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Drive-by grabbing… a new Extreme Sport

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

It was a little foggy as I headed out early this morning to finish up the last two Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas blocks.  Only added one new bird to the Wauboose block, and nothing new or improved in the Balsam block.  Breeding season for birds in Minnesota is just about done for this year.  I kind of hate to see it end, as I’ve had a wonderful time trying to document breeding birds, and it also means that the mornings are going to be a lot quieter from now on.  I’ll miss the daily cacophony of nature’s symphony. 

IMG_9182 Joe-Pye Weed

In my travels, I did find a new wildflower beginning to bloom.  It’s Joe-Pye Weed.  This flower is in the Aster family and is quite common on the refuge very close to the cattails.  It takes its name from a medicine man named Joe-pye.  In a comment yesterday, Janna asked me to recommend a wildflower guide.  I really don’t have much of a recommendation for her.  I know I’m really appreciating the book loaned to me by the refuge that only covers Minnesota wildflowers.  I like it because it eliminates looking through all those species that don’t grow here.  So all I can say is that I’d get a guide that is specific to the area you are in.  I think it makes it a little easier to figure out the flowers.

After about four hours, the temps had risen to the middle 80’s, so I called it quits on looking for birds.  I would be spending the afternoon picking up litter.

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In my somewhat extensive knowledge of picking up litter, it’s been my experience that the most efficient way to gather litter from roadsides is to use two people.  You can get more than twice as much work done in half the time.  So, after an hour or so, I stopped back at headquarters to see if Rachel was available to help me after her morning long meetings.  As you might guess, she was more than happy to get out of the office.

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One of the roads we worked has an osprey nest on it.  In the first pic, mama osprey is not too happy with us stopping on the roadway, and screamed at us a few times.  We didn’t make any moves to get closer to the nest, so she calmed down.  Notice how she’s shielding the young chicks beneath her from the hot sun?  This nest has been used for years, but doesn’t always produce chicks.  I was happy to see two healthy young ones this year even if it is a bit late in the season.

Boad-winged Hawk

There was also a very cooperative adult broad-winged hawk that posed for us on the same road.  That’s  the nice thing about litter patrol; you get to see so much more than garbage.

To add some excitement to the litter gathering assignment, Rachel and I have invented a new Extreme Sport of sorts.  Remember, she’s young, and I’m the driver.  I must say that our technique is improving every time we go out.

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Welcome to Drive-by Grabbing!  Of course, she’s posing for this shot, but just picture us tooling down the roads and spotting trash along the way.  I slow down a bit, and she leans out to make a grab on the go.  It saves a lot of time, and provides us with chuckles along the way.  I just haven’t figured out yet how I can veer over to the other side of the road, lean out the window, and do the same thing while steering the truck and watching for traffic. Surprised smile

I’ll leave you tonight with last night’s sunset and the fog rolling in over the creek just down from my patio.  It was a wonderful end to the day with the loons calling from Flat Lake in the background.

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Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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