Pale or albino hummingbird spotted north of Osage

We had frost in the meadow the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 12. From a window I thought I glimpsed a hummingbird at a feeder, so I went out to check on nectar levels. When I opened the feeder, the bit of nectar left inside was slushy with ice. The...

We had frost in the meadow the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 12.

From a window I thought I glimpsed a hummingbird at a feeder, so I went out to check on nectar levels. When I opened the feeder, the bit of nectar left inside was slushy with ice.

The last time I saw a hummer for certain was Monday, Sept. 10.

Kathy and Arthur Yliniemi, who live near Osage, had an unusual hummingbird visit their feeders Aug. 30. An albino ruby-throated hummer hung around their patio for two days. "Has anyone else seen one?" they wondered.

The Yliniemi's sent along a photo, but the hummer is too small to show up well in newsprint.


This seems like a very unusual sighting to me, and I can only guess the hummingbird was in the midst of migrating, since I haven't had any reports of other albino or leucistic (lacking normal pigmentation, but still possessing some color) hummers.

Also, I just want everyone to know that if you send me a photo and I don't use it in the column, it's not because I don't want to. Newsprint gobbles up details, and sometimes the resolution on digital photos isn't high enough to stand up in print. Also, some photos look good in color, but when they're reduced to black, white and gray, they lose everything.

Still, I appreciate getting pictures, and I hope you will keep taking the time to send them!

Bear update

Last week I reported on a smallish bear wandering around the north end of Blue Lake, near Bobbi Jacobson's place. She said it was an orphan, and I thought she meant it was a yearling.

I talked with some more folks up at Blue Lake, however, and they thought the bear wasn't even big enough to be a yearling.

I would guestimate that the yearling I saw earlier in the summer weighed around 125 to 150 pounds. If the Blue Lake bear was smaller than that, then I'm guessing it was a cub whose mother has been killed.

I apologize for any confusion. Sometimes it's hard to gauge the size of an animal even when I see a photo.


One additional note: I heard the Blue Lake bear was very stinky. Maybe it had a run-in with a skunk?

Snappy tale

I'm not the only one having close encounters of the snapping kind.

Mary Allard of Straight River Township not only stopped for a huge snapping turtle crossing the road, she escorted it across the road.

Noel, her husband, said she made him stop on the shoulder of 34 when the two were headed to Walker. Mary then grabbed the snapper by the tail and dragged it across the road in the direction the turtle was going.

By grabbing the snapper by the tail, Mary avoided the powerful jaws.

(I've also heard you can carry a snapper by allowing it to clamp onto a branch with its mouth, and then carrying the branch and the snapper.)

"We have done this several times over the years," Noel wrote. "A turtle that big could be as old as 30 years or more, I read. It would be a shame to have those wise old-timers get crunched."


Very small snapping turtles were on the move at Phyllis and John Sochko's in Nevis.

Phyllis photographed a mother snapping turtle laying eggs in the driveway June 13. Nearly three months later, on Sept. 5, baby snappers began emerging from the nest.

"They poked their heads out and pulled their bodies from the hole," Phyllis wrote. "Two headed directly in the direction of the lake, although we are 30 feet above the lake and it is not visible from (the driveway)."

Unlike painted turtle hatchlings that hatch out in summer but remain inside their nests until the following spring in our area, snapping turtle hatchlings must spend the winter buried in mud to escape freezing temperatures.

Phyllis said her husband John put a grate over the turtle nest for a few days after the mother laid the eggs. She said he did this because "our grandchildren have watched turtles laying their eggs before and been so disappointed to see them dug up by the critters during the night."

Fox, vultures

In other nature news: I continue to see many turkey vultures circling and feasting on road kill. I've also noticed a lot of flickers. I saw a red fox along CSAH 40 the evening of Sept. 6, along with lots of frogs or toads hopping across County Road 48 in Becker County after the rain. I spotted a walking stick on a window screen Sept. 7.

Thanks to all who wrote with news. When sending your reports, be sure to give your name and a little information on where you made your sighting. Send to mau


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