Henderson Feathers Update 11/29/22

Submitted by Art & Barb Straub

Meteorologists, women and men weather forecasters, must have nerves of steel! Consider the summer of 2022. We wonder how many ‘hate’ communications they received in a week’s time. How often did we hear of an inch of rain in the Henderson/LeSueur area, amounting to but a trace of precipitation repeatedly? People grumble, and their frustrations our on the humble prognosticators.

Our nature article this week will be on the editor/owner’s desk at 10:00 a.m. November 29th. Actual snow amounts will have occurred by the time the ‘Indy’ is on your doorstep November 1st. Only the Master Meteorolgist in the skies knows what we’ll experience between now and then. At this moment in time, early Tuesday morning, nuthatches, house sparrows, house finches, downy and hairy woodpeckers…all are participating in a pitched battle outside our window at the feeding station.
Radio KCHK just prognosticated four to six inches of ‘white stuff’ by Tuesday the 29th. In former times that precipitation was a given. Perhaps we’d best forget prior weather behavior and storm warnings and simply comment about it afterward.

Tap your memory of mid-December in 2021. The Star/Tribune headline of the 17th read “Historic and unreal December storms leave trail of damage in Minnesota.” And further, “A strong line of storms more reminiscent of May than December marched across the state Wednesday night leaving a trail of damage in their wake and dropped the first tornado ever reported in Minnesota in December.” In recent years we’ve experienced freezing rain, sleet storms, heavy wet snow, you name it, in late November, early to mid-December. On the other wing, November 27th of 2022 (last Sunday) chipmunks were about, pouches full to overflowing. Blue jays were popping sunflower seeds into their throat pouches; ant-eaters, the yellow shafted flickers, hopped about lawns searching for earthen meals; a few mourning doves remained, fluffed up and gorging themselves on millet. A single Fox sparrow and female Harris’s sparrow graced earth under the bird feeders In the woodland,

Interesting sights in the forest, many captured by trail cameras, were common. A white-tailed deer tried to stare down a tawny fox squirrel as the long-tailed squirrel sat upon a pumpkin in the farm garden. Camera did not report the aftermath of that event. Deer rut is going strong, and a prize trail photo shows a handsome buck deer nose to antlers with a small buck, one antler tine missing We wonder who bested the other in THAT skirmish.

Flocks of wild turkeys flounce about, an innate intelligence warning them to ‘gather ye acorns while ye may.’ Female turkeys have separated themselves from the males for the long winter, but should they walk in on males eating, the males will strut a puff to show their handsome bods off.

In addition to the ‘regular’ winter birds at the feeding stations, little strangers have bopped in to say “Hello,” grab a meal and be off to the south. The major thrill was the appearance of a Rusty blackbird from the Arctic; an early Purple finch fleeing a shortage of pine seeds in the north; plus, a sporty little Fox sparrow scurried about for seeds. Chowing down with dark-eyed juncos and other sparrows, the jaunty bird scritch-scratches near dense foliage with funny little chicken-like behavior. Foxies coming through the Henderson/LeSueur area tend to have dark splotches on the breast, and a gorgeous rusty-red hue to their feathers. As mentioned, they mix in with other sparrows, but their search for insects, small seeds and berries tip observers off to their identification.

Speaking of which, counting birds that is. Saturday, December 17, the NEY Center will conduct its TWENTY-SIXTH Christmas Bird Count. Circle that date if you will, for a special day of birding at NEY, at home, in the forests, fields and marshes. More information on this opportunity as a Citizen Scientist in the Henderson Independent issues to come!

Imprisoned by the predicted snow? Take a few moments with a good bird identification text, or tune in on the wondrous opportunities now available on your handy-dandy technological devices. See birders at NEY Center on December 17th.