NEWSLETTERS ~ CURRENT PROJECTS ~ BUTTERFLY COUNT ~ CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT ~ NATIVE PLANTS & PRAIRIE ~ VOLUNTEER
Current News and Projects
March 22, 2018 - Kestrel Nesting Box Project Report
Several new nesting boxes are now up in Chester Woods, Oxbow Park, Root River Park, and the Haverhill WMA thanks in part to a pile of lumber at Joel Dunnette's house that needed to be gone. Joel, current president of ZVAS, asked Jim Peterson (expert birder and ZVAS volunteer) and Kirk Payne (Naturalist at Quarry Hill) to assist him in starting a Kestrel Nesting Box program this spring. Jim made the boxes to spec and Kirk suggested suitable locations and then they all went out on March 22, 2018 for the first round of installations.
These boxes will need to be monitored regularly to see if Kestrels eventually nest in them. If you are interested in being a monitor please conatct Joel Dunnette at 507-269-7064 or email@example.com.
Learn more about Kestrels here.
More information about Kestrel monitoring can be found at https://kestrel.peregrinefund.org
March 3, 2018 - Quarry Hill Bird Walk
17 people enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day looking for birds at Quarry Hill Park on March 3rd. Highlights included three Trumpeter Swans flying overhead, an adult Bald Eagle, a dark morph Rough legged Hawk and a Red Tail Hawk. Other birds seen or heard were: Hairy, Downy and Red bellied Woodpeckers, Cardinals, White breasted Nuthatches, Blue Jay, Gold Finch, Black Capped Chickadees, House Finch, Crow, Pigeons, Canada Geese, and a Robin. No photos were taken during this walk (our regular photographer was working at the Owl Fest) so this pics of a Robin is from last spring ... be on the lookout ... they'll be in your backyard soon
March 3, 2018 - Owl Festival
Owls, owls and more owls. We had fun talking about birds with folks from all over the region during the International Owl Festival in Houston, MN. Kudos to all the volunteers and sponsors who make this fun and educational event possible!
February 27, 2018
Forty people came out to Quarry Hill tonight to hear Mike Henry talk about his trip to Ecuador to photograph Hummingbirds. He explained his technique of using high speed synchronized flash photography to create stunning portraits of the birds and also clued us in to where the best hummingbird viewing areas are located. Thank you Mike for a fascinating presentation!
February 3, 2018
Local birding experts (and ZVAS members) Joyce and Terry Grier gave a great talk on Saturday at Sargents on Second in Rochester. First up was which plants make your backyard attractive to birds. That was followed with an in-depth discussion of bird food, feeders, and which kinds attract which birds. Lastly an open Q&A session. The crowd really enjoyed the many photos and tips they shared. A big thank you to the Griers and to Sargents for hosting this free "Year of the Bird" event.
February 3, 2018 - Bird Walk at Quarry Hill
The snow fell gently throughout our walk at Quarry Hill today and temps were near 20 ... a perfect winter day. Most of the bird activity was near the feeders where we found Chickadees, Mourning Doves, Juncos, Nuthatches, Downy, Hairy, and Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, a Crow and House Sparrows. Before the walk started a pair of Red Tail Hawks flew by overhead and briefly perched for a quick photo. Eight people participated along with leaders Terry and Joyce Grier. Click to see more photo on our Facebook page.
January 23, 2018
Many thanks to Sara Holger from Whitewater State Park for her lively and entertaining presentation about Minnesota Owls last night at our monthly program at Quarry Hill. Sara's talk was fun, informative and when she performed her expert level owl calls she had the entire room "hooting" right along with her!
January 11, 2018
Here are some pics that ZVAS member Terry Grier took at his recently. The Cooper's Hawk shows an unusual pattern of white spots on the wings. Sibley says "all perched accipiters can show bright white spots on back when feathers are fluffed" as this Coopers was during a snowfall. The Northern Flicker should have migrated south but a few do stay most winters. The Tufted Titmouse is becoming more common in our area.
Christmas Bird Count - Rochester - Dec. 16, 2017 - Our birders were out in force today ... and a much nicer day it was compared to the minus 20 temps we had to deal with in 2016. Initial bird species count seemed low at our tally tonight and individual numbers seemed low as well ... but not all groups have reported in yet so there may be more to come.
Click here for the preliminary species count.
This file will be updated as additional reports come in.
Many thanks to Clifford Hanson for organizing the count and to all the participants who helped out during the day.
December 2, 2017 - Quarry Hill Bird Walk
26 people came out on unseasonably warm, wonderful day to look for birds at Quarry Hill. Birds seen included a very accommodating Red Tailed Hawk by the nature center, a Brown Creeper, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, a Flicker, a White-throated Sparrow, and a scruffy-looking yellow-bellied sapsucker. Also seen were the normal Cardinals, Goldfinches, Chickadees, WB Nuthatches, Blue Jays, and House Sparrows. Heard only birds included Crows, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and a Pileated Woodpecker. Thanks to Joyce Grier for leading our group and to Brendan Lanpher for taking the photos..
November 28, 2017 - Monthly Program at Quarry Hill
"Bird Chick" Sharon Stiteler was a big hit at tonight's program. Sharon discussed birding tech, compared various apps for identifying and recording your finds, showed us how to "digiscope" (take photos with a smart phone and a spotting scope), and shared stories and photos from some of her birding adventures. With a smart phone and a few birding apps you're all set to do some serious citizen science. If you'd like to know more about Sharon and the various projects she is working on, visit her site at http://www.birdchick.com/
November 18, 2017 - Tundra Swan Field Trip
Eleven people made the trip to Brownsville today to see the migrating swans and other waterfowl. The day started out gray,windy and cold, but we were all properly bundled up. Thousands of swans were still present as well as many other birds including Mallards, Pintails, Greenwing Teal, Hooded Merganzers, Goldeneye, Canada Geese, Widgeon, Ringnecks, Gadwall, Shovelers, Canvasbacks, Scaup, Coot. Ring billed Gulls, Pelicans, Crows, Blue Jays, and dozens of Bald Eagles.
On the way back to Rochester we drove through the Whitewater WMA and added Trumpeter Swans, Kingfisher, Redwing Blackbirds, Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, White Breasted Nuthatch, Goldfinch, Red Tail Hawk, and Chickadees to our list. But the find of the day was yet to come. On the final leg of the trip home, driver Terry Grier suddenly pulled off the road - he'd spotted a Snowy Owl. We had a fantastic time on this trip. Our thanks to Terry & Joyce Grier for leading!
Photos by Sandy Hokanson unless otherwise noted.