Friday, March 11 was another great birding day. Linda W and I went looking for Raptors. We started at Lilydale Park checking out an old Bald Eagle nest that is now home to a family of Great Horned Owls. We didn’t see anyone home, but the nest is quite large (for an owl) and it was very possible they were simply hunkered down out of the wind.
Walking the Lilydale road, we were treated to 7 Bald Eagles, a Red-tail Hawk and a Red-shouldered Hawk. Several of the immature eagles were enjoying each other’s company as they frolicked above the river.
At the boat landing, we were able to get up close and personal to a resting Barred Owl. He seemed more peaceful around 20 pick-up trucks than of in the woods with the crows.
Next, we drove to Acacia Cemetery for a look at Merlins. Linda and Rob had seen a pair the day before and we were not disappointed. Sitting quite high in the trees both a male and female were found. Hopes are that they will be nesting in the area and raising their young in Mendota Heights. Acacia sits quite high on the landscape with great views of the airport and both downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul. (Note: We also saw our 1st Sandhill Cranes of the year flying quite high overhead)
Our last stop was to Crosby Park to see if any other owls were hanging around. We located a Great Horned Owl by the river which seemed quite fitting as we started the day looking for them.
19 species in 4 locations, but who’s counting. My thanks to Linda for the great precision guiding and a fun way to celebrate the warm weather.