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11/25/08 - La Crosse, WI

Posted Tuesday 25th November 2008 at 22:23 by bkrownd
Updated Wednesday 26th November 2008 at 00:07 by bkrownd
Perfect November weather today. Clear, calm and right around freezing. In just a couple hours I saw pretty much everything I've seen here in previous years. In fact, I even saw a couple of new things I didn't anticipate. In the morning I saw my third pine siskin among a very large and varied group of birds sunning in pond-side bushes at dawn. In the afternoon I saw my very first varied thrush. (only got the shady side, unfortunately)
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11/24/08 - Carlos Avery WMA and O'Brien State Park

Posted Tuesday 25th November 2008 at 05:46 by bkrownd
Updated Tuesday 25th November 2008 at 05:49 by bkrownd
The forecast was bad, so I didn't make any big trip plans, but the weather was actually frustratingly nice. I wanted to go North to St. Croix State Park, but the bad forecast scared me off. I took a look at nearby Carlos Avery WMA, near Forest Lake. It's a large wetland complex, with a network of open wooded islands and ridges among the bogs. It could be a good area to visit in the summer. Unfortunately these habitats are abandoned in the winter. After lunch I went down to the St. Croix River...
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11/23/08 - Minnesota Valley NWR

Posted Sunday 23rd November 2008 at 22:05 by bkrownd
I slept in this morning to try to shake my sickness. Didn't work. Morning was overcast and foggy, so I wouldn't have made any big expeditions anyhow. I set out without a real plan, and ended up at Minnesota Valley NWR. Lyndale Avenue first, then Bass Ponds. Weather improved nicely in the afternoon. Predictably, I saw lots of common birds. The most exciting part was trying to get better photos of American tree sparrows. At one point there was a very loud bird on the opposite bank of the river,...
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11/22/08 - Sherburne NWR and Lake Vadnais

Posted Saturday 22nd November 2008 at 23:21 by bkrownd
Following a lead from the MNBIRD mailing list, I went to Sherburne NWR on a quest for the seemingly mythical crossbill finch. A creature of rumor from the depths of the most arcane field guides, accompanied by renderings of fantastical beasts with twisted beaks and devilish visages. After patiently scanning the tops of the conifers for a half hour, I suddenly heard an unfamiliar ruckus approaching. And behold! A flock of about 20 finchy devils burst over the edge of the forest canopy with a fearsome...
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11/21/08 - Crosby Farm & Lake Vadnais

Posted Friday 21st November 2008 at 22:26 by bkrownd
An Arctic high moved in and this morning dawned crystal clear and 10F. The air was still, so it was quite nice outside - a wonderfully seasonal morning.

I decided against any big trips North, since I'm still fairly sick. The first place I went was my usual favorite, Crosby Farm park in St. Paul. The sparrows, wrens, kinglets and warblers I followed on my October trip have all moved on. The ponds have frozen over, so the ducks, geese and herons are gone too. The otters and...
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