I suppose the one constructive thing you could say about unfavorable weather is that it provides Your Spineless, Wishy-Washy Tour Leader with an excuse when birds don’t perform as planned. I’d have to say, then, that the cold front and accompanying rain showers on Monday must have had something to do with only a few of you being able to briefly hear that invisible Yellow-throated Warbler, and with none of us even hearing a Bell’s Vireo at the “usual spot”. But I’d be at a loss to blame the weather for anything on the three previous days when we had decent temperatures, not much wind, and not really any rain. So, I still can’t explain why that singing Henslow’s Sparrow would only provide us with the briefest of flying-way looks, and I have no idea what that silent Eastern Whip-poor-will was doing while giving a few of us a mere fly-by glimpse of something going from one dirt field to another – and I still say it could have been a Jungle Nightjar! (At least we heard three whip-poor-wills later a few miles away.)

These few setbacks aside, this MBW provided us with a much longer list of successes, as we eventually came up with 136 species in all from Friday to Monday. Friday’s pre-MBW list in Fillmore Co. included 101 species, even though we covered just a small part of the county in the Spring Valley area. I suppose we could have seen more if we’d taken less than a 2 1/2 hour "lunch break” at Forestville State Park, which included a 2-mile hike that turned up 2 Acadian Flycatchers and a quite cooperative, vocal, and visible Winter Wren. Also found that day were an out-of-season (and apparently injured) Snow Goose, late-migrating Olive-sided Flycatchers (plus another the next day in Houston Co) and Philadelphia Vireo, and a surprising 13 warbler species – with 9 of these late migrants heading farther north.

The main MBW from Saturday to midday Monday, mostly in Houston Co, turned up 122 species and an even longer list of highlights. Sunday's Common Gallinule in La Crescent had to be the best of our finds, but noteworthy as well were a lost Am. Black Duck that should have been in northern MN, 2 Peregrine Falcons, a rufous-morph E. Screech-Owl seen by Craig’s group near Beaver Creek Valley State Park (BCVSP), at least 7 Acadian Flycatchers in and around BCVSP (for a grand total of 9), 2 Tufted Titmouse/Titmice/Titmouses (1 at BCVSP and 1 on Hillside Dr.), a pair of Louisiana Waterthrush next to our lunch spot at BCVSP (plus an elusive one wandering through a larger territory in the park), no fewer than 4 Cerulean Warblers (!: 1 at BCVSP and 3 along Hillside Dr. – this same MBW in recent years typically finds none), and Prothonotary Warblers at 3 places. The main MBW’s list included 6 new warblers we didn’t see on Friday, for an impressive overall total of 19 warbler species, 10 of these late-lingering migrants (in all, there were 14 migrant passerine species).

Bird List

F = Fillmore Co pre-MBW, May 26

H = Houston Co, May 27-28

W = Winona and/or Wabasha Co, May 29

Snow Goose      F (migrant)                                             

Canada Goose      FHW

Trumpeter Swan      FW

Wood Duck      FHW

American Black Duck      H (migrant?)

Mallard      FHW

Blue-winged Teal      FW

Northern Shoveler      H

Lesser Scaup      F (migrant)

Hooded Merganser      H

Ring-necked Pheasant      FH

Ruffed Grouse      F (heard-only)

Wild Turkey      FHW

Pied-billed Grebe      FH

Rock Pigeon      FHW

Eurasian Collared-Dove      FW

Mourning Dove      FHW

Yellow-billed Cuckoo      FH

Common Nighthawk      FH

Eastern Whip-poor-will      H (mostly heard-only)

Chimney Swift      FHW

Ruby-throated Hummingbird      FHW

Virginia Rail      FW

Sora      H (heard-only)

Common Gallinule      H

American Coot      FW

Sandhill Crane      FW

Killdeer      FHW

Spotted Sandpiper      H

Black Tern      FW

Forster's Tern      F

Double-crested Cormorant      H

American White Pelican      W

Great Blue Heron      FW

Great Egret      H

Green Heron      FH

Turkey Vulture      FHW

Bald Eagle      FHW

Red-shouldered Hawk      W

Red-tailed Hawk      FHW

Eastern Screech-Owl      H

Barred Owl      FH

Belted Kingfisher      FHW

Red-headed Woodpecker      FH

Red-bellied Woodpecker      FHW

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker      FHW

Downy Woodpecker      FHW

Hairy Woodpecker      FHW

Northern Flicker      FHW

Pileated Woodpecker      FHW

American Kestrel      FHW

Peregrine Falcon      FW

Olive-sided Flycatcher      FH (migrants)

Eastern Wood-Pewee      FHW

Acadian Flycatcher      FH

Alder Flycatcher      F (migrant)

Willow Flycatcher      FHW

Least Flycatcher      FHW

Eastern Phoebe      FHW

Great Crested Flycatcher      FHW

Eastern Kingbird      FHW

Yellow-throated Vireo      FHW

Warbling Vireo      FHW

Philadelphia Vireo      F (migrant)

Red-eyed Vireo      FHW

Blue Jay      FHW

American Crow      FHW

Horned Lark      FW

Purple Martin      FH

Tree Swallow      FHW

Northern Rough-winged Swallow      FHW

Bank Swallow      FHW

Cliff Swallow      FHW

Barn Swallow      FHW

Black-capped Chickadee      FHW

Tufted Titmouse      H

White-breasted Nuthatch      FHW

House Wren      FHW

Winter Wren      F

Sedge Wren      H (heard-only)

Marsh Wren      H

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher      FHW

Eastern Bluebird      FHW

Veery      FH

Swainson's Thrush      FH (migrants)

Wood Thrush      FH

American Robin      FHW

Gray Catbird      FHW

Brown Thrasher      FHW

European Starling      FHW

Cedar Waxwing      FHW

House Sparrow      FHW

House Finch      FHW

American Goldfinch      FHW

Ovenbird      H (heard-only; why so few?)

Louisiana Waterthrush      H

Blue-winged Warbler      FH

Black-and-white Warbler      F (migrant)

Prothonotary Warbler      H

Tennessee Warbler      F (migrants)

Nashville Warbler      H (migrant)

Mourning Warbler      FH (migrant)

Common Yellowthroat      FHW

American Redstart      FHW

Cerulean Warbler      H

Northern Parula      FH (migrants)

Magnolia Warbler      F (migrant)

Yellow Warbler      FHW

Chestnut-sided Warbler      F (migrant)

Blackpoll Warbler      F (migrant)

Yellow-rumped Warbler      F (migrants)

Yellow-throated Warbler      W (heard-only by a few)

Wilson's Warbler      FW (migrants)

Eastern Towhee      FHW

Chipping Sparrow      FHW

Clay-colored Sparrow      F

Field Sparrow      FHW

Vesper Sparrow      H

Savannah Sparrow      H

Grasshopper Sparrow      FW

Henslow's Sparrow      H (mostly heard-only)

Song Sparrow      FHW

Swamp Sparrow      FHW

Scarlet Tanager      FHW

Northern Cardinal      FHW

Rose-breasted Grosbeak      FHW

Indigo Bunting      FHW

Dickcissel      FH

Bobolink      FHW

Red-winged Blackbird      FHW

Eastern Meadowlark      FHW

Yellow-headed Blackbird      FW

Common Grackle      FHW

Brown-headed Cowbird      FHW

Orchard Oriole      FHW

Baltimore Oriole      FHW

*          *          *


(including Fillmore County pre-MBW)

May 24-25-26-27, 2013

Considering the relatively cold, dark, and rainy conditions we were faced with during much of this MBW, we actually did pretty well. After all, bird song is limited in this kind of weather, and the rains delayed us enough so that we did not spend as much time as I intended to in La Crescent, along the river on Highway 26, and at Whitewater WMA. It was especially rainy on Sunday from late morning on, and on Monday the rain gradually sent the MBWers home after we birded Whitewater State Park.

Still, we came up with 146 species in all during the 4 days, a quite respectable total since relatively few waterbirds were in the mix. Of course, the strong showing of warblers (27 species!) and other migrants lingering later than normal during this cold spring made this total possible. Among the highlights: Fillmore County's 23 warblers (mostly at Kappers ponds), Forestville State Park's Acadian Flycatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush, and both cuckoos along with an uncooperative titmouse almost simultaneously at Eagle Bluff; both cuckoos, two Acadian Flycatchers, and two more Louisianas on Saturday morning, plus a shy Henslow's Sparrow that afternoon; Sunday's Lark Sparrows and Cerulean Warbler despite the rain; and Whitewater State Park's obliging, staked-out Yellow-throated Warbler and relatively cooperative Louisiana Waterthrush on Monday.

Thanks to all of you for putting up with the weather, with special thanks to co-leader Craig for all his assistance (even though he so heartlessly abandoned us on Monday to see the Wilson's Plover in Duluth).

BIRD LIST = 146 species

seen on Fillmore Co pre-MBW = 118 species

seen on SE Minnesota MBW = 127 species

F = Fillmore Co, May 24 (incl a few by Craig et al, evening of May 23)

H = Houston Co, May 25-26

W = Winona/Wabasha Co, May 27 (partial list only)

Canada Goose     FH

Trumpeter Swan     H (pair west of Hokah)

Wood Duck     FH

Mallard     FH

Blue-winged Teal     FH

Northern Shoveler     H

Lesser Scaup     FH

Common Goldeneye     H (late migrants at Reno)

Hooded Merganser     H

Ruddy Duck     H (with the Trumpeters)

Ring-necked Pheasant     FH (heard-only)

Ruffed Grouse     FW (even seen at Eagle Bluff)

Wild Turkey     FH

Pied-billed Grebe     FH

Double-crested Cormorant     H

American White Pelican     H 

Great Blue Heron     FH

Great Egret     HW

Green Heron     FH

Turkey Vulture     FH

Osprey     F

Bald Eagle     FHW

Red-shouldered Hawk     F (fly-over at lunch seen by a few)

Red-tailed Hawk     FH

American Kestrel     FH

Peregrine Falcon     W (Whitewater State Park)

Virginia Rail     H (nice looks at the "King Rail" spot)

Sora     FHW

American Coot     FH

Sandhill Crane     FHW (incl adults with babies – aw!) 

Killdeer     FH (ditto)

Spotted Sandpiper     FH

Dunlin     H (fly-over with unidentified shorebirds)

Wilson's Snipe     H

American Woodcock     FH (heard Thu, seen Sun evening)

Black Tern     FHW

Rock Pigeon     FH

Eurasian Collared-Dove     F (Thu evening)

Mourning Dove     FH

Yellow-billed Cuckoo     FH (both cuckoos together at Eagle Bluff)

Black-billed Cuckoo     FH (several heard, a few seen)

Great Horned Owl     H (heard-only Sun evening)

Barred Owl     F (heard-only Thu evening)

Common Nighthawk     H

Eastern Whip-poor-will     H (briefly heard-only Sun evening)

Chimney Swift     FH

Ruby-throated Hummingbird     FH

Belted Kingfisher     FH

Red-headed Woodpecker     H

Red-bellied Woodpecker     FH

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     FH

Downy Woodpecker     FH

Hairy Woodpecker     FH

Northern Flicker     FH

Pileated Woodpecker     FH

Olive-sided Flycatcher     F (seen by those in the Schumacher vehicle)

Eastern Wood-Pewee     FH

Acadian Flycatcher     FH (Forestville, side road off Hwy 74, Beaver Creek Valley)

Alder Flycatcher     FHW (late migrants)

Willow Flycatcher     FHW

Least Flycatcher     FH (why so few?)

Eastern Phoebe     FH

Great Crested Flycatcher     FH

Eastern Kingbird     FH

Yellow-throated Vireo     FH

Blue-headed Vireo     F (only seen by a few)

Warbling Vireo     FH

Philadelphia Vireo     FHW (late migrants)

Red-eyed Vireo     FH

Blue Jay     FH

American Crow     FH

Horned Lark     FH

Purple Martin     H

Tree Swallow     FH

Northern Rough-winged Swallow     FH

Bank Swallow     FH

Cliff Swallow     FH

Barn Swallow     FH

Black-capped Chickadee     FH

Tufted Titmouse     F (briefly seen by a few at Eagle Bluff)

White-breasted Nuthatch     FH

House Wren     FH

Winter Wren     H (even seen at Beaver Creek Valley)

Sedge Wren     H (leader-only)

Marsh Wren     HW

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher     FH

Eastern Bluebird     FHW

Veery     FH

Wood Thrush     FH (incl a nest at Braver Creek Valley)

American Robin     FH

Gray Catbird     FH

Brown Thrasher     FH

European Starling     FH

Cedar Waxwing     FH

Ovenbird     FH

Louisiana Waterthrush     FHW (Forestville, Beaver Creek Valley, and Whitewater state


Northern Waterthrush     F

Golden-winged Warbler     H (near the Henslow's spot)

Blue-winged Warbler     FHW

Black-and-white Warbler     F

Prothonotary Warbler     H (Shore Acres Rd and Millstone Landing)

Tennessee Warbler     FHW (many still migrating)

Orange-crowned Warbler     F (late)

Mourning Warbler     FHW

Common Yellowthroat     FH

American Redstart     FH

Cape May Warbler     F (Kappers' ponds)

Cerulean Warbler     H (singing male on Hillside Rd)

Northern Parula     F

Magnolia Warbler     FH

Bay-breasted Warbler     F

Blackburnian Warbler     F (Good Earth Village)

Yellow Warbler     FH

Chestnut-sided Warbler     FHW

Blackpoll Warbler     FH (several migrants, some singing)

Palm Warbler     F (late)

Yellow-rumped Warbler     F

Yellow-throated Warbler     W (seen by all at Whitewater State Park)

Black-throated Green Warbler     F

Canada Warbler     FHW (several still migrating)

Wilson's Warbler     FW (= 27 species!)

Eastern Towhee     FH

Chipping Sparrow     FH

Clay-colored Sparrow     F

Field Sparrow     FH

Lark Sparrow     H (at the goat prairie SNA west of Hokah)

Savannah Sparrow     FH

Henslow's Sparrow     H (shy stake-out along CR 2)

Song Sparrow     FH

Swamp Sparrow     FH

Scarlet Tanager     HW

Northern Cardinal     FH

Rose-breasted Grosbeak     FH

Indigo Bunting     FH

Bobolink     FH

Red-winged Blackbird     FH

Eastern Meadowlark     FH

Yellow-headed Blackbird     HW

Common Grackle     FH

Brown-headed Cowbird     FH

Orchard Oriole     FW (but none in Houston)

Baltimore Oriole     FH

Purple Finch     F (late at Eagle Bluff)

House Finch     FH

American Goldfinch     FH

House Sparrow     FH

*          *          *


(or, if you prefer, the L.L.L.L.L.L.L. & L. tour: i.e., Lesher's Lily-Livered Lollygagging

Lansing Loop Listening & Listing MBW)

As evidenced by the bird list below, it was indeed a memorable Memorial Day. Yes, there were a few things we had hoped to do better on (e.g., uncooperative/heard-only Least Bittern, Black-billed Cuckoo, Whip-poor-will, Cerulean Warbler, Orchard Oriole), and no real rarities turned up, but just about everything else was there. The views we had of Yellow-billed Cuckoos, E Screech-Owl, Acadian & Willow flycatchers, Bell's Vireos, Tufted Titmouse (-mouses/-mice/-moose?), Blue-winged & Prothonotary warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Henslow's Sparrow especially made this MBW a successful one. 

In addition, there were quite a few late-lingering migrants still passing through as a bonus, especially notable being the Olive-sided Flycatchers, Philadelphia Vireo, and Blackpoll Warblers. Most interesting as well were that orange-tailed, white-bodied Red-tailed Hawk flying around the Eitzen sewage ponds (which initially almost looked like a Snowy Egret!) and the odd Red-bellied Woodpecker with a pale reddish throat (possibly the result of hybridization with a sapsucker?).

I was also pleased with both Eduardo's and Hackberry's restaurants for handling so many of us so well at our two group dinners. Even the weather all three days cooperated for a change, after so many problems with MBWs earlier this spring! Thanks to all of you, as always, for coming and for helping our somewhat challenging logistics go so reasonably well – with special thanks to Joel, Ron, Al, and Linda for assisting Fred with his groups each day. 

And, of course, I thank my old friend Fred Lesher for all his efforts – I hope he's now become a new friend for all of you.      

Bird List 

Note – all seen/heard in Houston Co on May 24-25, except for these 8 Winona/Wabasha Co-only species on May 26: Olive-sided Flycatcher (Winona & Wabasha), Bell's Vireo (Wabasha), Northern Waterthrush (Wabasha), Clay-colored Sparrow (Wabasha), Lark Sparrow (Wabasha), Grasshopper Sparrow (Wabasha), Henslow's Sparrow (Winona), Dickcissel (Wabasha). 

Canada Goose

Wood Duck


Blue-winged Teal

Hooded Merganser

Ring-necked Pheasant

Wild Turkey

Pied-billed Grebe

American White Pelican

Double-crested Cormorant

Least Bittern (heard-only by Ron)

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Green Heron

Turkey Vulture

Bald Eagle

Cooper's Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk (incl an egret-resembling partial albino at Eitzen's sewage ponds!)

American Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon (Saturday evening fly-by)

Sandhill Crane (in Minn just N of New Albin, Iowa!; also in Wabasha Co)

Virginia Rail (heard-only)

Sora (nice views; both rails along Hwy 16)


Spotted Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper (migrants fly-bys in La Crescent)

Black Tern

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Black-billed Cuckoo (heard-only by Bob H)

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (seen by all at Mound Prairie SNA; also nice view in Wabasha  


Eastern Screech-Owl (wonderful, close views on Saturday evening)

Common Nighthawk

Whip-poor-will (heard-only near the screech-owl)

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker (brief Hillside Rd fly-by, plus a better view in Wabasha Co) 

Red-bellied Woodpecker (incl an apparent sapsucker X Red-bellied hybrid with a

          reddish throat!)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Olive-sided Flycatcher (migrants in Winona & Wabasha Co's)

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Acadian Flycatcher (several at Beaver Creek Valley)

Willow Flycatcher (seen & heard by all along Hwy 16)

Least Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Bell's Vireo (2 close & cooperative birds at McCarthy Lake WMA, Wabasha Co)

Yellow-throated Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo (migrant)

Warbling Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo (cooperative migrant at Beaver Creek Valley)

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Bank Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Barn Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse (at 2 locations along Hillside Rd)

White-breasted Nuthatch

House Wren

Sedge Wren

Marsh Wren (Sheperd's Marsh in LaCrescent)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird


Swainson's Thrush (migrant)

Wood Thrush (heard-only)

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing

Blue-winged Warbler (several also singing at Kipp)

Tennessee Warbler (heard-only migrant)

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler (migrant seen by Jeanne)

Blackpoll Warbler (migrants)

Cerulean Warbler (heard-only by Joel)

American Redstart

Prothonotary Warbler (great views at Millstone Landing, Shore Acres Rd, and

          Sheperd's Marsh)


Northern Waterthrush (heard-only migrant in Wabasha Co)

Louisiana Waterthrush (quite cooperative at 2 Beaver Creek Valley locations)

Mourning Warbler (heard-only migrant)

Common Yellowthroat

Wilson's Warbler (heard-only migrant)

Scarlet Tanager

Eastern Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow (heard-only in Wabasha Co)

Field Sparrow

Lark Sparrow (several seen in Wabasha Co)

Savannah Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow (very close view in Wabasha Co)

Henslow's Sparrow (singing male almost too easy at Kipp – a.k.a. Great River Bluffs,

          Winona Co)

Song Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Dickcissel (seen along Wabasha Co Rd 84 just after we adjourned: sorry, we tried to call

          you back!)


Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Common Grackle

Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole (imm male seen by Bill; also heard-only in Wabasha Co)

Baltimore Oriole

House Finch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Also see the 2013 & 2008 MBW summaries

following the summary of the 2017 MBWeekend


Fillmore pre-MBW & Southeastern Minn. MBW Summary

May 26-27-28-29, 2017