NEWSLETTERS ~ CURRENT PROJECTS ~ BUTTERFLY COUNT ~ CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT ~ NATIVE PLANTS & PRAIRIE ~ VOLUNTEERING & ADVOCACY
Current News and Projects
May 7, 2017 - Hok-si-la Field Trip - On today's field trip to Hok-si-la Park in Lake City and the surrounding area we saw some interesting things ... just not warblers ... so the wait for our favorite migrants continues. However, we did see a Great Horned Owlet, several Great Blue Herons, a Purple Martin, lots of Wood Ducks, a Pileated Woodpecker, a Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, several Cliff Swallows, a Raccoon and a host of other "regulars" ... 44 species in all. We are repeating this field trip next Sunday - hopefully with better results!
April 28, 2017 - Arbor Day In Rochester - A big thank you to our volunteers who helped out at today's Arbor Day extravaganza in Rochester. Hundreds of kids participated, had fun, and learned a little more about the environment. Our two Bird Wheels of Fortune were in constant motion!
April 29, 2017 - Root River County Park Walk - It was cloudy, windy and cold, but five of us did the loop around Root River County Park this morning... and we did find some good birds and even more spring wildflowers. Our most unexpected bird was a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, and we got a good look at an Eastern Towhee and 2 Broad-winged Hawks. There were also many White-throated Sparrows, -Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers . More photos are located in our Facebook album
April 26, 2017 - Birding at Kutsky Park - It was cold, drizzly and windy but 6 hardy souls braved the weather to bird at Kutzky Park on Wednesday morning. In addition to the resident birds we saw many Ruby-crowned Kinglets and 5 species of warblers: Yellow-rumped Warber, Orange-crowned Warbler, Palm Warbler, Nashville, and one Black-throated Green Warbler. All in all the morning was quite quite successful.
April 25, 2017 - Quarry Hill Monthly Program - Nearly 80 people came out to hear Kevin Kenow's talk on Common Loon research being done with satellite telemetry and archival geolocator tags. The information they gather helps identify migration staging areas and wintering areas, and much more. We learned a lot and came away with a new appreciation of our state bird.
April 23, 2017 - Earth Day Expo at the Mayo Civic Center. - We met and talked with many like-minded people at today's Expo. It was great fun spreading the word about native plants, pollinators and birds and especially nice to see so many young people taking part. Thanks to all the volunteers who put together this event.
April 22, 2017 - Reservoir field trip. - Lance Vrieze led a group of birders out to our local reservoirs this morning. They visited Sliver Creek, Willow Creek and Kalmar. Sightings included may kinds of waterfowl, a pair of Horned Grebes, and a Sora Rail. These reservoirs are great spots for birding. Click here to see more photos in our Facebook album
April 22, 2017 - Pollinator Parade at Walk at Quarry Hill -We had great fun today at Quarry Hill and talked with lots of interested people about the importance of our native pollinators. Be sure to visit Quarry Hill soon to see their new bee hive which is spectacular!
April 9, 2017 - Whitewater Valley field trip. - A group of 6 birders, led by Joel Dunnette, went on an extensive tour of the Whitewater Valley today and saw 50 species of birds, including multiple nesting Trumpeter Swans and a couple foraging Sandhill Cranes. They got some good looks at a Bald Eagle nest, where two young would occasionally pop their heads up. At Applebee Springs, they walked back to the old spring house and found several very bright, fresh Yellow-rumped Warblers, some of whom were bathing in the spring. Besides birds, Red Admiral butterflies were sighted at several spots. It might be a bit of an 'invasion' year for them. Green Darner dragonflies were also coursing over the waters; they are probably early migrants. Spring wildflowers are appearing was well
April 1, 2017 - Bird Walk at Quarry Hill - It was a great morning for a walk with sunny skies for a change. Our group of 30 saw 19 species of birds - mostly the regulars but we were all happy to see that the Bluebirds are back checking out the nest boxes north of the Nature Center, The Goldfinches are starting to get their bright yellow coloring back and we also saw a Brown Headed Cowbird. Thanks to terry and Joyce Grier for leading and sharing their knowledge about the birds and plants we saw.
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.