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ITASCA & KOOCHICHING COUNTIES MBW SUMMARY

JUNE 16 - 17 - 18, 2017


Yes, I suppose there were too many mosquitoes at times, the cool and overcast weather may have discouraged some bird song activity (though we never really got rained on), and we learned you can get along just fine in Koochiching without any offers of hospitality from the Int'l Falls Chamber of Commerce – or from their local chapter of the ASPCA (Anti Sewage Pond County-listers Access).


Anyway, I'd have to say we did quite well on this MBWeekend, which was focused on Koochiching County with some worthwhile birding stops in Itasca County along the way. In all, we came up with a surprising composite total of 133 species, even though we did relatively little wetlands and grasslands birding.


Most of Friday was spent in Itasca County where we listed an even 100 species, as we concentrated our efforts at Scenic State Park. Our best finds here included relatively cooperative Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Winter Wren, Connecticut and Canada warblers, along with an elusive Black-backed Woodpecker that only a few were able to see. In addition, we had our best views of Golden-winged Warbler en route to the park, plus our only Black-billed Cuckoo sighting of the MBW (there was also a heard-only, leader-only bird at Littlefork's sewage ponds). And before we crossed into Koochiching, we came up with two quite unexpected Dickcissels, our only Eastern Meadowlark, and a community of Black-billed Magpies along Priem Road near Bigfork (little seen at its sewage ponds).


After entering Koochiching County, about the only birding we had time for on Friday was at the Big Falls sewage ponds (not much) and a brief visit by a few to the Int'l Falls sewage ponds (Gadwall and Peregrine Falcon added to the list). Of course, it was on Saturday when we found most of Koochiching's specialties. While co-leader Dave Benson's group was getting nice looks at Connecticut Warbler on CR 1, my group found a pair of Black-backed Woodpeckers on CR 77. Both groups then concentrated on CR 13 north of Big Falls where there was another pair of Black-backeds plus a frustratingly brief encounter with an uncooperative American Three-toed. CR 13 also gave us good looks at a Boreal Chickadee, Olive-sided and Yellow-bellied flycatchers, Mourning Warbler, and more.


On Saturday afternoon both groups worked along the Twomey-Williams Forest Road west of Big Falls, where a somewhat more cooperative American Three-toed Woodpecker first appeared for my group and then reappeared for Dave's. Wilson's Warblers (scarce and local in summer in Minnnesota) were also found at two spots along this forest road, and a bit later Dave's group spotted a surprising Red-shouldered Hawk along the Pine Island Forest Road.


Before returning to Itasca County on Sunday, we had one more morning in Koochiching County, and, just after we met, a pair of Red Crossbills suddenly and unexpectedly appeared in "downtown" Littlefork. After this nice start, we again split into two groups, both had excellent views of Le Conte's Sparrows, at one of these meadows on CR 31 there was yet another out-of-range Dickcissel, and a most cooperative Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was also seen. Both groups later met in Northome (not much at the rice paddies west of town or the sewage ponds) and finished up at Tuefer Lake where Trumpeter Swans, Red-necked Grebe, Green Heron, and a Northern Waterthrush (warbler species #20) brought our final MBW total up to 133, with 126 of these in Koochiching.


(And in case you're wondering, none of the MBWers who tried to confirm that possible Townsend's Warbler report near Northome saw anything, but Roy et al. who left early on Sunday did manage to see that King Rail at North Ottawa impoundment in the afternoon.)  


Bird List


I = seen/heard June 16 in Itasca Co (100 species)

K = seen/heard June 16-17-18 in Koochiching Co (126 species)


Canada Goose        K

Trumpeter Swan        I K (best at Tuefer L)

Wood Duck        I K

Gadwall        K (Int'l Falls sewage ponds)

Mallard        I K

Green-winged Teal        K

Ring-necked Duck        K

Common Goldeneye        K

Hooded Merganser        I K

Common Merganser        I

Ruffed Grouse        K

Pied-billed Grebe        K

Red-necked Grebe        K (best at Tuefer L)

Rock Pigeon        I K

Mourning Dove        I K

Black-billed Cuckoo        I K (seen on Itasca CR 60; heard-only in Littlefork)

Common Nighthawk        I K

Chimney Swift        I K

Ruby-throated Hummingbird        K

Sora        K (uncommon in NE Minn)

Sandhill Crane        K

Killdeer        I K

Wilson's Snipe        K

Spotted Sandpiper        K

Ring-billed Gull        I K

Common Loon        I K

Double-crested Cormorant        K

American White Pelican        K

American Bittern        I

Great Blue Heron        I K

Green Heron        K (Tuefer L; scarce this far north)

Turkey Vulture        I K

Bald Eagle        I K

Northern Harrier        I K

Red-shouldered Hawk        K (Pine Island FR; much farther north than normal!)

Broad-winged Hawk        I K

Red-tailed Hawk        I K

Barred Owl        K (heard-only)

Belted Kingfisher        I K

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker        I K

Downy Woodpecker        I K

Hairy Woodpecker        I K

American Three-toed Woodpecker        K (2 sightings = 2 more than normal!: CR 13 and

     Twomey-Williams FR)

Black-backed Woodpecker        I K (3 sightings: Scenic State Park, CR 77, and CR 13)

Northern Flicker        I K

Pileated Woodpecker        I K

American Kestrel        I K

Merlin        I K

Peregrine Falcon        K (Int'l Falls sewage ponds)

Olive-sided Flycatcher         K (CR 13)

Eastern Wood-Pewee        I K

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher        I K

Alder Flycatcher        I K

Least Flycatcher        I K

Eastern Phoebe        I K

Great Crested Flycatcher        I

Eastern Kingbird        I K

Yellow-throated Vireo        I (uncommon in NE Minn)

Blue-headed Vireo        I K

Warbling Vireo        I K

Red-eyed Vireo        I K

Gray Jay        I K

Blue Jay        I K

Black-billed Magpie        I K (best on Priem Rd)

American Crow        I K

Common Raven        I K

Tree Swallow        I K

Northern Rough-winged Swallow        I K

Bank Swallow        I K

Cliff Swallow        I K

Barn Swallow        I K

Black-capped Chickadee        I K

Boreal Chickadee        K (CR 13)

Red-breasted Nuthatch        I K

White-breasted Nuthatch        I K

Brown Creeper        I K

House Wren        I K

Winter Wren        I K

Sedge Wren        I K

Golden-crowned Kinglet        I K

Ruby-crowned Kinglet        I K

Eastern Bluebird        I K

Veery        I K

Hermit Thrush        I K

American Robin        I K

Gray Catbird        I K

Brown Thrasher        I

European Starling        I K

Cedar Waxwing        I K

House Sparrow        I K

House Finch        K (Northome)

Purple Finch        I K

Red Crossbill        K (unexpected pair in Littlefork)

American Goldfinch        I K

Ovenbird        I K

Northern Waterthrush        K (warbler #20 for the MBW)

Golden-winged Warbler        I K (uncommon this far north)

Black-and-white Warbler        I K

Nashville Warbler        I K

Connecticut Warbler        I K (best at Scenic State Park and on CR 1)

Mourning Warbler        I K

Common Yellowthroat        I K

American Redstart        I K

Northern Parula        I K

Magnolia Warbler        I K

Blackburnian Warbler        I K

Yellow Warbler        I K

Chestnut-sided Warbler        I K

Palm Warbler        K (uncommon and local in summer)

Pine Warbler        K

Yellow-rumped Warbler        I K

Black-throated Green Warbler        I K

Canada Warbler        I (Scenic State Park)

Wilson's Warbler        K (2 on Twomey-Williams FR; rare and local in summer)

Chipping Sparrow        I K

Clay-colored Sparrow        I K

Savannah Sparrow        I K

Le Conte's Sparrow        K (nice views on CR 31 and CR 79)

Song Sparrow        I K

Lincoln's Sparrow        K

Swamp Sparrow        I K

White-throated Sparrow        I K

Dark-eyed Junco        K

Rose-breasted Grosbeak        I K

Indigo Bunting        K (Pine Island FR; uncommon this far north)

Dickcissel        I K (much farther north than normal; 2 sites on Priem Rd, 1 on CR 31)

Bobolink        I K

Red-winged Blackbird        I K

Eastern Meadowlark        I (Priem Rd)

Brewer's Blackbird        I K

Common Grackle        I K

Brown-headed Cowbird        I K

Baltimore Oriole        I K



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ITASCA - KOOCHICHING COUNTY I and II MBWs SUMMARY

June 14-15-16-17 and June 21-22-23-24, 2013


ITASCA-KOOCHICHING I


Except for much of Monday morning, we mostly managed to avoid the rain during our four-day MBW in the wilds of Itasca and Koochiching counties. However, the same cannot be said for the mosquitoes – they were especially memorable at that impromptu roadside pit stop on Sunday afternoon. Still, no one fainted from loss of blood, none of the cars got lost or stuck on those remote forest roads, our logistics and itinerary worked well overall, and we even saw more birds than I thought we would.


Friday morning on the pre-MBW started off nicely in the marshes and bogs near Wawina, which is where we had our one of three Great Grays, several warblers (including a Canada singing endlessly atop a 40-foot snag and a Pine standing in the road), and our best Le Conte's Sparrow views. Later we found a collared-dove in Grand Rapids after a one-minute search, and White Oak Lake produced 3 unexpected Western Grebes. About the only disappointing part of the day came as we tried to listen after dinner for woodcock and whip-poor-will but came up empty.


Though billed as a Koochiching County MBW on Saturday through Monday morning, we spent a very productive Saturday morning in Itasca County, especially birding the Alder Road and Scenic State Park. Black-billed Cuckoo, Scarlet Tanager, and a host of warblers were on the Alder Rd, while at Scenic there were 2 baby woodcocks in the trail, the most cooperative of our 4 Black-backed Woodpeckers, the first of many Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, and responsive Connecticut Warblers.


We finally made it to Koochiching County on Saturday afternoon, when we primarily birded around Big Falls and Littlefork; Sunday's loop included CR 9, CR 1, CR 13, Twomey-Williams, Fiero, and Sandsmark forest roads; and there was time to bird along CR 8, CR 31, and Hwy 71 en route to our return to Grand Rapids on Monday. A field with Upland Sandpipers, 2 more Great Grays, 3 more Black-backed Woodpecker spots, Boreal Chickadees along CR 13, and still more warblers (including our best Connecticut) were some of this county's highlights. In addition, there was a Wild(?) Turkey that acted wary enough to suggest natural origins and "countability", and a Nelson's Sparrow that was briefly heard by some before it fell silent and remained invisible as the rain began.


A partial list of the birds we did better with on I than they did on II (when they were missed): Trumpeter Swan (my favorite starling!), Sharp-tailed Grouse, Western Grebe, Upland Sandpiper, American Woodcock (with babies), Franklin's Gull, Common Tern, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Black-billed Cuckoo, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Scarlet Tanager. In addition, one of our 3 Great Gray Owls was seen surprisingly well by all of us on Fiero Rd, while I understand that the Great Gray on II was unfortunately only seen by some.


On the other hand, Craig and Shawn's group found the following which we missed on I: Ruffed Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Caspian Tern, Marsh Wren, Swainson's and Wood thrushes, Northern Waterthrush, and Indigo Bunting. This group also had better views than we did of American Bittern and Black-backed Woodpecker, both which posed for photos.


And, by the numbers, for those who like to keep score, here are some species totals on I:


- pre-MBW in Itasca Co (June 14) = 114

- Itasca Co total (incl June 15 a.m.) = 127

- Koochiching Co total (June 15 p.m.-June 16-17) = 121

- main "Koochiching Co" MBW (June 15-16-17, incl June 15 a.m. in Itasca Co) = 131

- pre-MBW + main MBW (June 14-15-16-17) = 147


Thanks to all of you for coming, with special thanks, of course, to Shawn for his leadership in Itasca Co – which pretty much gave me the day off on Friday!


– Kim Eckert  


ITASCA-KOOCHICHING II


I would like to thank everyone for joining myself and Shawn on this MBW. While we started a few of the mornings with an early rain shower, the afternoons turned very pleasant as we missed a couple of storms that appeared to be headed our way. I would also like to thank all the drivers and those who have shared their photos.  

 

Our day in Itasca County was memorable with an immature Northern Goshawk, several cooperative Le Conte's Sparrows, and good looks at 17 species of warblers.

 

Our trip to Koochiching County also produced many highlights. We enjoyed great looks at many more warblers, enjoyed that very vocal and visible Winter Wren, and the only cooperative Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was in Scenic State Park. Our time spent on the Toumey-Williams and Fiero roads was great, with most of the boreal species observed, including a Great Gray Owl, Boreal Chickadees, and Lincoln's Sparrows. The Wood and Swainson's thrushes along the Fiero Road were some of the great additions to the bird list, and the Black-backed Woodpecker was one of the birds observed by Kim's group that we were able to relocate. Monday morning also had a few highlights, including very nice looks at that American Bittern, and those baby Common Loons hopping up on the adults were very cute.

 

Thanks again to Shawn for all his help as a co-leader on this trip and to all the participants for putting up with lots of late long drives and late lunches.  


– Craig Mandel


__________


Composite List = 155 species


Itasca I = June 14-15 in Itasca Co

Kooch I = June 15-16-17 in Koochiching Co

Itasca II = June 21-22 in Itasca Co 

Kooch II = June 22-23-24 in Koochiching Co


Canada Goose     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Trumpeter Swan     Itasca I, Kooch I (near Wawina, Big Falls sewage ponds, Tufer L)

Wood Duck     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Gadwall     Kooch I / Kooch II

American Wigeon     Kooch I / Kooch II

American Black Duck     Kooch I / Kooch II

Mallard     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Blue-winged Teal     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Northern Shoveler     Kooch I / Kooch II

Green-winged Teal     Itasca I, Kooch I / Kooch II

Ring-necked Duck     Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Lesser Scaup     Kooch I / Kooch II

Common Goldeneye     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Hooded Merganser     Itasca I / Itasca II

Common Merganser     Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Ruffed Grouse     Itasca II, Kooch II

Sharp-tailed Grouse     Kooch I (crossing the road on CR 1)

"Wild" Turkey     Kooch I (a wary, wild-looking bird of unknown origins along Hwy 11)

Common Loon     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II (incl babies on II – aw!)

Pied-billed Grebe    Kooch I

Red-necked Grebe     Itasca I / Itasca II

Western Grebe     Itasca I (#250 on Shawn's Itasca Co list at White Oak L)

Double-crested Cormorant    Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

American White Pelican     Itasca I, Kooch I / Kooch II

American Bittern    Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II (much better looks on II)

Great Blue Heron     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Green Heron     Itasca I / Itasca II

Turkey Vulture     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Osprey    Kooch I / Itasca II

Bald Eagle     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Northern Harrier     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II

Sharp-shinned Hawk     Itasca I / Kooch II

Northern Goshawk     Itasca II

Broad-winged Hawk     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Red-tailed Hawk    Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Virginia Rail     Itasca I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Sora     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Sandhill Crane     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II

Killdeer     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Spotted Sandpiper     Itasca I, Kooch I / Kooch II

Upland Sandpiper    Kooch I (3 along CR 9 just S of Hwy 11)

Wilson's Snipe     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

American Woodcock     Itasca I, Kooch I (incl babies at Scenic State Park on I – aw!)

Franklin's Gull    Kooch I (on a lawn in Int'l Falls)

Ring-billed Gull     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Herring Gull     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Caspian Tern     Itasca II

Black Tern     Itasca I / Itasca II

Common Tern    Kooch I

Rock Pigeon     Itasca I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Eurasian Collared-Dove     Itasca I (a few blocks from McDonald's)

Mourning Dove     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Black-billed Cuckoo     Itasca I

Great Gray Owl     Itasca I, Kooch I / Kooch II  (one of the 3 seen on I was cooperative)

Common Nighthawk     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Chimney Swift     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Ruby-throated Hummingbird     Itasca I / Itasca II

Belted Kingfisher     Itasca I / Itasca II

Red-bellied Woodpecker     Itasca I

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Downy Woodpecker     Itasca I

Hairy Woodpecker     Itasca I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Black-backed Woodpecker     Itasca I, Kooch I / Kooch II (at 4 locations on I, but more

          cooperative on II)

Northern Flicker     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Pileated Woodpecker     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

American Kestrel     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Merlin     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Peregrine Falcon     Itasca I / Itasca II (cooperatively perched at the power plant on I and II)

Olive-sided Flycatcher     Itasca I, Kooch I / Kooch II

Eastern Wood-Pewee     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Alder Flycatcher     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Least Flycatcher     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Eastern Phoebe     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Great Crested Flycatcher     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Eastern Kingbird     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Yellow-throated Vireo     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Blue-headed Vireo     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Warbling Vireo     Itasca I / Itasca II

Red-eyed Vireo     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Gray Jay    Kooch I / Kooch II

Blue Jay     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Black-billed Magpie     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

American Crow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Common Raven     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Purple Martin     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Tree Swallow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

N. Rough-winged Swallow    Kooch I / Kooch II

Bank Swallow     Itasca I / Itasca II

Cliff Swallow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Barn Swallow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Black-capped Chickadee     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Boreal Chickadee     Itasca I, Kooch I / Kooch II

Red-breasted Nuthatch     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Brown Creeper     Itasca I / Itasca II, Kooch II

House Wren     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Winter Wren     Itasca I / Itasca II, Kooch II (seen well & photographed on II)

Sedge Wren     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Marsh Wren     Kooch II

Golden-crowned Kinglet     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Ruby-crowned Kinglet     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Eastern Bluebird     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II

Veery     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Swainson's Thrush     Kooch II

Hermit Thrush     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Wood Thrush     Kooch II

American Robin     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Gray Catbird     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II

Brown Thrasher     Itasca I / Itasca II

European Starling     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Cedar Waxwing     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Ovenbird     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Northern Waterthrush      Itasca II, Kooch II

Golden-winged Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II

Black-and-white Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Nashville Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Connecticut Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II (great looks on both I and II)

Mourning Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Common Yellowthroat     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

American Redstart     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Northern Parula     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Magnolia Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Blackburnian Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Yellow Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Chestnut-sided Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Palm Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Pine Warbler     Itasca I / Itasca II (standing in the road on I!)

Yellow-rumped Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Black-throated Green Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Canada Warbler     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II (= 18 warblers on I; 19 species on II)

Chipping Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Clay-colored Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Savannah Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Le Conte's Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II (also great looks on both I and II)

Nelson's Sparrow     Kooch I (heard-only by Barb & Denny along CR 8)

Song Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Lincoln's Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Swamp Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

White-throated Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Dark-eyed Junco     Itasca I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Scarlet Tanager     Itasca I

Rose-breasted Grosbeak     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Indigo Bunting     Itasca II

Bobolink     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Red-winged Blackbird     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Eastern Meadowlark     Itasca I / Itasca II

Yellow-headed Blackbird     Itasca I / Itasca II

Brewer's Blackbird     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Common Grackle     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Brown-headed Cowbird     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Baltimore Oriole     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

Purple Finch     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

House Finch     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

American Goldfinch     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II

House Sparrow     Itasca I, Kooch I / Itasca II, Kooch II







Le Conte's Sparrow   ~  Koochiching Co Rd 31  

(Jeff Stephenson photo)

Red Crossbill  ~  Littlefork, Koochiching Co.  

(Gerry Hoekstra photo)

Black-backed Woodpecker  ~  Koochiching Co Rd 13  

(Gerry Hoekstra photo)

Dickcissel  ~  Priem Rd, Itasca Co.  (Jeff Stephenson photo)

Blackburnian Warbler  (Gerry Hoekstra photo)

Also see the 2017 and 2013 MBWs summaries

following the summary of the 2022 MBWeekend.


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KOOCHICHING COUNTY I and II MBWs SUMMARY

June 15 - 16 - 17 and June 18 - 19, 2022


Northern Saw-whet Owl (juv.)  ~  Koochiching County Road 13  ~  Darcy Pinotti photo



Koochiching County I – summary by Craig Mandel (with minor edits by KRE)...  

 

The weather on this trip was cool with lows in the high 40s and highs in the low 70s, and winds of 20 mph+ on our second day were unexpected for a summer birding tour in northern Minnesota.  But the one advantage with the wind on the second day... it did keep the hordes of mosquitoes at bay most of the time. 

 

Our species count of 123 (plus another with ID?) was not bad for three days in the county, more than on Koochiching II. But a number of the better birding roads were inaccessible due to recent flooding in the area, and we missed many of the boreal species the area is noted for. While we saw or heard 18 or 19 species of warblers, we missed Connecticut and a few other difficult to see species . Another unexpected miss was the Blue-headed Vireo.   

 

But we did well with a first county record Lark Sparrow (!) simultaneously spotted first by Linda and Don along CR 32. Other birds enjoyed by the group were an American Bittern in flight and Marsh Wrens in several locations (which can be difficult to find in this county). We also had wonderful looks at a female Black-backed Woodpecker, plus Olive-sided Flycatchers in a number of locations. 

 

Thanks go out to those who drove, and to everyone for sharing their bug spray and their help in finding the many birds on our list.



Koochiching County II – summary by KRE...


This second MBW managed a species list of 112 or so – depending whether you count some sort-of-wild turkeys and that problematic pair of Abert’s Towhees in Grand Rapids on Monday’s post-MBW. While this total is less than on Koochiching I, consider that it was during two days rather than three, since your Spineless, Wishy-washy Tour Leader made the bold preemptive move of canceling the third scheduled day in Koochiching. (The forecast at the time for Monday was for near-100 degree temperatures!)


Also consider that our first day (Saturday) featured a low in the upper 40s at dawn, followed by high winds, a high only around 60, overcast skies, and some rain showers in the afternoon – resulting in very little bird activity or singing. Sunday morning featured brighter skies, temperatures mostly in the 60s and 70s, and more birds in evidence – although shortly after noon that day, we didn’t see or hear that much as the high temperature reached 93. (By the way, this was only 3 degrees shy of the all-time high of 96, recorded on a 2006 MBW in Big Stone Co.)


As those on Koochiching I found, there were way too many mosquitoes around (not to mention black flies), and two of Koochiching’s best birding roads were closed (i.e., Twomey-Williams and Fiero), making it more difficult to find any Connecticut Warblers and other coniferous forest specialties.


But County Road 13 was still passable, and this is where Darcy somehow spotted a juvenile Northern Saw-whet Owl hugging a tree trunk at the Black-backed Woodpecker spot! And the next day we turned up a pair of mostly-heard Boreal Chickadees farther south on 13 (we stopped where I had seen this species in previous years – and there they were). Then, a few minutes and a few miles later on 13 we stopped again to find a calling and drumming male American Three-toad Woodpecker – right where this species had appeared on previous MBWs!

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Combining the MBW I and II lists, the two groups came up with a composite total of at least 138 species – or 141, if your listing standards are more liberal. Either way, that’s a lot of birds for this remote northern county with less-than-favorable weather, closed roads, and too many bugs.          

 


Bird List


I = seen/heard only on Koochiching I

II = seen/heard only on Koochiching II

(species not annotated with I or II were found on both)


Canada Goose          

Trumpeter Swan

Wood Duck

Blue-winged Teal          I

Northern Shoveler          I

Gadwall

American Wigeon

Mallard

Northern Pintail          I

Green-winged Teal

Redhead          II

Ring-necked Duck

Lesser Scaup

Bufflehead          II

Common Goldeneye

Common Merganser


(Wild Turkey...perhaps not-so-wild birds seen on II)

Ruffed Grouse

Sharp-tailed Grouse          II


Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove


Chimney Swift          II


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Virginia Rail          I

Sora          I


Sandhill Crane


Killdeer          I


Wilson’s Snipe

Spotted Sandpiper


Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull          I


Common Loon          I


Double-crested Cormorant


American White Pelican


American Bittern          I

Great Blue Heron          I


Turkey Vulture


Osprey          I


Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk          II

Cooper’s Hawk          II

Bald Eagle

Broad-winged Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk


Northern Saw-whet Owl          II


Belted Kingfisher


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

American Three-toed Woodpecker          II

Black-backed Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker          I

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker


American Kestrel

Merlin          I


Great Crested Flycatcher          I

Eastern Kingbird

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe


Yellow-throated Vireo          I

Blue-headed Vireo          II

Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo


Canada Jay

Blue Jay

Black-billed Magpie

American Crow

Common Raven


Black-capped Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee          II


Bank Swallow          I

Tree Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow          I

Purple Martin          I

Barn Swallow

Cliff Swallow


Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet          II


Cedar Waxwing


Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch


Brown Creeper          I


House Wren

Winter Wren

Sedge Wren

Marsh Wren          I


Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher          I


European Starling


Eastern Bluebird

Veery

Hermit Thrush

Wood Thrush

American Robin


House Sparrow


Purple Finch

crossbill, sp.          II

Pine Siskin          II

American Goldfinch


Lark Sparrow          I

Chipping Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

White-throated Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

(Abert’s Towhee...that intriguing pair in Grand Rapids seen on II)  


Bobolink

Baltimore Oriole          I

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brewer’s Blackbird          I

Common Grackle


Ovenbird

Northern Waterthrush          I

Golden-winged Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler (see photo of bird in aberrant plumage)

Nashville Warbler

Mourning Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

American Redstart

(Cape May Warbler...heard-only on I...with ID confirmed by Merlin...yeah, right)

Northern Parula

Magnolia Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Palm Warbler

Pine Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler          I

Canada Warbler          I


Scarlet Tanager          II

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting          II


PHOTO GALLERY



Black-backed Woodpecker  ~  Koochiching County Road 13  ~  Roy Zimmerman photo

American Three-toed Woodpecker  ~  Koochiching County Road 13  ~  Jeff Stephenson photo

Lark Sparrow  ~  Koochiching County Road 32  ~  Roy Zimmerman photo

aberrant Black-and-white Warbler  ~  Franz Jevne State Park  ~  Roy Zimmerman photo

Abert's Towhee  ~  Grand Rapids  ~  Darcy Pinotti photo