*          *          *


April 21 - 22 - 23, 2017

Summary by Craig Mandel (with minor edits by KRE)

The North Ottawa Impoundment in Grant County proved to be the most productive location on the trip, with a large variety of waterfowl and shorebirds there to study. In addition, the Greater Prairie-Chickens were much easier to hear and see there than at Rothsay WMA. The Western Grebes we relocated on there on Sunday were also fun to see, as were the Sanderling and Willet found that day. American Golden Plovers were also observed in a number of locations.  

In Otter Tail County, we made an evening visit to Adams Park each evening to observe the Great Egret rookery on Grotto Lake and the Black-crowned Night-Herons that were nesting in the spruce trees [AKA pine trees? -KRE] over the picnic shelter. We also were able to see a Great Horned Owl in a nearby woods. 

My thanks to all who came on this MBW, especially those who drove during the weekend, and to Nancy for her tips on the herons and owl in Fergus Falls.  -Craig


Composite Bird List (105 species) 

G = Grant County (April  21, 23)

T = Traverse County (April 21)

O = Otter Tail County (April 21, 22, 23)

W = Wilkin County (April 22)

Canada Goose      GTOW

Trumpeter Swan      GW

Wood Duck      GTOW

Gadwall      GW

American Wigeon      GW

Mallard      GTOW

Blue-winged Teal      GTOW

Northern Shoveler      GTOW

Northern Pintail      GW

Green-winged Teal      GTOW

Canvasback      GOW

Redhead      GOW

Ring-necked Duck      GOW

Greater Scaup      G

Lesser Scaup      GW

Bufflehead      GOW

Hooded Merganser      GO

Common Merganser      G

Ruddy Duck      GW

Ring-necked Pheasant      GOW

Greater Prairie-Chicken      GW

Wild Turkey      W

Pied-billed Grebe      GW

Horned Grebe      GW

Western Grebe      G

Rock Pigeon      GOW

Eurasian Collared-Dove      GW

Mourning Dove      GOW

Sora      W

American Coot      GOW

Sandhill Crane      W

American Golden-Plover      GTW

Killdeer      GTOW

Marbled Godwit      GW

Sanderling      G

Least Sandpiper      G

Pectoral Sandpiper      GW

Long-billed Dowitcher      G

Wilson's Snipe      GW

Greater Yellowlegs      GW

Willet      G

Lesser Yellowlegs      GW

Bonaparte's Gull      GW

Franklin's Gull      GW

Ring-billed Gull      GTOW

Herring Gull      GT

Common Loon      G

Double-crested Cormorant      GTOW

American White Pelican      GOW

American Bittern      GW

Great Blue Heron      GO

Great Egret      GOW

Black-crowned Night-Heron      O

Turkey Vulture      GO

Osprey      O

Bald Eagle      GOW

Northern Harrier      GOW

Sharp-shinned Hawk      GW

Cooper's Hawk      W

Broad-winged Hawk      W

Red-tailed Hawk      GOW

Great Horned Owl      GO

Belted Kingfisher      GO

Red-bellied Woodpecker      GW

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker      W

Downy Woodpecker      GOW

Hairy Woodpecker      G

Northern Flicker      GOW

Pileated Woodpecker      G

American Kestrel      GW

Eastern Phoebe      GOW

Blue Jay      GW

American Crow      GOW

Horned Lark      GW

Tree Swallow      GOW

Northern Rough-winged Swallow      G

Barn Swallow      GTW

Black-capped Chickadee      GW

White-breasted Nuthatch      OW

Brown Creeper      W

House Wren      G

Ruby-crowned Kinglet      GOW

Eastern Bluebird      GOW

Hermit Thrush      GO

American Robin      GTOW

Brown Thrasher      GW

European Starling      GW

House Sparrow      GOW

House Finch      GOW

Purple Finch      O

Orange-crowned Warbler      GW

Yellow-rumped Warbler      GOW

Chipping Sparrow      GOW

Clay-colored Sparrow      G

Vesper Sparrow      GTW

Savannah Sparrow      GW

Song Sparrow      GOW

Swamp Sparrow      GW

White-throated Sparrow      GOW

Dark-eyed Junco      GOW

Red-winged Blackbird      GTOW

Western Meadowlark      GTW

Yellow-headed Blackbird      GTOW

Common Grackle      GOW

Brown-headed Cowbird      GTOW

*          *          *

Grant Co - Rothsay WMA Summary

April 19-20-21, 2019

Given that this MBWeekend was in western Minnesota in April, when windy days are typical, cold temperatures often persist, snowstorms are not unusual...well, we shouldn’t complain too much about the weather. True, those high winds really impacted our birding efforts on Saturday morning and Sunday, but it was basically pleasant all day on Friday, Saturday afternoon (in the low 70s), and Saturday evening, rainfall was almost non-existent, and we were never snowed on.

In all, then, we compiled a respectable list of 113 species during our 2 1/2 days. Our highlights on Friday’s pre-MBW, which was mostly in Grant County (plus some in Otter Tail Co and a bit on the Traverse Co side of North Ottawa impoundment), included a lingering group of Tundra Swans, Horned Grebes at two spots, a few fly-by Sandhill Cranes (we eventually saw cranes in all three counties), a couple of early Forster’s Terns, a late Rough-legged Hawk, plus a wide variety of ducks (18 species) in the numerous flooded fields and other wetlands we encountered.

Saturday’s highlights (mostly in Wilkin County) featured territorial Marbled Godwits and distant prairie-chickens at Rothsay WMA (our views of another lek in the evening were somewhat better), an American Bittern en route to Breckenridge, at least 4 Swainson’s Hawks, a modest but surprising kettle of buteos (including Broad-wingeds and a Swainson’s) riding a thermal over Breckenridge, and a nice total of 10 shorebird species – with most of these at the Breckenridge sewage ponds, including 2 unexpected Dunlins.

And on Sunday morning, all in Otter Tail County, we began with a copulating pair of pale richardsoni Merlins in Ferg (the males of this race are a soft powder blue), a nice variety of passerines (including a singling Winter Wren) at Oak Grove Cemetery, and Palm and Orange-crowned warblers below the dam at Orwell WMA feasting with Yellow-rumpeds and Tree Swallows on a recent insect hatch.

Bird List

Fri = found on April 19 pre-MBW, mostly Grant County (also Otter Tail, Traverse)

Sat = found on April 20, mostly Wilkin County (also Otter Tail)

Sun = found on April 21, Otter Tail County

Snow Goose        Fri       

Canada Goose        Fri, Sat, Sun

Trumpeter Swan        Fri, Sat, Sun

Tundra Swan        Fri

Wood Duck        Fri, Sun

Blue-winged Teal        Fri, Sat, Sun

Northern Shoveler        Fri, Sat, Sun

Gadwall        Fri, Sat, Sun

American Wigeon        Fri, Sat

Mallard        Fri, Sat, Sun

Northern Pintail        Fri, Sat, Sun

Green-winged Teal        Fri, Sat, Sun

Canvasback        Fri, Sat, Sun

Redhead        Fri, Sat

Ring-necked Duck        Fri, Sat, Sun

Lesser Scaup        Fri, Sat, Sun

Bufflehead        Fri, Sat, Sun

Common Goldeneye        Fri

Hooded Merganser        Fri, Sat

Common Merganser        Fri

Red-breasted Merganser        Fri

Ruddy Duck        Fri

Ring-necked Pheasant        Fri, Sat, Sun

Greater Prairie-Chicken        Sat

Wild Turkey        Fri, Sat, Sun

Pied-billed Grebe        Fri, Sat, Sun

Horned Grebe        Fri

Rock Pigeon        Fri, Sat, Sun

Eurasian Collared-Dove        Fri, Sat

Mourning Dove        Fri, Sat, Sun

American Coot        Fri, Sat, Sun

Sandhill Crane        Fri, Sat, Sun

Killdeer        Fri, Sat, Sun

Marbled Godwit        Sat

Dunlin        Sat

Baird’s Sandpiper        Sat

Pectoral Sandpiper        Sat

American Woodcock        Sat

Wilson’s Snipe        Fri, Sat

Solitary Sandpiper        Sat

Lesser Yellowlegs        Fri, Sat

Greater Yellowlegs        Fri, Sat

Bonaparte’s Gull        Fri, Sun

Ring-billed Gull        Fri, Sat, Sun

Herring Gull        Fri

Forster’s Tern        Fri

Common Loon        Fri, Sun

Double-crested Cormorant        Fri, Sat, Sun

American White Pelican        Fri, Sat, Sun

American Bittern        Sat

Great Blue Heron        Fri, Sat, Sun

Great Egret        Fri, Sat, Sun

Black-crowned Night-Heron        Fri

Turkey Vulture        Fri, Sat

Northern Harrier        Fri, Sat, Sun

Sharp-shinned Hawk        Fri, Sun

Cooper’s Hawk        Fri, Sun

Bald Eagle        Fri, Sat, Sun

Broad-winged Hawk        Sat

Swainson’s Hawk        Sat

Red-tailed Hawk        Fri, Sat, Sun

Rough-legged Hawk        Fri

Great Horned Owl        Sun

Belted Kingfisher        Fri, Sat, Sun

Red-bellied Woodpecker        Sun

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker        Fri, Sun

Downy Woodpecker        Fri, Sat, Sun

Hairy Woodpecker        Sat

Northern Flicker        Fri, Sat, Sun

Pileated Woodpecker         Sat, Sun

American Kestrel        Fri, Sat

Merlin        Sun

Eastern Phoebe        Fri, Sat, Sun

Blue Jay        Fri, Sat, Sun

American Crow        Fri, Sat, Sun

Horned Lark        Fri, Sat, Sun

Tree Swallow        Fri, Sat, Sun

Barn Swallow        Sat

Black-capped Chickadee        Fri, Sat, Sun

White-breasted Nuthatch        Fri, Sat, Sun

Brown Creeper        Fri, Sun

Winter Wren        Sun

Golden-crowned Kinglet        Sun

Ruby-crowned Kinglet        Fri, Sat, Sun

Eastern Bluebird        Fri, Sun

Hermit Thrush        Fri, Sat

American Robin        Fri, Sat, Sun

Brown Thrasher         Sat, Sun

European Starling        Fri, Sat, Sun

Cedar Waxwing        Fri, Sun

House Sparrow        Fri, Sat, Sun

House Finch        Fri, Sat, Sun

Purple Finch        Fri, Sun

Pine Siskin        Sun

American Tree Sparrow        Fri, Sat

Chipping Sparrow        Fri, Sat, Sun

Vesper Sparrow        Fri, Sat

Savannah Sparrow        Fri, Sat

Fox Sparrow        Fri, Sun

Song Sparrow        Fri, Sat, Sun

White-throated Sparrow        Fri, Sun

Dark-eyed Junco        Fri, Sat, Sun

Yellow-headed Blackbird        Fri, Sat, Sun

Western Meadowlark        Fri, Sat

Red-winged Blackbird        Fri, Sat, Sun

Brown-headed Cowbird        Fri, Sat, Sun

Rusty Blackbird        Fri, Sat

Brewer’s Blackbird         Sat, Sun

Common Grackle        Fri, Sat, Sun

Orange-crowned Warbler        Sun

Palm Warbler        Sun

Yellow-rumped Warbler        Fri, Sat, Sun

Northern Cardinal        Sun

Also see the 2019 and 2017 MBW summaries

following the summary of the 2023 MBWeekend


Rothsay MBWeekend Summary

April 13 - 14, 2023 

(summary by Craig Mandel, with edits by KRE)

Mark Mueller photo

While we were not lucky enough to have had those 80 degree days that were occurring in SE Minnesota, it did remain dry and in the 50s and 60s for most of the trip. (The little rain we did receive occurred during our rest stop in Elbow Lake.) While the Eurasian Tree Sparrow and White-faced Ibis were some nice finds, the large numbers of swans and geese migrating on both days had to be the highlight for me. It was fun to see the large number of waterfowl in flight overhead and in some of the flooded fields. Despite the lakes being frozen, we still recorded 26 species of waterfowl.

In addition to being a first Wilkin County record, the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is a new species for the all-time MBW composite list, which is now at 368 species seen in Minnesota during MBWeekends! (This species had never been seen on any out-of-state MBWeeks, either.)       


Greater Prairie-Chicken numbers seemed to be down, with the only ones found were on their 190th St lek at Rothsay WMA. I wonder if the large numbers of Ring-necked Pheasants have reduced the number of prairie- chickens in the area, since pheasants are known to be nest parasites as they lay eggs in the nests of other gallinaceous species.

Besides waterfowl, hundreds of Lapland Longspurs were found as well, with many close-up views in all four counties. In all we observed a total of 101 species for the two days, which seems pretty good for an early April trip in a year when winter just doesn’t want to end.  


Bird List 


W = Wilkin County (April 13) 

C = Clay County (April 13) 

O = Otter Tail County (April 14) 

G = Grant County (April 14) 

Snow Goose     WCOG

Ross’s Goose     WOG

Greater White-fronted Goose     WCOG

Cackling Goose     WCOG  

Canada Goose     WCOG

Trumpeter Swan     WCOG

Tundra Swan     WCOG  

Wood Duck     WCOG

Blue-winged Teal     WCOG

Northern Shoveler     WCOG

Gadwall     WCOG

American Wigeon     WCOG

Mallard     WCOG

Northern Pintail     WCG

Green-winged Teal     WCOG

Canvasback     WCOG

Redhead     WCOG

Ring-necked Duck     WCOG

Greater Scaup     WCO

Lesser Scaup     WCOG

Bufflehead     WCOG

Common Goldeneye     WCOG

Hooded Merganser     WCOG

Common Merganser     W

Red-breasted Merganser     G

Ruddy Duck     WCOG

Wild Turkey     W

Greater Prairie-Chicken     W

Ring-necked Pheasant – WCOG

Pied-billed Grebe     WCOG

Horned Grebe     OG

Red-necked Grebe     OG

Rock Pigeon     WCOG

Eurasian Collared-Dove     WOG

Mourning Dove     WCOG

American Coot     WCOG

Sandhill Crane     WC

Killdeer     WCOG

Baird’s Sandpiper     O

Pectoral Sandpiper     O

Wilson’s Snipe     WCO

Lesser Yellowlegs     COG

Greater Yellowlegs     WCOG

Ring-billed Gull     WCOG

Double-crested Cormorant     WO

American White Pelican     WO

Great Blue Heron     WCO

White-faced Ibis     C

Turkey Vulture     WCOG

Northern Harrier     WCO

Sharp-shinned Hawk     C

Bald Eagle     WCOG

Red-tailed Hawk     WCOG

Rough-legged Hawk     WC

Belted Kingfisher     WO

Red-bellied Woodpecker     WCG

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     O

Downy Woodpecker     WC

Hairy Woodpecker     WO

Northern Flicker     WCOG

Pileated Woodpecker     WO

American Kestrel     WCOG

Eastern Phoebe     WOG

Blue Jay     WCG

American Crow     WCOG

Common Raven     W

Black-capped Chickadee     W

Horned Lark     WCOG

Tree Swallow     WOG

Ruby-crowned Kinglet    WOG

Golden-crowned Kinglet     WO

Cedar Waxwing     W

White-breasted Nuthatch     WCG

Brown Creeper     W

Eastern Bluebird     WO

Hermit Thrush     G

American Robin     WCOG

House Sparrow     WCOG

Eurasian Tree Sparrow     W

House Finch     WCOG

Purple Finch     C

Lapland Longspur     WCOG

Snow Bunting     C

Chipping Sparrow     O

Fox Sparrow     WCOG

American Tree Sparrow     WCOG

Dark-eyed Junco     WCOG

Vesper Sparrow     WOG

Savannah Sparrow     O

Song Sparrow     WCOG

Swamp Sparrow     W

Yellow-headed Blackbird     CO

Western Meadowlark     WCOG

Red-winged Blackbird     WCOG

Brown-headed Cowbird     WCOG

Rusty Blackbird     WCOG

Brewer's Blackbird     WG

Common Grackle     WCOG

Yellow-rumped Warbler     O

Northern Cardinal     W

Darcy Pinotti photo