Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse - December 21, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Canada Goose

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mourning Dove

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Black-billed Magpie

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Harris's Sparrow

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Savannah Sparrow

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Butterfly on Red Salvia

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monarch Butterfly

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Loggerhead Shrike

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Minnesota River Valley....August 2010

After a nice stay in Sibley State Park I headed south to the Minnesota River Valley camping at Fort Ridgely State Park. This is a very scenic part of southern Minnesota, it has a wide valley with steep tree covered bluffs on both sides. The town of New Ulm on the Minnesota River was settled by Germans and has several celebrations each year to celebrate that heritage. High on the hill south of downtown New Ulm stands the 102 foot tall Hermann Monument which was dedicated in 1897, it has a viewing platform near the top providing great views. Near Mankato is Minneopa State Park which has two beautiful waterfalls and several buildings built by the WPA in the late 1930s, it was Minnesota's third state park, established in 1905. Fort Ridgely State Park, where I camped, became a state park in 1911 as a memorial to the old fort that was built in 1853, the fort was the site of a seige in the U.S.-Dakota Conflict in August 1862. The CCC built several buildings at the park in the 1930s, all of them are still standing. Fort Ridgely was one of the few state parks in southern Minnesota I had never visited, I was pleasantly surprised by it's beauty and the thickly wooded campground offered great birding with many Warbler species and a Pileated Woodpecker.

Minnesota River

Lower Falls and Footbridge at Minneopa State Park near Mankato

Upper Falls Minneopa State Park

Building constructed by the WPA in 1939....Minneopa State Park

New Ulm

Hermann Monument In New Ulm's Hermann Heights Park is 102 foot tall

Stairway to the Dome

Brickwork inside the Monument's Dome

Spire at Martin Luther College from the Monument

Lion on the Monument overlooks New Ulm

The Hermann Statue is 32 foot tall

New Ulm and the heavily wooded bluffs along the Minnesota River

The Shelter House/Beach House at Flandrau State Park on the south side of New Ulm was built by the WPA in 1938

The Schell Brewery is a New Ulm landmark that's celebrating it's 150th Anniversary in 2010

Black-eyed Susan in the Schell Brewery Gardens

Begonias at the Schell Brewery

My campsite at Fort Ridgely State Park was a great place for Birding

Arched Footbridge at the Campground

Water Tower and Maintenance Building....Fort Ridgely State Park

The Commissary Building, restored in the 1930s by the Veterans Conservation Corps is the only remaining building of Old Fort Ridgely

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel on the lawn near the Commissary Building

Scene along the highway in the beautiful Minnesota River Valley

Monday, August 30, 2010

Minnesota's Sibley State Park....August 2010

Last week I took a short vacation to Minnesota, a place I've traveled to in August eighteen of the last twenty-one Summers. I camped in state parks with my first stop being Sibley where I spent two nights. Sibley State Park was established in 1919, it was named for Minnesota's first governor, Henry Sibley, who enjoyed spending time in the area. The Civilian Conservation Corps known as the CCC did extensive work in the park beginning in 1935, they constructed roads and trails and also built several stone and log "rustic style" buildings. The area of the park is on the Alexandria Moraine which runs in a fairly narrow band through west-central Minnesota and is characterized by lakes, high hills, and forest. It's a beautiful place to spend time in late August.

Lake Andrew...swimming beach and boat dock

West end of Lake Andrew

Bee on a Wild Aster

The next three photos are of buildings erected by the CCC in the 1930s. Note the stone drinking fountain, there are many throughout the park.

Water tower

Beautiful workmanship which has stood the test of time.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird near the Visitor Center

A stand of Paper Birch near the Campground

Interpretive Center


A small lake behind the Interpretive Center

Observation Deck on Mount Tom...highest point in the park

White-tailed Deer along the trail

A view from the top of the Mount Tom Observation Deck

Lily Pads

Water Lily bloom