Powderhorn Birdwatch “Nature matters”

610_ameagle_mississippiBY JOHN KARRIGAN

One of the mature Bald Eagles from last fall has returned to Powderhorn Park.  He (or she) was in the same tree (southeast lakeshore) as last year, on the same branch, on Monday, Oct. 27, and many of the park regulars saw him (or her).  That will be my column for November.
Well, I guess I could go on about other things I have seen and other things that have happened in October.  On the same day as the eagle sighting, I saw a few Song Sparrows and a few Goldfinches near the lakeshore. In the lake there were a moderate number of Mallards, a few Wood Ducks, one Pied-billed Grebe, one Red-breasted Merganser, a few Ring-billed Gulls and no Canada Geese (an unusual no-goose day).  A day earlier (Oct. 26), I saw about a thousand Canada Geese flying over the western area at Hastings, and several Bald Eagles in the rolling southeastern and Mississippi River (in Minnesota) area.
Back to the park.  I have not seen many migrating or unusual birds in the park in October, but some more may pass by before the winter strikes.  The White-throated Sparrows have left the park and back yard, but Juncos have arrived in the yard and probably in the park.  Election Day coming soon (probably the day this column comes out) and I always look for, and sometimes do find, Ruby-crowned Kinglets near the park building after I have voted.
Since I don’t have many Powderhorn things to write about, I could go back to the Mississippi River area again where I spent a nice five days in mid-month camping, half on the Wisconsin side and half on the Minnesota side, and half in the rain and half in great weather.  There were all kinds of ducks, coots, geese and eagles that did not seem to mind the rain on the Wisconsin side, and all kinds of eagles, coots, White-throated Sparrows and Juncos that were enjoying the then sunny Minnesota side.  We did not see any Tundra Swans; some people did.  We will probably make another river trip to see swans, more eagles, more ducks, and who knows what else.
Now to the very nice letter I received from a Pride reader, who lives not far from me.  Thank you very much.
Of course, the very nice letter had my first name spelled wrong because the October Pride had my first name spelled wrong.  Usually, it is my last name that gets spelled wrong.  At least they have never gone back to my real name before I went into the witness protection program.  Anyway, I may now sue Editor Ed for the name misspellings, and maybe I will end up owning the Southside Pride. I will not hassle any of the regular employees and the Pride will continue better than ever.

Comments and observations are always welcome. Send them to me, in care of Southside Pride. Thank you.

A reader’s response:
Dear Jonn [sic],
Just a few heartfelt words to let you know how much I appreciate your column in Southside Pride, and, more importantly, your bravery in articulating your reasons for skipping your column for September. Many, many people I know, including myself, find it understandably easy to get derailed from our faith in the world and our ability to participate in it in a meaningful way with so many horrible things occurring, seemingly perpetually.
In such chaotic times, one thing that keeps me grounded is reading about the small natural miracles that unfold in our midst: birds, turtles, bats and the humans who love and celebrate them in our own beloved corner of our urban experience. The sight of a Great Blue Heron in Powderhorn Park never fails to lift my spirits. And knowing that you (and others) are keeping careful watch of our feathered, furry, finned and other “cousins” is helpful to my soul. What you do in your column matters—it helps create a small breath of sanity that helps many of us breathe a little deeper.
Thank you!
Carey HeartBorne

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