A Week That Was, Many Hues of Feathers!!!

Submitted by Art & Barb Straub,

Mom Nature really outdid herself the week beginning May 17th, and the excitement doesn’t seem to be over. Folks who had never experienced the skies raining northern and orchard orioles, male and female scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, hermit and wood thrushes, even red-headed woodpeckers at numerous feeders; felt sated by week’s end. Hanley Falls, Redwood Falls, Mankato, Green Isle, Waconia, Faribault and area, and especially Henderson/LeSueur birdgazers had lots to talk about wherever you met them. The main topic of conversation had to do with numbers, numbers, numbers of avian flyers. The full moon of May seemed to trigger the influx.

Some lucky bird chasers were blessed with the sight of female monarch butterflies. Yes, milk weed in undisturbed urban flowerbeds and rural ditches shot to a height of six to eight inches as if overnight. Can you begin to imagine how the battered females reached Minnesota? If you are a denizen of the Henderson levees, surely the monarchs have begun to clumsily search for their special weed, lay a hundred eggs, and the task being over, will die. Observations from the levee will surely be welcome at 665.2658.

Tiny fawn hoofprints are prevalent in the woodland, although the does look the worse for wear. A spotted wee one was discovered in LeSueur, and flood fleeing does will surely drop their fawns in Henderson soon as well; although the does look like scrambled eggs and morel fungi, summer color showing through the bedraggled hair.

An unforgettable sighting occurred on Tuesday, May 21st, when a well-known Hendersonite, traveling from that fair city to LeSueur on Hwy #93, encountered EIGHT river otters crossing the pocked highway. This person, of distinguished veracity was as surprised as the mammals, and left the observer gasping. It is common for adult otters to be killed at the intersection of Hwy #169 and #93 each spring, but to have this family trotting or shall we say bouncing across the road near the Rush River bridge is astounding. Normally, after a year of pregnancy, five or six young are born, but the reporter postulated that these were not babies, perhaps last year’s offspring traveling with parents? With all of the unusual occurrences of the spring of 2019 anything can happen, and does.

Vern Bienfang reported a really odd and sad experience on May 17th. This has been an unforgettable year for Vern, with poultry laying their eggs in strange places, meaning he’s had to rescue the eggs, pop them in his many incubators and hope for the best. While doing chores, Vern discovered a number of nests so badly saturated by frequent downpours, the weight of the water caused the nests to break asunder, meaning that the babies fell to the earth and died of exposure. The nests simply melted. Not a pleasant sight nor experience to say the least.

In spite of it all, a young sandhill crane (colt) was spied with its parents close to Ottawa, while Canada geese families seem to have brought off small clans of goslings, which are growing like goslings and will be attempting flight in a matter of weeks. Sylvia Swan, the female trumpeter, continues to hide behind the willows on the Coachlight, while Sylvan keeps a wary eye on the sky. So MUCH to report on, so little time. Enjoy the few precious moments of sunshine. Sing “June Will Be Busting Out All Over,” just like the Minnesota River.