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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

2009 Wildlife Day

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Well, I don't think the planners at the Sherburne NWR were anticipating having to deal with mid-November type weather already. Nothing like getting up early in the morning to enjoy a warm October day (normally) with the vibrant fall colors just to find the scene above waiting (I officially hate 2009).

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At one point as I made my say to my favorite morning observation area, the small thermometer I keep clipped to my backpack bottomed out at 19°F. This wouldn't have been so bad but the west/northwest winds gusting up to 25 mph made it feel pretty close to zero. I was dressed for it but it would have been nice to have had a face mask or gaiter.

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The ducks were really moving today with lots of wood ducks and mallards moving in large flocks. The most impressive were the bluebills though. Some flocks easily had several hundred birds...all going one direction.

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It looked so strange to see snow on the ground with some of the leaves at peak color while some haven't even started to change. What an odd year 2009 has been weatherwise for us.

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Still are a lot of young eagles and hawks hanging around to pick off a fish or duck for a meal.

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I finally got froze out and took a quick tour of some of the area on the west side of the refuge which are usually closed off to traffic with the exception of Wildlife Day. Melinda (who will be out of action for a month or so due to a broken bone in her foot)and Jess called and said they would meet me at the festival gathering area to take in the raptor show the University of Minnesota Raptor Center was going. Thanks to Kelly Scott for bringing out a broadwing hawk, a kestrel, a great horned owl, and the one of the largest bald eagles I have ever seen anywhere. At first I wondered if the eagle was transported down from Alaska but she is a local bird who was hit by a car.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day. Cold as heck, but so worth getting out. Once the clouds move out this morning, I'll likely try to get out again before the snow moves back in tonight. 2"-4" looks like a pretty good bet.

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