Lily-livered lollygagging listers successfully add Blue Ox

(Bovinis azureus babeii) to their Beltrami County mammal lists.

Clearwater-Beltrami MBW Summary

June 15 - 16 - 17, 2018

There were times when it seemed we weren't seeing much, especially as we tried to find something to look at during the rain on Saturday, and trying places that weren't as active as we had hoped. But eventually it all added up and pieced together nicely as we somehow managed a grand total of 150 species for this MBWeekend and pre-MBW.

Friday's pre-MBW was especially successful since we came up with no fewer than 128 species (all but 2 of these in Clearwater Co), even though there were only a few places of real note that we visited. Our stop at Upper Rice Lake yielded nice counts of 69 Red-necked Grebes and 105 Trump(eter) Swans (a.k.a. Donald Ducks?), and that remote impoundment within the Red Lake Sovereign Nation featured several birds for our "non-Clearwater County" lists: e.g., American Bitterns, Green Heron, a baby-on-board Common Loon, an inexplicably-popular Belted Kingfisher, and heard-only Virginia Rails that refused to walk up into view in that tick-infested grass. In between, of course, was the day's best birding at the Skoe rice paddies. Here we found 13 duck species (including American Black Duck), 2 or 3 very surprising American Avocets, an apparent family of Marbled Godwits (with juveniles), at least 20 very late-lingering White-rumped Sandpipers, and a pair of Wilson's Phalaropes.

Our time on Saturday and Sunday morning in Beltrami Co featured more rain (and mosquitoes!) than in Clearwater Co, and our species total for the county was 118 (including Friday's Common Terns) – mostly due to fewer ducks and other water birds. But the always impressive Big Bog boardwalk on Saturday gave us a responsive Black-backed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied (exceptional views) and Olive-sided flycatchers, Gray Jay, a distantly-heard Connecticut Warbler, and some close Palm Warblers on territory. En route from the parking lot to the boardwalk, there also were two fly-by Red Crossbills – along with one of the worst hordes of mosquitoes I can ever remember.

Sunday morning's loop in and around Bemidji mostly managed to avoid the rain, and en route to Bemidji State Park both groups had great looks at a close LeConte's Sparrow, a Red-headed Woodpecker along the same road, and some unexpected Dickcissels singing from two spots along Sunnyside Rd. Since the state park was on the quiet side, Doug suggested we move on to Three Culverts Rd, where things were more active. Along one stretch of this road we turned up a dozen species of warbler (including Northern Parula, Canada, Mourning, and an odd-sounding Blackburnian), and a bit later at another spot we tracked down some Black-throated Greens (for a total of 18 warblers on the weekend) as two Barred Owls serenaded us – with one of them finally emerging into view for all to see.          


C = Clearwater Co pre-MBW, June 15

B = Beltrami Co MBWeekend, June 16-17

Canada Goose        CB

Trumpeter Swan        CB

Wood Duck        CB

Blue-winged Teal        CB

Northern Shoveler        C

Gadwall        C

American Wigeon        C

Mallard        CB

American Black Duck        C

Northern Pintail        C

Green-winged Teal        CB

Redhead        C

Ring-necked Duck        C

Lesser Scaup        C

Common Goldeneye        CB

Hooded Merganser        CB

Common Merganser        B

Ruffed Grouse        B

Wild Turkey        B

Pied-billed Grebe        C

Red-necked Grebe        C

Rock Pigeon        CB

Mourning Dove        CB

Black-billed Cuckoo        C

Chimney Swift        CB

Ruby-throated Hummingbird        CB

Virginia Rail        C

Sora        C

American Coot        C

Sandhill Crane        CB

American Avocet        C

Killdeer        CB

Marbled Godwit        C

White-rumped Sandpiper        C

Wilson’s Snipe        CB

Spotted Sandpiper        CB

Wilson’s Phalarope        C

Ring-billed Gull        CB

Black Tern        C

Common Tern        B (on the June 15 pre-MBW)

Forster’s Tern        C

Common Loon        CB

Double-crested Cormorant        CB

American White Pelican        CB

American Bittern        C

Great Blue Heron        CB

Green Heron        CB

Turkey Vulture        CB

Osprey        CB

Bald Eagle        CB

Northern Harrier        C

Cooper’s Hawk        C

Broad-winged Hawk        CB

Red-tailed Hawk        CB

Barred Owl        B

Belted Kingfisher        C

Red-headed Woodpecker        CB

Red-bellied Woodpecker        CB

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker        CB

Downy Woodpecker        CB

Hairy Woodpecker        CB

Black-backed Woodpecker        B

Northern Flicker        CB

Pileated Woodpecker        CB

American Kestrel        CB

Merlin        CB

Olive-sided Flycatcher        B

Eastern Wood-Pewee        CB

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher        B

Alder Flycatcher        CB

Least Flycatcher        CB

Eastern Phoebe        C

Great Crested Flycatcher        CB

Eastern Kingbird        CB

Yellow-throated Vireo        CB

Blue-headed Vireo        C

Warbling Vireo        CB

Red-eyed Vireo        CB

Gray Jay        B

Blue Jay        CB

Black-billed Magpie        CB

American Crow        CB

Common Raven        CB

Purple Martin        CB

Tree Swallow        CB

N. Rough-winged Swallow        C

Bank Swallow        CB

Cliff Swallow        CB

Barn Swallow        CB

Black-capped Chickadee        CB

Red-breasted Nuthatch        CB

White-breasted Nuthatch        CB

House Wren        CB

Winter Wren        B

Sedge Wren        CB

Marsh Wren        C

Eastern Bluebird        CB

Veery        CB

Hermit Thrush        CB

American Robin        CB

Gray Catbird        CB

Brown Thrasher        CB

European Starling        CB

Cedar Waxwing        CB

House Sparrow        CB

House Finch        B

Purple Finch        CB

Red Crossbill        B

Pine Siskin        B

American Goldfinch        CB

Chipping Sparrow        CB

Clay-colored Sparrow        CB

Vesper Sparrow        C

Savannah Sparrow        CB

LeConte’s Sparrow        B

Song Sparrow        CB

Lincoln’s Sparrow        B

Swamp Sparrow        CB

White-throated Sparrow        CB

Yellow-headed Blackbird        C

Bobolink        CB

Eastern Meadowlark        C

Western Meadowlark        CB

Baltimore Oriole        CB

Red-winged Blackbird        CB

Brown-headed Cowbird        CB

Brewer’s Blackbird        CB

Common Grackle        CB

Ovenbird        CB

Northern Waterthrush        B

Golden-winged Warbler        CB

Black-and-white Warbler        CB

Nashville Warbler        CB

Connecticut Warbler        B

Mourning Warbler        CB

Common Yellowthroat        CB

American Redstart        CB

Northern Parula        B

Blackburnian Warbler        CB

Yellow Warbler        CB

Chestnut-sided Warbler        CB

Palm Warbler        B

Pine Warbler        B

Yellow-rumped Warbler        B

Black-throated Green Warbler        B

Canada Warbler        B

Scarlet Tanager        CB

Rose-breasted Grosbeak        CB

Indigo Bunting        CB

Dickcissel        B

Also see the 2018 MBW summary

following the summary of the 2023 MBWeekend


Beltrami County MBW Summary

June 21 - 22 - 23, 2023

Note that our Black-legged Kittiwake was an adult in summer plumage.

Except for a record of an adult a week earlier in Cass County,

all previous MN records have been of first-cycle immatures –

usually juveniles during fall migration. (Rose Shea photo)

Without looking at any weather data, I’d guess that I managed to pick the two hottest days this month for doing a MBW in this county. What was I thinking? On Wednesday and Thursday (as well as en route to Bemidji on Tuesday), the afternoon highs approached 90, with high humidity on Thursday especially, as it would hit 80 well before noon each day. At least it cooled off nicely on Friday morning. Such conditions tended to slow us down at times, though it was surprising to hear many birds still singing into the afternoon.

Given how large and sprawling Beltrami is, there were parts of some days when we seemed to do more driving than birding. That Big Bog country is just that: well, big – with few if any roads going to or through it. So it took longer than I would have liked to reach the better areas, even though we were based just a few minutes south of Lower Red Lake. As a result, we never managed to turn up such coniferous specialties as Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, or Connecticut Warbler.

But we still came up with a decent total of 133 species in all. True, this may be far short of the 150 we somehow managed to find on the June 2018 Beltrami MBW, which included more time in Clearwater County where there were more waterfowl and rice paddies. Also, birding the Big Bog boardwalk was more productive that year. At least this year provided those three exceptional rarities – a Piping Plover on the beach and Ponemah’s Lesser Black-backed Gull, both at Lower Red Lake, and that adult Black-legged Kittiwake at Waskish on Upper Red Lake! In all, we had no fewer than 9 species of gulls/terns at one or the other of these lakes, when only 4 or so would normally be expected.

I was also glad to finally see what that Moose River Impoundment looks like, at least from its gated ends, since there are hardly any places of note left in MN for me to visit for the first time. I’ll have to come back sometime between mid-July and mid-September when the gates are open to explore the rest of it. I also found it interesting that cuckoos, magpies, Golden-winged Warblers, and Dickcissels were relatively easy to find during this MBW, while at the same time we found hardly any cranes and no harriers at all. But none of that seemed to matter that much, not when we had no problem finding those birds that seemed to matter more than anything else to our intrepid county listers – cowbirds and meadowlarks!

Bird List

Total = 133 species; 131 in Beltrami + 2 in Clearwater-only

C = Clearwater Co. (morning of June 21)

Canada Goose          C

Trumpeter Swan          C

Wood Duck          C

Blue-winged Teal

Mallard          C

Green-winged Teal

Ring-necked Duck

Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

Ruffed Grouse

Pied-billed Grebe

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Black-billed Cuckoo          C

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Virginia Rail          C

Sora          C only

Sandhill Crane

Killdeer          C

Piping Plover

American Woodcock

Wilson’s Snipe          C

Spotted Sandpiper

Black-legged Kittiwake

Bonaparte’s Gull

Franklin’s Gull

Ring-billed Gull          C

Herring Gull          C

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Caspian Tern

Black Tern          C

Common Tern

Common Loon

Double-crested Cormorant          C

American White Pelican          C

American Bittern          C

Great Blue Heron          C

Green Heron

Turkey Vulture          C


Bald Eagle          C

Broad-winged Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker          C

Pileated Woodpecker

American Kestrel

Merlin          C

Great Crested Flycatcher          C

Eastern Kingbird          C

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher          C

Least Flycatcher          C

Eastern Phoebe

Yellow-throated Vireo          C

Blue-headed Vireo

Warbling Vireo          C

Red-eyed Vireo          C

Canada Jay

Blue Jay          C

Black-billed Magpie          C

American Crow          C

Common Raven          C

Black-capped Chickadee

Bank Swallow          C

Tree Swallow          C

Barn Swallow          C

Cliff Swallow          C

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Cedar Waxwing          C

Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

House Wren

Winter Wren

Sedge Wren          C

Marsh Wren          C

Gray Catbird          C

Brown Thrasher

European Starling

Eastern Bluebird

Veery          C

Hermit Thrush

Wood Thrush

American Robin

House Sparrow

House Finch

Purple Finch

American Goldfinch

Chipping Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

LeConte’s Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Song Sparrow          C

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Yellow-headed Blackbird          C only


Eastern Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

Baltimore Oriole          C

Red-winged Blackbird          C

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brewer’s Blackbird

Common Grackle          C

Ovenbird          C

Northern Waterthrush          C

Golden-winged Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Mourning Warbler

Common Yellowthroat          C

American Redstart          C

Northern Parula

Magnolia Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Yellow Warbler          C

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Palm Warbler

Pine Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Scarlet Tanager

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting          C


*          *          *