Hurry Up Spring!

Something’s gotta give.  This winter is clinging on with an iron grip.  Maybe it’s good, though, so I can get my taxes done without the distraction of warm weather and new birds coming through.  This morning I did just that and was in need of a break by afternoon.  It was time to go out and look for a bird or two.  Evan wanted to look for the American Kestrel I’ve been seeing a couple times on my commute to work.  But as I worked on my taxes, Steve texted me saying he went birding at Foot Lake in Willmar this morning and picked up a Wood Duck.  Now a Wood Duck is nothing new for us, but it is always a thrill to see, and it is definitely a sign of spring!  So we decided to check out the gymnasium-sized patch of open water on Foot Lake today.

Our vantage point was far away from the water, so I was using the camera as my binoculars to see what was out there.  We could see lots of Canada Geese with the naked eye, but some smaller birds – ducks – showed up in my view.  I snapped some pictures just for identification purposes.  It was tough to see the LCD outside, but once I got in the van I noticed we had some Common Mergansers mixed in with the Mallards and Canada Geese.

We went back out to look at them again, and this time we found the Hooded Merganser.  That was fun to see.  They are not all that common.  My camera was zoomed to the max, but you can see him at the edge of the water.

I’ve gotten smarter about how I use the camera I have – not for taking pictures, but for showing the kids the birds that are far away.  My camera has a flip-open LCD and a viewfinder.  I use the viewfinder for taking long shots, but I’ve started flipping open that 2.5″ LCD and showing the kids the birds and ducks up close.  Both Marin and Evan got some good looks today.

No Wood Ducks for us today, and we didn’t find the Kestrel afterwards.  We and the waterfowl are anxious for more open water.  Until then, we’ll keep checking this little patch for new migrants.  Hopefully we see fewer ice fishermen next time…

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