We believe in connecting people with nature.
Most of our programs are FREE and open to the public. Our speakers give presentations about a wide range of topics - not just birds - and check our calendar for free guided bird walks, field trips and other events.
September 27, 2022 - Program at Quarry Hill
Last night we hosted our first in-person program since the pandemic began and it was oh so good to be together again! Marcial Cordova's presentation (with help from interpreter Eric Matteson) about the Guacamayas Biology Station in Guatemala was fascinating.
Marcial is the head bander and biologist there and he described the area they work in (north of the Tikal ruins) and how students are trained to assist in catching, banding and documenting specific birds each November - March. Marcial's station is just one of a network of stations spread throughout the region and is a cooperative effort between public agencies, private organizations and independent bird banders in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
About 770 bird species can be found in Guatemala and at one point he showed photos of several birds that had been netted while the audience tried to identify the natives vs. the migrants. It's surprising how many birds we have in common and it's important that habitat is preserved both here in the U.S. and on their wintering grounds in Central America.
Rob Schulz, Executive Director and Vice President of Audubon Minnesota and Jackie Fallon from the Midwest Peregrine Society were in attendance. Jackie was very interested in a possible collaboration with Marcial to monitor raptor migration. ZVAS is a supporter of the Guacamayas Biology Station.
It was a great evening in which many new connections were made and we thank all those who made it possible.
September 25, 2022 - Quarry Hill Tour
This morning we gave our guest speaker, Marcial Cordova from Guatemala, a guided tour of Quarry Hill Park. We traveled through the Oak Savannah, the upper Quarry, along Silver Creek and through the woods and found 32 species of birds including some that Marcial had never seen before - Red-breasted Nuthatch and Ruby-crowned Kinglet to name just a couple. Black-capped Chickadees - which are so common here - were also a new bird for him. We even found 6 species of warblers - pretty good for this late in the season.
Marcial is the head bander at Las Guacamayas Biology Station - a MoSI Winter Bird Monitoring Station in Guatemala. He'll tell us about the work he does there and the birds we have in common tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7pm at the Quarry Hill Nature Center. This program is free and open to the public.
Species seen today:
Canada Goose, Mourning Dove, Turkey Vulture, Cooper's Hawk, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tree Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Gray Catbird, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, House Sparrow, House Finch, American Goldfinch, White-throated Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Bay-breasted Warbler, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Thanks to Eric Matteson, Joan Leof, Lance Vrieze, Terry Grier and Sandy Hokanson for helping out this morning.
Photos by Sandy Hokanson.
September 24, 2022 - Sparrow Walk at Kalmar
Our Sparrow Walk on Saturday started out on the gloomy side. Here's what leader Jerry Pruett had to say about the trip:
"The day started out overcast but it wasn't raining. 14 participants met in the parking lot for the trip. Soon Jim Peterson located a LeConte's Sparrow, one of our targets. We walked slowly through the tall wet grass along the outlet stream towards the dike. We refound the LeConte's but unfortunately it was not very co-operative and stayed down in the grass then flew across the water and disappeared out of sight. We also saw Marsh Wren, Tennessee Warbler and Common Yellowthroat skulking in the grasses. From the dike outlet we walked north along the fence line and got relatively good looks at a Palm Warbler and a nice Northern Harrier. Several Meadowlarks were visible flying over the grasslands. At the higher parking lot we climbed onto the dike. We saw Ruddy Duck and Cormorant on the water. We then walked back to the lower parking lot, cutting through the tall grass rather than taking the road. Some of us got nice looks at a Sedge Wren. Back at the parking lot we said our goodbyes. Four of us then went to the South Landfill to check out that area. We were lucky to find a Nelson's Sparrow and had a Franklin's Gull fly over as we left.
Everyone left about 10 a.m. It wasn't a real birdy day. The birds were hidden and not everyone was able to see all the birds. We didn't rack up a very high species count either, no Song Sparrow, Savannah, Henslows, Bobolinks, or other birds we might expect. But we did get some nice birds for some of the people. I would judge the day as a success, but later this week or next weekend may be a lot better."
Birds seen at the East Landfill Kalmar Reservoir:
1 Canada Goose, 1 Ruddy Duck, 25 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon), 2 Mourning Dove,
1 Double-crested Cormorant, 1 Great Blue Heron, 1 Green Heron, 1 Northern Harrier, 2 American Kestrel, 2 Blue Jay, 1 American Crow, 25 Tree Swallow, 12 Barn Swallow, 3 Sedge Wren, 1 Marsh Wren, 1 LeConte's Sparrow, 7 Eastern Meadowlark, 30 Red-winged Blackbird, 1 Tennessee Warbler, 2 Common Yellowthroat. 1 Palm Warbler
Birds seen at the South Landfill Reservoir
40 Killdeer. 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Franklin's Gull, 1 Northern Harrier,
2 Bald Eagle, 1 Eastern Phoebe, 7 Tree Swallow, 3 Barn Swallow, 1 Marsh Wren,
1 Nelson's Sparrow, 6 Eastern Meadowlark, 1 Palm Warbler
Photos by Terry Grier & John Weiss
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