NEWSLETTERS ~ CURRENT PROJECTS ~ BUTTERFLY COUNT ~ CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT ~ NATIVE PLANTS & PRAIRIE ~ VOLUNTEERING & ADVOCACY
Current News and Projects
March 28, 2017 - About 40 people gathered at the Quarry Hill Nature Center this evening to hear Greg Hoch from the MN DNR talk about Woodcocks. Although they are fairly common birds, few people have ever seen one. Greg explained that their favorite habitat is brushy woods (read not easy to walk through) and they are extremely well camouflaged, blending so perfectly with their surroundings that you can be within inches of one and still not see it. Woodcocks also have a unique feature among birds - a second "hinge" on their beaks - allowing them to flex the tip to better probe for and snatch their favorite foods - worms, grubs and other ground dwelling insects. ZVAS will host a Woodcock Watch on April 13 at 7:30pm at Chester Woods park. See our program listing for details. Woodcock photo by Bill Marchell
March 4-5, 2017 - International Owl Festival - We had a lot of fun at the Owl Festival. Audubon volunteers shared stories about bird encounters, Dave Moehnke entertained the kids with his companion "Oscar the Owl", we were fascinated by the live owl programs and marveled at how many owl-themed items wwere available for sale. Thank you to our Volunteers: Alice, Clifford, Dave, Ruthann, Sandy, Greg, Lance, Joel, Cindy, Keith and Debbie. The photos below were taken by Sandy Hokanson.
March 4, 2017 - We saw several birds this morning on our monthly walk around Quarry Hill. The wind was brisk but the sun was out which made everything better. We found the normal suspects (Chickadees, Nuthatches, Downy, Hairy & Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Junco, Cardinals, Mallards, House, Tree and White Throated Sparrows, Crows) and especially enjoyed a flyover by a mature Bald Eagle. All of the photos below were taken by Brendan Lanpher.
February 28, 2017 - Anna Richey from Conservation Minnesota shared her tips for how to advocate more effectively for the causes you support at our February meeting. An engaged group of 25 listened, asked questions and shared stories about what has worked for them.
No matter how you choose to contact your representatives (email, snail mail, phone or in person) it helps to:
February 4, 2017 - Fifteen people came out for this morning's bird walk at Quarry Hill - despite the cold gray skies and gusty winds. Birds were scarce, even at the Nature Center there were markedly fewer than we normally encounter. We found just seven species: Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatches, House Sparrows and Crows. But have no fear - the birds will be back soon - meteorologic spring starts on March 1.
January 26, 2017 - After being postponed due to weather concerns we were able to have our monthly program about the return of cougars in Minnesota on Thursday evening. Nearly 100 people turned out for this facsinating talk and we want to thank Dr. Michelle LaRue for taking the time to tell us about the Cougar Network projects and how they are tracking the movements of these big cats. She also showed us how easy it is to mistake a bobcat for a cougar (and don't trust all those photos on the internet - many are photoshopped.) Visit http://www.cougarnet.org/ to learn more about cougars.
January 1, 2017 - It was an excellent day to search for birds in the Whitewater Valley Christmas Bird Count. Sunny skies, light wind and mild temps near 30 degrees were welcome. Several ZVAS member joined the many groups who fanned out across the valley and we had good luck finding many species of birds - though not as many waterfowl as we had hoped for. Some highlights were Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk, Kingfisher, Tufted Titmouse, Barred Owl, and White-throated Sparrow. The Whitewater State Park Nature Center will post a full list of birds seen when all the lists are tabulated. Here are a few photos from the day.