but it was only seen for one day.  This new arrival continued to hang around Canal Park with the other more common ring-billed gulls.  I was hoping it would stay long enough for me to get a look and luck was with me.  On January 5th, I finally had a chance to drive to Duluth.  As I pulled into…

Calendars and phenology

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Going Nature’s Way By Kate Crowley
Do you look forward to putting up a new calendar each year, as much as I do?  And do you have special calendars that you buy almost religiously each year?  I do.  Or maybe you are happy to accept the calendars given out by local merchants during the holiday season.  I receive at least five unsolicited calendars each year from Environmental Organizations I support and these I save to give to my grandchildren.  Like the record keeping I do with my birdwatching, there is something refreshing and a bit exciting about putting up a new calendar with the numbers of the New Year for all to see.  So much possibility in those pages, even though I know they can bring sadness as well as joy, I prefer to dwell on the positive, exciting, and creative experiences that lie in wait. For a long time I have had two particular calendars that I MUST get each year.  One is by a favorite artist, Mary Englebreit, whose colorful and clever drawings and phrases entertain me; th…

Starting the list out right

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WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley You will probably not be surprised to see that I am writing the first column of 2016 about starting a new list for the year.  I can’t help it.  It’s an exciting time of the year – truly starting with a clean slate (so to speak).  I think anyone who keeps annual lists of the birds they see feels this way.  I’ve said before, that this ‘hobby’ is most like going on a treasure hunt – all year round – and I don’t think that’s something any of us outgrow.  But instead of looking for a pile of gold (or cash if you go to casinos), we are searching for beauty and surprising discoveries.  So on January first, we were at my mom’s house in Iowa City and as soon as it was light enough outside to see the birds, I spotted a gorgeous bright red male cardinal.  For many people this is not such a big deal, but we just don’t see cardinal in our neighborhood and there is nothing more stunning then one of these striking birds surrounded by a snowy landscape.  Mike had put out sunf…