What 's Been Happening

  • Blog Post by: T.R. Michels
  • May 14, 2012 - 4:11 PM .

God bless and enjoy Gods great outdoors,



Well, as Ricky said to Lucy on the old Lucy Ball show- "You’ve got some splainin’ to do Lucy."
I haven’t been around much for a number of reasons. The least of which was my wife’s diagnosis of lung cancer in July of last year. I’m happy to say that with a lot of faith in Yahweh-God, lots of prayers, and her positive bordering on ornery attitude (I am not going to die!), and great doctors, chemotherapy and radiation, followed by complete removal of her left lung, my wife is on her way to a full if slightly limited recovery. But, we almost lost her 2 time sin the4 hospital and once at home.

While my wife was in the hospital, my youngest daughter was recovering from bariatiric surgery. While she has lost over 100 pounds in a year, she has had numerous complication with her liver, a hiatal hernia, low blood sugar with her diabetes, etc. She was actually in the hospital while my wife was in the hospital.

While all that was going on I was suffering from a massive skin infection (MRSA), during which I lost enough blood that my blood count and hemoglobin count were low, and I experienced exhaustion for about three months. There were several days a week when I could not force myself to get out of bed. But, IU; on the mend. Enough to that I’ve been going some photography at the MN Zoo, and some birding.

This year in our backyard we have had only one notable newcomer, a Great-crested Flycatcher, which probably was only stopping by for a rest, because I have not heard it lately. I have not seen the American Redstart that I saw onetime near our bird feeder last year, nor have I seen the Common Yellowthroat, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-bellied Woodpecker or Baltimore Oriel, but I have heard them. I have not seen or heard a Purple Finch or a European House Sparrow either, although we are within 20 yards of a residential district, where I am sure they can be found. This puzzles me for the third straight year..

We had a flock of White-throated Sparrows and a White-Crowned Sparrow along with the Dark-eyed Juncos this winter. Our normal resident birds include Red-tailed Hawk, Common Crow, American Cardinal, Blue Jay, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatch, Song Sparrow, Mourning Dove, Mallard, Giant Canada Geese, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and Green Heron. Because we are not more than a mile form the Mississippi river we often see Turkey Vulture, Double–crested Cormorants, Bald Eagles and Tundra Swans. We saw about four species of Diver ducks during spring migration last year, but none this year, and our Wood Ducks are not present either. So, we hve had 24 species this year, do wn form about 33 last year.

Last year I did not get out in time to see the Whooping Cranes, which were seen not more than 5 miles from our old house in SE MN last year- so I was determined not to miss seeing the Ibis that was seen on 180 Street, not more than 6 or 7 miles south of where we now live, just of Highway 52. So, upon seeing mention on the Birding on the Net site on the Internet, I jumped in the cat and drove out there. And sure enough I saw, not close, but close enough that I got some blurry photos for identification. And from what I saw on the computer, it appeared to be a White-faced Ibis. I alos saw a pair of Greater YellowLegs, Kildeer, two drake Northern Shovelers, a pair of Lessser Scaup (bluebills for you hunters) and a Red-tailed Hawk.

Anyhow, I hope to pot a bit more frequently as I recover from my exhaustion, and walking to build my strength back up. But, now I’ve got a case of cellulitis in my feet, with a lot of swelling, rash and pain. Add that to the neuropathy of the feet I got as a result of being on methodone for pain (which did not work) that resulted in edema/swellig of the feet, and I feel like my feet are on fire, which makes it difficult to walk. But, being in pain with sciatica since I was 19, 44 years ago, and with at least 10 pinched nerves in my neck and back and chronic atypical facial pain in my face, l just have to learn to live with it, and push on. If you are looking for a natural history tour for any of our rarer Midwest bird species, or a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park this summer, with my good friend Dr. Mike Brooks as our resident guide, please contact me at Trinity Mountain Outdoor Adventures,


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