Eloise butler flower garden

My research into Minnesota bird migration has introduced me to many new species. As I watch postings of area birders, I am amazed and enamored by several. The beauty of the internet- I am able to see and watch certain sightings and the environment that surrounds it. These lovely little creatures are captured in pictures and described online with their songs and precise locations.

Eloise Butler Flower Garden and Bird Sanctuary is on my list of places to visit and observe. The last time I was there when I was young- maybe 10 or so, biking with my mom and brother on the Theodore Wirth trail. I remembered it differently for some reason, expecting an orderly rows of flowers. I think I confused it with the Harriet Rose Gardens in my mind….its funny how you can do that.

Instead, its a wild and undisturbed section of the Twin Cities with winding paths, hills, benches, trees, plants and flowers- wild and native to the area. Its a perfect sanctuary and place for all living things to thrive, myself included.

An early morning walk in the woods is a perfect way to start the day. Listening. watching, absorbing.

Here is what I found:

Wild Turkeys- so prehistoric and strange. I’ve noticed them everywhere these days- they are gigantic, calm and fairly confident although I did not get too close.

Downy Woodpecker- alert, bouncing and happy little guy.

So many bird calls! My language learning in bird calls is still developing and I refuse to have my phone out to try and identify. It doesn’t seem quite right in this place.

Female Red Wing Black Birds. Several, I think. So loud and demanding. I think their young or nests are nearby. They look so different from their male counterparts.

Dappled sunlight through beautiful green leaves.

Buoys across the lake that I hoped where herons or cranes:)

Here is what I learned:

There are no dogs allowed- luckily I did not bring my beast as birding and dogs do not seem to mix well.

A great place to learn more about plant identification. Native plants - wild bee balm or bergamot- and the clover- I am going to try this as a dye.

Patience is necessary and so is timing. 10 am seems to be too late for good birding as many retire from feeding and find a quiet place to rest.

Emily Donovan