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 parks)

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

*          *          *

Fillmore pre-MBW & Southeastern Minn. MBW Summary

May 26-27-28-29, 2017

Also see the 2017 and 2013 MBW summaries

following the summary of the 2023 MBWeekend


•  2023 Southeastern Minn. MBW Summary  •

May 26 pre-MBW in Wabasha

May 27-28-29 main MBWeekend in Houston & Winona

Aside from a handful of late shorebirds (mostly due to a couple of flooded fields in Wabasha County), plus a couple of heard-only Alder Flycatchers (which often linger into June in southern MN), we found no spring migrants in our 3 1/2 days in this southeastern corner of the state. So I think it’s pretty respectable that we came up with a grand total of 128 species, including that Scissor-tailed Flycatcher which Craig and a few other MBWers saw up in Washington Co. on Monday afternoon.

[In case you’re wondering, a side trip to see something during a MBWeekend or on the way home from one is fair game for the MBW’s list – as long as it’s announced, and at least one leader and one participant are involved. Though the Scissor-tailed was not new for the all-time MBWeekends composite list, this is how we added Swainson’s Warbler (a detour from the Freeborn MBW day to Edina) and Eurasian Wigeon (a diversion to Rice Co. the next day en route home from the Mower MBW) to the all-time MBWeekends list – which now stands at 371 species.]

In addition to the Scissor-tailed, there were lots of highlights on this MBW. Starting on Friday, our best birds were the totally surprising Tufted Titmouse pair foraging in the backwaters of Lock & Dam 4, and almost as unexpected was the Loggerhead Shrike along Wabasha CR 84 as we entered the Kellogg-Weaver dunes region; this species is now virtually extirpated as a breeding bird in the state. We then heard at least 3 Bell’s Vireos in McCarthy Lake WMA & vicinity, one of which was about as cooperative and visible as this shy bird ever gets. (We also had 4 others the next day along the Walker Rd off Houston CR 21, for an amazing total of 7 individuals!) We finished up Friday on the Wabasha side of Whitewater WMA at the Dorer Pools with 3 heard-only but quite close Common Gallinules calling in the marshes.

Our most productive birding during the next two days in Houston County had to be along Hillside Road Saturday morning, considering that we relocated that Yellow-throated Warbler which has been present the last few years (it’s still ranked as only Casual on the MN list). We also found both Cerulean Warblers and Tufted Titmouse in 3 or 4 places on Hillside, and Rick heard an uncooperative Henslow’s Sparrow in a field along the road (but it quit singing before the group arrived at the spot). After leaving Hillside Rd., we had nice views of Prothonotary Warblers at ever-reliable Millstone Landing  – we had seen it as well on Friday in Wabasha Co.     

Our Sunday-morning hike in Beaver Creek Valley State Park was nearly as productive as our drive on  Hillside Rd. Beside a couple more Tufted Titmouse/mouses/mice, a very obliging Acadian Flycatcher posed in front of us and sang repeatedly for several minutes (and we heard at least 2 others later). Then, after we almost gave up finding the Louisiana Waterthrush along its favorite section of the creek, Fran spotted it on the way back, and those still with us had almost-as-good-as-it ever-gets views when it finally flew into view and even sang from some exposed perches.  

This summary is long enough already so no time now to explain how one of us managed to misidentify a roosting female cardinal for a whip-poor-will in the spotlight beam...

Bird List

• Wa = Wabasha Co., May 26

• H = Houston Co. May 27-28

• Wi = found in Winona Co. May 29

• species not annotated = found in all 3 counties

Canada Goose          Wa H

Trumpeter Swan          Wa H

Wood Duck          Wa H

Gadwall          H

Mallard          Wa H

Ring-necked Duck          H

Lesser Scaup          Wa

Hooded Merganser          H

Ruddy Duck          Wa H

Wild Turkey          Wa H

Ring-necked Pheasant          Wa H

Pied-billed Grebe          H

Rock Pigeon          H Wi

Eurasian Collared-Dove          H Wi

Mourning Dove

Yellow-billed Cuckoo          H Wi

Black-billed Cuckoo          Wa

Common Nighthawk          H

Eastern Whip-poor-will          H Wi

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird          Wa H

Virginia Rail          Wa H

Common Gallinule          Wa

American Coot          H

Sandhill Crane          Wa H


Semipalmated Plover          Wa

Dunlin          Wa

Least Sandpiper          Wa

White-rumped Sandpiper          Wa

Semipalmated Sandpiper          Wa

Spotted Sandpiper          Wa H

Solitary Sandpiper          H

Ring-billed Gull          Wa

Black Tern          Wa H

Double-crested Cormorant          Wa H

American White Pelican          H

American Bittern          H

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret          H

Green Heron          Wa H

Turkey Vulture

Northern Harrier          Wa

Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk          Wa H

Barred Owl          H Wi

Belted Kingfisher          Wa H

Red-headed Woodpecker          H Wi

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker          Wa H

Pileated Woodpecker          Wa H

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – post-MBW in Washington Co.

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Acadian Flycatcher          H

Alder Flycatcher          Wa H

Willow Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher          Wa

Eastern Phoebe          H Wi

Bell’s Vireo          Wa H

Yellow-throated Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Loggerhead Shrike          Wa

Blue Jay

American Crow

Black-capped Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse          Wa H

Horned Lark          Wa

Bank Swallow          Wa H

Tree Swallow          Wa H

N. Rough-winged Swallow

Purple Martin          Wa H

Barn Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Cedar Waxwing          Wa H

White-breasted Nuthatch

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

House Wren

Sedge Wren          H

Marsh Wren          Wa H

Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher          Wa H

European Starling

Eastern Bluebird

Veery          H

Wood Thrush          H

American Robin

House Sparrow

House Finch

American Goldfinch

Grasshopper Sparrow          Wa

Lark Sparrow          Wa H

Chipping Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow          Wa

Field Sparrow

Henslow’s Sparrow          H

Savannah Sparrow          H

Song Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow          Wa H

Eastern Towhee

Yellow-headed Blackbird          Wa H

Bobolink          H

Eastern Meadowlark          Wa H

Western Meadowlark          Wa

Orchard Oriole          Wa

Baltimore Oriole          Wa H

Red-winged Blackbird          Wa H

Brown-headed Cowbird          Wa H

Common Grackle

Ovenbird          H Wi

Louisiana Waterthrush          H

Blue-winged Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler          Wa H

Common Yellowthroat

American Redstart

Cerulean Warbler          H

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler          H

Scarlet Tanager          H Wi

Northern Cardinal

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Dickcissel          H