More than 100 species counted
By Nancy OvercottMonday, May 28, 2001
Imagine that a flurry of activity draws your eyes to a low branch in a maple tree. When you stop to take a closer look, you notice a bump of grayish-green lichen about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches high. Suddenly, a ruby-throated hummingbird whirrs in and settles down in the bowl of her tiny nest to incubate two tiny eggs. She has created this small wonder from plant down, fibers and bud scales and has attached it to the branch with spider silk. Her final step was to disguise the outside of her nest with lichen. When you move closer, you can see the diminutive mother breathing. You are quite sure she sees you, but you can't imagine what you look like to her.
It is Saturday May 19. Participants in a field trip to DunRomin Park and Campground near Caledonia are watching the ruby-throated hummingbird on her nest. The field trip, led by Jaime Edwards, Minnesota DNR Nongame Wildlife Specialist and me, is part of the Second Annual Bluff Country Bird Festival. As we watch the little hummer, Peter and Dawn Johnson, owners of the park, tell us that the first owner, Don Anderson, an over-the-road trucker, came upon the area 28 years ago, fell in love with it, purchased the property and said he was "Done Roaming." Songbirds...
The park, with its wooded hillsides, open fields, a remote pond and a winding stream provides good habitat for songbirds. A hiking trail meanders through all of these habitats. At the entrance to the trail, we hear the call of a tufted titmouse, an uncommon bird in Minnesota. An eastern wood-pewee sings a plaintive song while perched on a dead branch. Periodically, he flies out from the branch to grab an insect then flies back to the same perch as though pulled by a string. A haunting wood thrush song comes from deep in the woods and a great-crested flycatcher boisterously and repeatedly calls "wheep-wheep." We see American redstarts, black and orange birds about 4 1/2 inches long, flitting through the trees singing squeaky songs. Tiny blue-gray gnatcatchers whisper in the treetops.
Indigo buntings in iridescent blue breeding colors sing all morning long. Catbirds, rose-breasted grosbeaks and red-winged blackbirds are abundant. Red admiral butterflies are present by the hundreds along with tiger swallowtails and those little white and yellow butterflies that are difficult to identify. In the creek, .....[Read the Rest]