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July 17 - 18 - 19, 2020

(Summary by Craig Mandel)

July 17 pre-MBW  ~  North Ottawa Impoundment

It was fun to finally get the 2020 MBW season under way! With masks in place, we met bright and early at the usual meeting location for an MBW – the Fergus Falls Perkins. And what better place to begin the 2020 MBW season than the prairies and Impoundments in western Minnesota. While the recent rains left North Ottawa full of water, we did find a small dry area on the north end that had a nice mix of 10 shorebird species, including Stilt Sandpipers and a Short-billed Dowitcher. We also hit a couple of local parks and managed to find a few woods birds in those. Our tally of 94 species was nice for a warm summer day, with only a few migrants around at the time.

July 18-19 MBW  ~  Otter Tail County

With somewhat cooler temperatures during our two days of birding in Otter Tail, it made for a pleasant birding experience. We were able to spend some time hiking at Maplewood and Glendalough state parks. Grotto Lake in Fergus Falls was interesting with a large number of immature Black-crowned Night-Herons roosting in the spruce trees and the large egret and cormorant rookery was fun to observe. The Least Bittern was cooperative at Erhard WPA, and we added a Scarlet Tanager, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and a great view of the county at Inspirational Peak. Nancy and I ended the trip at the Parkers Prairie WTP, our 8th sewage pond of the trip.

While our 7 and 8-car caravans and 6-foot social distancing made it challenging at times, our 120 species tally for the three days was quite pleasing for a mid-summer MBW.

Bird List

G = July 17 in Grant Co. (94 species)

O = July 18-19 in Otter Tail Co. (109 species)

Canada Goose - G, O

Trumpeter Swan - G, O

Wood Duck - G, O

Blue-winged Teal - O

Mallard - G, O

Green-winged Teal - G, O

Canvasback - O

Redhead - O

Ring-necked Duck - O

Hooded Merganser - G, O

Ruddy Duck - G

Ring-necked Pheasant - G, O

Pied-billed Grebe - G, O

Red-necked Grebe - G

Eared Grebe - G

Rock Pigeon - G, O

Eurasian Collared-Dove - G, O

Mourning Dove - G, O

Chimney Swift - G, O

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - G

Virginia Rail - G, O

Sora - G

American Coot - G

Sandhill Crane - O

Killdeer - G, O

Stilt Sandpiper - G, O

Least Sandpiper - G, O

Pectoral Sandpiper - G

Semipalmated Sandpiper - G

Short-billed Dowitcher - G, O

Spotted Sandpiper - G, O

Lesser Yellowlegs - G, O

Greater Yellowlegs - G, O

Wilson's Phalarope - G, O

Franklin's Gull - G, O

Ring-billed Gull - G, O

Black Tern - G, O

Forster's Tern - O

Common Loon - G, O

Double-crested Cormorant - G, O

American White Pelican - G, O

American Bittern - G

Least Bittern - O

Great Blue Heron - G, O

Great Egret - G, O

Green Heron - O

Black-crowned Night-Heron - O

Turkey Vulture - G, O

Osprey - O

Cooper's Hawk - G, O

Bald Eagle - G, O

Broad-winged Hawk - O

Red-tailed Hawk - G, O

Belted Kingfisher - O

Red-bellied Woodpecker - G

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - O

Downy Woodpecker - G, O

Hairy Woodpecker - O

Northern Flicker - G, O

Pileated Woodpecker - O

American Kestrel - G, O

Great-crested Flycatcher - G, O

Eastern Kingbird - G, O

Eastern Wood-Pewee - G, O

Willow Flycatcher - G, O

Least Flycatcher - G, O

Eastern Phoebe - G, O

Yellow-throated Vireo - O

Warbling Vireo - G, O

Red-eyed Vireo - G, O

Blue Jay - G, O

American Crow - G, O

Horned Lark - G, O

Purple Martin - G, O

Tree Swallow - G, O

Bank Swallow - G, O

Cliff Swallow - G, O

Barn Swallow - G, O

Black-capped Chickadee - G, O

White-breasted Nuthatch - G, O

House Wren - G, O

Sedge Wren - G, O

Marsh Wren - G, O

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - O

Eastern Bluebird - O

Veery - O

American Robin - G, O

Gray Catbird - G, O

Brown Thrasher - G, O

European Starling - G, O

Cedar Waxwing - G, O

House Sparrow - G, O

House Finch - G, O

American Goldfinch - G, O

Chipping Sparrow - G, O

Clay-colored Sparrow - G, O

Field Sparrow - O

Vesper Sparrow - G, O

Savanah Sparrow - G, O

Grasshopper Sparrow - O

Song Sparrow - G, O

Swamp Sparrow - G, O

Yellow-headed Blackbird - O

Bobolink - G, O

Western Meadowlark - G, O

Orchard Oriole - G

Baltimore Oriole - G, O

Red-winged Blackbird - G, O

Brown-headed Blackbird - G, O

Common Grackle - G, O

Ovenbird - O

Black-and-white Warbler - O

Common Yellowthroat - G, O

American Redstart - G, O

Yellow Warbler - G, O

Chestnut-sided Warbler - O

Scarlet Tanager - O

Northern Cardinal - G

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - G, O

Indigo Bunting - O

Dickcissel - G, O

Also see the 2020 MBW summary

following the summary of the 2021 MBWeekend


Fergus Falls & vicinity MBW Summary

August 4 - 5 - 6, 2021

Our amazing run of good luck with the weather this summer partly came to an end in Ferg. For me and others, it was hot/humid enough on Thursday afternoon so that we quit early and had time for a welcome break before an early dinner. At least the pre-MBW Wednesday afternoon stayed in the 70s, below the mid-80s forecast, and on Friday we left town before the heat of the afternoon arrived. (Of course, Craig had to wear his down jacket through all this to prevent hypothermia.)     

No matter what you thought of the weather, I think we’d all agree that the birding was better than expected. Normally you can’t assume you’ll find that much at this time of year, since most nesting birds have stopped singing, and – except for shorebirds – fall migrants haven’t arrived yet. So to come up with 119 species in all is fairly impressive, especially considering the drought didn’t help matters.

Among the highlights was our total of 15 shorebird species, including the 6 American Avocets at Mustinka WMA, the 2 Buff-breasted Sandpipers landing in a Traverse field next to North Ottawa impoundment, and the pre-MBW’s Red-necked Phalaropes at Osakis sewage ponds. While 15 shorebirds is normally not all that significant, there weren’t that many mudflats (even North Ottawa only had one small area of mudflats with 10 species), and no one else had been seeing that many shorebirds anywhere else in MN.

Some of our other good finds were: a juvenile Black-billed Cuckoo on the WPA trail in Ferg; the heard Common Gallinule at Neumann WPA (or, as it’s said on Seinfeld, “Neumann!”), which Kevin saw on his way home Friday; a leader-only, fly-by Least Bittern on Friday; singing Alder (in Otter Tail) and Willow (in Grant) flycatchers; a few late migrant Bobolinks; and an apparent family group of Orchard Orioles at Orwell WMA. We were entertained by several baby birds as well (aw!), including both Red-necked and Western grebes at Lake Osakis, that black Virginia Rail chick (at Neumann!), and fuzzy Willow Flycatchers being fed by mom at Ash Lake. (But where were the Savannah Sparrows?! ...They’ve been scarce to non-existent on all 4 of this summer’s MBWs.

Bird List

- WED = pre-MBW in Todd-Douglas-Grant counties

- THU = in Otter Tail-Grant counties

- FRI = in Otter Tail county

Canada Goose          WED, THU, FRI

Trumpeter Swan          WED, THU

Wood Duck          WED, THU, FRI

Blue-winged Teal          WED, THU, FRI

Gadwall          THU

Mallard          WED, THU, FRI

Canvasback          WED, THU

Redhead          THU

Ring-necked Duck          THU

Hooded Merganser          WED, FRI

Ruddy Duck          THU

Ring-necked Pheasant          WED, THU, FRI

Wild Turkey          THU, FRI

Pied-billed Grebe          WED, THU, FRI

Red-necked Grebe          WED

Western Grebe          WED

Rock Pigeon          THU, FRI

Eurasian Collared-Dove          WED, THU

Mourning Dove          WED, THU, FRI

Black-billed Cuckoo          FRI

Chimney Swift          WED, THU

Ruby-throated Hummingbird          WED, THU, FRI

Virginia Rail          THU, FRI

Sora          THU, FRI

Common Gallinule          THU

Sandhill Crane          THU

American Avocet          THU

Killdeer          WED, THU, FRI

Semipalmated Plover          THU

Stilt Sandpiper          THU

Least Sandpiper          WED, THU

Buff-breasted Sandpiper          THU

Pectoral Sandpiper          THU

Semipalmated Sandpiper          WED, THU

Short-billed Dowitcher          THU

Wilson’s Snipe          THU

Spotted Sandpiper          WED, THU, FRI

Solitary Sandpiper          THU, FRI

Lesser Yellowlegs          WED, THU, FRI

Greater Yellowlegs          THU

Red-necked Phalarope          WED

Franklin’s Gull          WED, THU

Ring-billed Gull          WED, THU, FRI

Black Tern          WED, THU, FRI

Forster’s Tern          WED

Double-crested Cormorant          WED, THU, FRI

American White Pelican          WED, THU, FRI

American Bittern          THU

Least Bittern          FRI

Great Blue Heron          WED, THU, FRI

Great Egret          WED, THU, FRI

Green Heron          WED, THU, FRI

Black-crowned Night-Heron          THU, FRI

Turkey Vulture          THU, FRI

Osprey          FRI

Northern Harrier          THU, FRI

Cooper’s Hawk          WED, THU, FRI

Bald Eagle          WED, THU, FRI

Red-tailed Hawk          WED, THU, FRI

Belted Kingfisher          WED, THU, FRI

Red-bellied Woodpecker          WED

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker          FRI

Downy Woodpecker          WED, THU, FRI

Hairy Woodpecker          WED, THU, FRI

Northern Flicker          THU, FRI

American Kestrel          THU

Great Crested Flycatcher          WED, THU, FRI

Eastern Kingbird          WED, THU, FRI

Eastern Wood-Pewee          WED, THU, FRI

Alder Flycatcher          THU, FRI

Willow Flycatcher          THU, FRI

Least Flycatcher          FRI

Eastern Phoebe          THU, FRI

Yellow-throated Vireo          FRI

Warbling Vireo          THU, FRI

Red-eyed Vireo          WED, THU, FRI

Blue Jay          WED, THU, FRI

American Crow          WED, THU, FRI

Horned Lark          THU, FRI

Bank Swallow          WED, THU, FRI

Tree Swallow          WED, THU, FRI

N. Rough-winged Swallow          FRI

Purple Martin          WED, THU, FRI

Barn Swallow          WED, THU, FRI

Cliff Swallow          WED, THU, FRI

Black-capped Chickadee          WED, THU, FRI

White-breasted Nuthatch          WED, THU, FRI

House Wren          WED, THU, FRI

Sedge Wren          THU, FRI

Marsh Wren          THU, FRI

American Robin          WED, THU, FRI

Gray Catbird          WED, THU, FRI

Brown Thrasher          THU, FRI

European Starling          WED, THU, FRI

Cedar Waxwing          WED, THU, FRI

House Sparrow          WED, THU, FRI

House Finch          WED, THU, FRI

American Goldfinch          WED, THU, FRI

Chipping Sparrow          WED, THU, FRI

Clay-colored Sparrow          THU, FRI

Field Sparrow          THU

Vesper Sparrow          THU, FRI

Song Sparrow          WED, THU, FRI

Swamp Sparrow          THU, FRI

Yellow-headed Blackbird          WED, THU

Bobolink          THU, FRI

Western Meadowlark          THU

Orchard Oriole          THU

Baltimore Oriole          WED, FRI

Red-winged Blackbird          WED, THU, FRI

Brown-headed Cowbird          WED, THU, FRI

Common Grackle          WED, THU, FRI

Nashville Warbler          WED

Common Yellowthroat          WED, THU, FRI

American Redstart          WED, THU, FRI

Yellow Warbler          WED, THU, FRI

Northern Cardinal          WED, THU, FRI

Rose-breasted Grosbeak          THU, FRI

Indigo Bunting          THU, FRI


Black-billed Cuckoo (juvenile)  ~  Rose Shea photo

Virginia Rail chick  ~  Rose Shea photo

Least Sandpiper  ~  Roy Zimmerman photo

Wilson's Snipe  ~  Kathrynne Baumtrog photo