As you can see, that Brown Pelican was still there in Red Wing waiting for us on Sunday, as this third-state-record individual represents species #357 on the all-time MBWeekends composite list! (Note that the most recent compilation, which some of you have a copy of, lists 355 species – besides this pelican, we had added Glaucous-winged Gull during the January 2012 MBWs in Duluth.)

Obviously, this was by far the rarest bird on this MBW's list of 90 species, a respectable number given that unbelievably warm weather in March had prompted most waterfowl to head north prematurely. Note there were only two sites with good concentrations of birds (Reno and Weaver); we found only one Tundra Swan; Canvasbacks, Red-breasted and Common mergansers, and gulls were almost missed; and there were no N Pintails anywhere. Meanwhile, with the return to more normal early-April temperatures, most land birds had yet to arrive – we only found a single accipiter, just one Barn Swallow, a lone Brown Creeper, and no N Harriers at all.

Still, there were several noteworthy finds before we headed for Red Wing: 2 distant but handsome Horned Grebes in breeding plumage at Weaver, lots of non-brown pelicans on the river (especially the 500 or so at Winona's Prairie Island), that curious pair of adult Peregrines near Hokah, a cooperative Sora emerging from the marsh on Saturday evening, a number of Sandhill Cranes at unexpected locations, no fewer than 5 shorebird species (with 4 of these at the Eitzen sewage ponds), a surprising Tufted Titmouse on Shore Acres Rd (which was a new addition to some of your lists), Eastern Towhees at 3 locations, and some good studies of Rusty Blackbirds at Prairie Island and Millstone Landing.


W = seen April 6, mostly in Wabasha Co (plus 2 species in Winona Co only)

H = seen April 7, mostly in Houston Co (plus 3 species in Winona Co only)

Sun = seen only on Sunday, mostly at Weaver & Whitewater WMA 

Canada Goose     WH

Trumpeter Swan     W

Tundra Swan     H

Wood Duck     WH

Gadwall     H

American Wigeon     H

Mallard     WH

Blue-winged Teal     WH

Northern Shoveler     WH

Green-winged Teal     WH

Canvasback     Sun     

Redhead     W

Ring-necked Duck     WH

Greater Scaup     H

Lesser Scaup     WH

Bufflehead     WH

Common Goldeneye     WH

Hooded Merganser     WH

Common Merganser     H

Red-breasted Merganser     Sun

Ruddy Duck     Sun     

Ruffed Grouse     W

Wild Turkey     WH

Pied-billed Grebe     WH

Horned Grebe     W

Double-crested Cormorant     H

American White Pelican     WH

Brown Pelican     Sun in Goodhue Co

Great Blue Heron     WH

Great Egret     Apr 7 in Winona Co

Turkey Vulture     WH

Osprey     W

Bald Eagle     WH

Cooper's Hawk     H

Red-tailed Hawk     WH

American Kestrel     WH

Peregrine Falcon     H

Sora     Apr 7 in Winona Co

American Coot     WH

Sandhill Crane     WH

Killdeer     WH

Greater Yellowlegs     Sun

Lesser Yellowlegs     Apr 6 in Winona Co; also H

Pectoral Sandpiper     H

Wilson's Snipe     H

Ring-billed Gull     H

Rock Pigeon     WH

Mourning Dove     WH

Belted Kingfisher     H

Red-bellied Woodpecker     WH

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     WH

Downy Woodpecker     WH

Hairy Woodpecker     WH

Northern Flicker     WH

Pileated Woodpecker     WH

Eastern Phoebe     WH

Blue Jay     WH

American Crow     WH

Horned Lark     W

Tree Swallow     WH

Barn Swallow     W

Black-capped Chickadee     WH

Tufted Titmouse     H

Red-breasted Nuthatch     H

White-breasted Nuthatch     WH

Brown Creeper     Apr 7 in Winona Co

Ruby-crowned Kinglet     WH

Eastern Bluebird     WH

Hermit Thrush     W

American Robin     WH

European Starling     WH

Cedar Waxwing     W

Yellow-rumped Warbler     WH

Eastern Towhee     WH

Chipping Sparrow     WH

Field Sparrow     W

Song Sparrow     WH

Swamp Sparrow     Sun

White-throated Sparrow     Sun

Dark-eyed Junco     WH

Northern Cardinal     WH

Red-winged Blackbird     WH

Eastern Meadowlark     WH

Rusty Blackbird     Apr 6 in Winona Co; also H

Common Grackle     WH

Brown-headed Cowbird     WH

Purple Finch     Sun

House Finch     WH

American Goldfinch     WH

House Sparrow     WH


April 2 - 3 - 4, 2010

With all the migrant geese and Tundra Swans long gone after our ridiculously warm March, and most of the land birds yet to arrive, this first MBW of our 25th season was mostly caught in the middle with fewer birds around than we had hoped. Still, there were several sightings which highlighted the weekend: especially lots of ducks to sort out among all those coots, an eagle in relentless pursuit of an Osprey's fish, memorably close views of a woodcock at the very first spot we tried, a Barred Owl by day along our first Goodhue Co back road and another by spotlight in La Crescent, no fewer than 3 Tufted Titmouse locations (the loop road S of Mound Prairie SNA, in Kyle & Suzanne Moore's yard E of Caledonia, and in Reno), brief flashes of crown colors on both kinglets, and some nice studies of singing Rusty Blackbirds.

In addition, we almost had MBW species #356 at Treasure Island Casino's sewage ponds, but Roy kept us honest with his phone call and learned that the Mute Swans were uncountably tame. By the way, since we never got around to compiling Friday's and Sunday's lists, be sure to let me know if you notice any errors or omissions in the following species list. Thanks to all for coming, and I especially thank Fred for showing a bunch of Lily-livered Lollygagging Listers around the Houston Co portion of the Lesher Lansing Loop!

Bird List

G = April 2 in Goodhue Co (79 species, incl 2 in Wabasha Co only)

H = April 3 in Houston Co (70 species)

W = April 4 in Winona Co (66 species, incl 1 in Wabasha Co only)

Total = 92 species

Canadian Honker     GHW

[Mute Swan     G (almost!)]

White Starling     GW

Wood Duck     GHW

Gadwall     GHW

American Wigeon     GHW

American Black Duck     Wabasha/Sunday only

Mallard     GHW

Blue-winged Teal     GHW

Northern Shoveler     GHW

Northern Pintail     G (at the Curlew Sandpiper spot)

Green-winged Teal     GHW

Canvasback     GHW

Redhead     GHW

Ring-necked Duck     GHW

Greater Scaup     GH

Lesser Scaup     GHW

Bufflehead     GHW

Common Goldeneye     HW

Hooded Merganser     GH

Common Merganser     H

Ruddy Duck     H

Ring-necked Pheasant     W

Wild Turkey      GW (but none in H)

Common Loon     G (3 flying in from Wabasha)

Pied-billed Grebe     GHW

American White Pelican     GW

Double-crested Cormorant     GH

Great Blue Heron     GHW

Great Egret     HW (a bit early)

Turkey Vulture     GHW

Osprey     GW

Bald Eagle     GHW (incl nests)

Northern Harrier     H

Sharp-shinned Hawk     GH

Cooper's Hawk     GHW (incl a nest in La Crescent)

Red-tailed Hawk     GHW

American Kestrel     GH

Peregrine Falcon      W (seen by Dick en route from La Crosse)

American Coot     GHW

Sandhill Crane     GHW (still increasing in SE Minn)

Killdeer     GHW

Wilson's Snipe     W (at the White Ibis spot)

American Woodcock     H (most cooperative Saturday evening!)

Bonaparte's Gull     G

Ring-billed Gull     GHW

Herring Gull     Wabasha/Friday, H 

Rock Pigeon     GHW

Mourning Dove     GHW

Barred Owl     GH (delayed cooperation both times) 

Belted Kingfisher     HW

Red-bellied Woodpecker     GHW

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     GHW

Downy Woodpecker     GHW

Hairy Woodpecker     GHW

Northern Flicker     GHW

Pileated Woodpecker     GHW

Eastern Phoebe     GHW

Blue Jay     GHW

American Crow     GHW

Horned Lark     G

Tree Swallow     GHW

Black-capped Chickadee     GHW

Tufted Titmouse     H (found at 3 locations!)

Red-breasted Nuthatch     GW

White-breasted Nuthatch     GHW

Golden-crowned Kinglet     Wabasha/Friday, H

Ruby-crowned Kinglet     GHW

Eastern Bluebird     GHW

American Robin     GHW

European Starling     GHW

Cedar Waxwing     GH

American Tree Sparrow     G (why so few?)

Chipping Sparrow     GW

Field Sparrow     GH

Vesper Sparrow     G (leader-only, heard-only)

Fox Sparrow     GHW

Song Sparrow     GHW

White-throated Sparrow     W

Dark-eyed Junco     GHW

Northern Cardinal     GHW

Red-winged Blackbird     GHW

Eastern Meadowlark     G

Yellow-headed Blackbird     G (only one)

Rusty Blackbird     GHW (lots of them)

Brewer's Blackbird     G

Common Grackle     GHW

Brown-headed Cowbird     GHW

Purple Finch     G (leader-only, heard-only)

House Finch     GHW

Pine Siskin     GW

American Goldfinch     GHW

House Sparrow     GHW

Note that these three MBW summaries include  

species seen outside of Houston Co.


*          *          *


(plus WINONA - WABASHA - GOODHUE Co's – and LaCrosse)

March 25-26, 2006

We certainly had a nice introduction to early spring migration, with 77 species in all and some especially pleasant weather on Sunday. By the way, for those of you who keep score, 70 of these were in Houston Co: those only seen from Winona Co north were Am Black Duck, N Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Peregrine Falcon, Franklin's Gull (WI only), Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Tree Swallow.

I found it especially memorable to see so many Tundra Swans (especially at Weaver), probably >1,000 Canvasbacks, several pelicans and cranes, and Tufted Titmice (mouses?) at 3 locations. Of course, one of our highlights was the Lesser Black-backed Gull spotted by Linda and Ron at Colville Park in Red Wing, which unfortunately flew off before everyone could see it. Nonetheless, this still represents a long-overdue addition to the all-time MBW composite list (#341), and I'm no longer tempted to cheat by including the one we saw in LaCrosse!

Speaking of cheating, I'm especially happy that Fred was able to come along on Saturday to keep us honest by reminding us when we or the birds illegally strayed across the Wisconsin and Iowa borders.


Canada Goose

Tundra Swan (incl ~1,000 at Weaver Bottoms, just like in the Olden Days!)

Wood Duck


American Wigeon

American Black Duck


Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Canvasback (1000s of them?)


Ring-necked Duck (1000s of them?)

Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup


Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser (1000s of them?)

Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck

Wild Turkey

Pied-billed Grebe

American White Pelican (most of them on Sunday)

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Bald Eagle (incl several nests)

Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk (along Co Rd 21 E of Mound Prairie)

American Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon (2 bluffs in Winona Co)

American Coot

Sandhill Crane (several sightings)


Greater Yellowlegs (early)

Wilson's Snipe

(Franklin’s Gull - in LaCrosse; early)

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull (in LaCrosse, of course, and spotted by Linda & Ron at Colville Park!)

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove (3 or 4 of them in Caledonia)

Mourning Dove

Great Horned Owl (on a nest)

Red-headed Woodpecker (spotted by Fred)

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Blue Jay

American Crow

Tree Swallow (early)

Black-capped Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse (no fewer than 3 locations: Sheldon, Reno, and mile 13 on Hwy 61)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (a bit late)

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

European Starling

American Tree Sparrow

Fox Sparrow (singing)

Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Rusty Blackbird (singing)

Common Grackle

Purple Finch

House Finch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

*          *          *