Thursday, April 07, 2005

My drive to work 4/7/2005

I'm going to try to record sightings/observations from my daily drive to work. I live almost 30 miles away from my job, a fact I'm not too happy about with the price of gas (both monetary and the hidden costs-environmental degradation, war, health). Maybe some day I can get a hybrid vehicle or go biodiesel; probably in the future I won't have a choice in the matter. But I do enjoy the drive; it takes me along some beautiful rural roads and across the scenic Kettle River. Very different from the 26 mile commute I used to make down Interstate 94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul during rush hour! I also get the chance to observe numerous birds, and occasionally other wildlife.

I'll start with the highlights from yesterday. In the morning a bald eagle, which apparently had been feeding on roadkill, suddenly took flight from the left side of the road. I slowed down, knowing how long eagles take to get airborne. We passed under it, as it flew just a few feet above the car. The wingspan was as wide as the car! The eagle was just getting its white head and tail feathers; perhaps it will mate for the first time this year.

On the way home, I saw three great gray owls. I was almost ready to write a farewell to these birds, as I had not seen one in almost a week. I assumed they had moved further north. They are a bit harder to see now that the snow cover is gone; all three of these caught my eye as they were flying.

Now for this morning: lots of juncos and robins, my first yellow shafted flicker of the year, mallards in the ditches, a grackle with a twig in its mouth--nest building?--a bluebird, several kestrels, and...a female pheasant! Unusual around here.

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