Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hill Repeats

Why run hill repeats?
  • Dave and Luther used to run repeats at Afton, up and down the long gravel road. They finished Leadville and other mountainous ultra runs.
  • Nigel used to run up and down the hill on the north end, up from the river, past the overlook to the prairie. He finished Hardrock several times.
  • The year of several PR's for me was the year I ran the most hill repeats. 
This years training will include repeats. My legs were still tired so I did two - a good start.

Before we left, we stopped to watch the birds. There were two Harriers hunting in the grassy field. Our real goal was Woodcocks so we went over to a likely Woodcock area. No woodcocks but 40+ Robins and 50+ Juncos. The Meadowlarks and and one Phoebe were singing. Another great evening.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Day 03/30/2010

The door is open with a warm breeze blowing in. The thermometer say 73 but I know its not THAT warm. I can hear lots of birds singing.

Went running today. The weather was great, the trails were good, Marilyn and Gloria were good company. I didn't run yesterday but my legs were tired today anyway and I don't know why.

Today's birds at Hyland Park: Robins, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Phoebe, a possible flock of 7 Fox Sparrows (big sparrows, reddish, streaks), and a medium sized raptor with a long tail and white rump (N.Harrier?). The frogs were singing quite loudly.

I'm trying to learn more bird songs and as I'm playing the song of the Dark-eyed Junco, one of the birds in the backyard is singing the same song.

In the neighborhood, I saw 3 mud turtles sunning themselves on a log, 9 deer, and my first crocus.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Afton trails look good

Ran at Afton today. Lots of people out running, Tom / Nancy / Alicia / Carl / Matt / Jim / Helen. We ran the Africa loop and the back forty. Some places were a little soft but overall, pretty good. The St. Croix is high but only one trail is closed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Camouflaged deer

The deer blend into the background very well. Standing on the deck(top photo) I can see 6 deer. When I look in the photo, I can only find 3.  How many can you find? Hint: Double click on the photo and it should fill your screen. I went back outside to relocate them and found that 3 had moved over to the pond (see second photo). They are still difficult to locate on the photo.

Great day at bird banding. The birds were active and several people visited and learned more about birds and the Carpenter Nature Center.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Migrating Raptors

The warm weather was wonderful yesterday. Watched the crows in the yard. They seemed to be gathering materials for a nest. We had a pair last year but didn't get to observe them raising their young because it was well hidden in the tree tops.

As I watched the crow, an eagle flew by. And then another and another. Plus a pair of acrobats that I can't identify.

At the WRC last night we were a little short handed but got it all done. I was lucky person who fed both of the muskrats. One was doing very well, she quickly ate all of the lettuce and veggies and minnows I gave her. The other one was pretty quiet.

The surprise of the evening was the tree frog. We were almost done and he started singing. I've heard them many times but this was the first time I got to actually watch one belt out the song. Wow.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Maplewood Backyard

Ran hill repeats at Afton last night. It is a good workout in a short length of time. I made it up the hill, just barely. When we got back home, the sun was setting and a small herd of deer were playing down by the pond.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hyland Park

Went running at Hyland Park today. The trails we ran on were pretty good. Ran with Marilyn & Gloria. Maynard was walking in the park.

Birds found: a pair of Mallards, 4 Canada Geese, a pair of Common Mergansers, at least 7 Hooded Mergansers on the water plus some Bluebirds, and a Pileated Woodpecker. The turkeys were displaying their big tails and fighting with each other. I watched four of them pair up to fight and the noise attracted two more males. There were only 3 females to fight over.

The video is a Red-bellied Woodpecker looking for breakfast.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mississippi Flood

You've probably heard, the water level of the Mississippi is rising. The normal walking trail is under water near downtown St. Paul.

Running at Afton

Ran at Afton SP both days this weekend. Trails are good for this time of the year. However, I need to be careful because there are a couple of slippery spots. This is a photo of a "mud puppy".

Friday, March 19, 2010

Afton State Park

Went for a short run at Afton SP today. Ran the snowshoe loop. It was quite chilly in the open areas. The ground was soft with very little snow. The trails can be easily damaged when they are this soft. We just need to stay on the trails.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just visiting

My nephew is on leave from Afghanistan. Here is a photo as he arrived at the airport. It is so good to have him back, even if it is just for a little while.

Bird report: the Downy Woodpeckers are diving at the Red-bellied Woodpecker. Three pairs of geese are on the middle pond and at least one pair of mallards. The wood ducks were in and out of the wood duck house - not sure if they are going to stay.

Out by Afton and Carpenter Nature Center I saw a Sandhill Crane, several raptors (too high to positively identify), a bluebird, crows, robins, juncos, goldfinches, chickadees, geese, ducks, and heard a killdeer.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wood Ducks - check this out !!

In the video, the birds are singing in the background so the sound may be a little loud. If you listen carefully, you can hear the ducks calling. There are at least 3 wood duck houses in the area and some hollow trees so we may have nesting pairs again this year !

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The squirrels are up on the deck for their breakfast. The birds are making a lot of noise - mallards, white-breasted nuthatches, goldfinches, chickadees, a red-bellied woodpecker, a pileated woodpecker and geese. I heard my first red-winged blackbird.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Signs of Spring

In our backyard today the snow is gone !

So far, I've seen a Mourning Cloak butterfly, 2 chipmunks, robins, cardinals, mallards and geese, a Mourning Dove, and spiders in the backyard. The daffodils are 1 -2" tall and some of the perennials are green ! Oh, and did I mention dandelions?

There were 7 eagles on the ice along Hwy 61 and the railroad yard in St. Paul this morning.

Other signs: woodpeckers drumming, squirrels adding to their nests.

Afton 3/14/2010

Tried running at Afton State Park on Sunday. It was about 95% ice on the trails. The other 5% was snow or grass or mud.

But we did see several Red-Tailed Hawks, American Robins, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, and a Merlin.

Just outside the park were 5 mature Bald Eagles and a American Kestrel.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kansas Weekend

We drove down to Kansas and back this past weekend. Here is a short video of a flock of snow geese as they are flying over an Iowa corn field on 3/11/2010 at sunset.

The first photo identifies the objects as Snow Geese. The second photo shows some of them preparing to land in the corn field. There appeared to be thousands in this continuous cloud of geese.