Lyon - Lincoln - Yellow Medicine MBW Summary

April 23 - 24 - 25, 2021

Jay Vancura photo

Our first MBW of the 36th season – and our first “regular” MBW since January 2020 (i.e., car-pooled with 15 participants and 1 leader). This was also the first time since February 2020 that I’ve stayed overnight anywhere other than home.

But it was reassuring how little had changed ... all but two of you MBW veterans from previous years ... unpleasant weather typical of so many MBWs (too windy, wet/snowy, and cold) ... a group dinner (at an Eye-Talian restaurant, of course) ... obsessive county listers ... my obsession with sewage ponds ... our familiar MBW idioms (e.g., flip-around) ... chronic radio/battery problems ... and it was refreshing to finally get back to the prairie where I’ve always felt most at home.

There were even lots of birds to look at, especially the nice variety of ducks, grebes, shorebirds, and other water birds. Most interesting of these were the flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese overhead on Sunday (wondering which way to fly to avoid the impending snow and wind), and the godwits and other shorebirds we studied at drawn-down Curtis Lake as the weather closed in. Somehow, two of the Hudsonians looked amazingly like dowitchers.

But the most interesting find of the MBW was a land bird, as that handsome and relatively rare dark-morph Broad-winged Hawk circled low overhead at Hole in the Mountain County Park. Intriguing as well were the 3 Merlins spotted on Friday afternoon in and near Coon Creek WMA. And certainly our Saturday morning stop at the good ol’ ADMSMSUELA was productive, with a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches apparently nesting well south of their normal range, plus our only Cooper’s Hawk, Red-bellied and Downy woodpeckers, Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped warblers of the MBW.

As always, I thank you all for coming and getting MBWs back on track for another year after an incomplete 2020 season. Thanks especially to Steve and Janet who were on their very first MBW, and they just registered for the Deep Portage MBW on Memorial Day Weekend. I’ll see some of you there and/or in Ortonville in two weekends.  –Kim

Bird List (103 species)

- Ly = Lyon County (mostly Friday; SAT or SUN indicates only seen Saturday or Sunday)

- Li = Lincoln County (Saturday)

- YM = Yellow Medicine (Sunday)

Snow Goose          Li

Greater White-fronted Goose          Ly (SUN), Li, YM

Canada Goose          Ly, Li, YM

Trumpeter Swan          YM

Wood Duck          Ly, Li, YM

Blue-winged Teal          Ly, Li, YM

Northern Shoveler          Ly, Li, YM

Gadwall          Ly, Li, YM

American Wigeon          Ly, Li, YM

Mallard          Ly, Li, YM

Northern Pintail          Ly, YM

Green-winged Teal          Ly, Li, YM

Canvasback          Ly, Li, YM

Redhead          Ly, Li, YM

Ring-necked Duck          Ly, Li, YM

Lesser Scaup          Ly, Li, YM

Bufflehead          Ly, Li, YM

Hooded Merganser          Ly, Li, YM

Common Merganser          Ly, Li, YM

Red-breasted Merganser          Li, YM

Ruddy Duck          Ly, Li, YM

Ring-necked Pheasant          Ly, Li, YM

Pied-billed Grebe          Ly, Li, YM

Horned Grebe          Ly, Li, YM

Red-necked Grebe          Ly, Li

Eared Grebe          Li

Rock Pigeon          Ly, Li, YM

Eurasian Collared-Dove          Ly, Li

Mourning Dove          Ly, Li, YM

American Coot          Ly, Li, YM

American Golden-Plover          Ly, Li

Killdeer          Ly, Li, YM

Semipalmated Plover          YM

Hudsonian Godwit          YM

Marbled Godwit          YM

Dunlin          Ly, YM

Baird’s Sandpiper          Li, YM

Least Sandpiper          Ly (SUN), Li, YM

Pectoral Sandpiper          Ly, Li, YM

dowitcher, sp.          Ly

Wilson’s Snipe          Ly, YM

Lesser Yellowlegs          Ly, Li, YM

Greater Yellowlegs          Ly, Li

Bonaparte’s Gull          Ly, Li

Franklin’s Gull          Ly, Li

Ring-billed Gull          Ly, Li, YM

Herring Gull          Ly

Forster’s Tern          Ly

Common Loon          Ly, Li

Double-crested Cormorant          Ly, Li, YM

American White Pelican          Ly, Li, YM

Great Blue Heron          Ly, Li, YM

Great Egret          Ly (SAT), Li, YM

Turkey Vulture          Ly (SAT), Li

Northern Harrier          Ly, Li, YM

Sharp-shinned Hawk          Li

Cooper’s Hawk          Ly (SAT)

Bald Eagle          Ly, Li, YM

Broad-winged Hawk          Li

Red-tailed Hawk          Ly, Li, YM

Great Horned Owl          YM

Belted Kingfisher          Ly, Li, YM

Red-bellied Woodpecker          Ly (SAT)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker          Li

Downy Woodpecker          Ly (SAT)

Northern Flicker          Ly, Li, YM

American Kestrel          Ly (SUN), Li, YM

Merlin          Ly

Eastern Phoebe          Ly (SAT)

Blue Jay          Ly, Li

American Crow          Ly, Li, YM

Horned Lark          Ly, Li, YM

Tree Swallow          Ly, Li, YM

Purple Martin          Li

Barn Swallow          Li, YM

Black-capped Chickadee          Ly (SAT), Li, YM

Red-breasted Nuthatch          Ly (SAT)

White-breasted Nuthatch          Ly (SAT,SUN), Li

Ruby-crowned Kinglet          Ly (SAT), Li

Hermit Thrush          Ly (SAT)

American Robin          Ly, Li, YM

European Starling          Ly, Li, YM

House Sparrow          Ly, Li, YM

American Pipit          Li

House Finch          Ly, Li, YM

Pine Siskin          Li

American Goldfinch          Li

Lapland Longspur          Li

Chipping Sparrow          Ly

Field Sparrow          Li

Dark-eyed Junco          Ly

White-throated Sparrow          Ly

Vesper Sparrow          Li

Song Sparrow          Ly, Li, YM

Yellow-headed Blackbird          Ly, Li, YM

Western Meadowlark          Ly, Li, YM

Red-winged Blackbird          Ly, Li, YM

Brown-headed Cowbird          Ly (SUN), Li, YM

Rusty Blackbird          Ly (SUN), YM

Common Grackle          Ly, Li, YM

Orange-crowned Warbler          Ly (SAT)

Yellow-rumped Warbler          Ly (SAT)

Northern Cardinal          Ly

Lyon & Lincoln MBW Summary – The JTL Report

April 12 - 13 - 14, 2024

By Aspiring Junior Tour Leader John Quinn

(with edits by KRE)

John Quinn (right) is presented with his copy of

the Official MBW JTL Instruction Manual.

I think it was near the Gislason Lake Unit of the Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR ( that I heard our fearless leader warble: “Look, there’s a flock of frolicking flickers freely flying….” It was then I found my theme of alliteration for this summary. I sure hope I have license to do this, or I’m liable to get fired, and then I’ll need to litigate. Normally, I’m not litigious, but Kim assured us the MBW’s new insurance policy made him liable. Especially for birds I didn’t see in Lyon or Lincoln or Lynd. Luckily, we saw larks – meadow and horned. If you’re curious about counties, I suggest:, and


Riding with George Vania I received a relevant education in sewage pond technology. Really interesting. His teacher was Dwayne Rollag who revolutionized wastewater treatment. Right in Marshall, Minnesota (where this MBW was based). Ask George sometime about anabolic and anerobic methods for treating fat from meat processing. For more on Rollag, see and And, as our leader is fixated on sewage ponds, here’s an introduction to Wastewater Treatment Ponds so you can be smarter: No question we benefit in many ways from waste treatment. But remember that dining at the Russell or Ruthton cafés does not help with our waist treatment.

We scored big at another redolent location with a rare bird. Great work by several to hear and spot the Sandhill Crane. I was reflecting on the delight of seeing a rare bird: many of us would love to find a Level 4 or Level 5 bird in our lifetime. But it was a real treat to add Peregrine Falcon and Sandhill Crane to Kim’s county lists. Not that I can take credit for either. And Rick finding the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (a rarity on the prairie) was rock-solid birding.

And here are the requisite reptiles and amphibians we saw: Chorus Frogs, Painted Turtles, Garter Snake.

Sorry to tease this summary out too intensely – I’m almost done. We tested the suitability of pickup trucks and Teslas on MBWs – both passed. We were tested by temperatures, temperaments, and a tepid response to my suggestion of a snipe hunt. And there were ticks and more ticks. And tics (of the county-listing variety). Finally home after a great weekend, I was sitting on the deck with my granddaughters calling out Mourning Dove and American Robin while still scanning the trees and sky... and still one more tick.

My best bird event this weekend was looking out the window just one more time at the sewage pond and seeing the coursing flight of the Peregrine Falcon. I am also growing to appreciate how deliberate and careful Kim is to identify and educate others about birds. Spending 30 minutes on Baird’s and Pectoral sandpipers was a great lesson in life. You won’t know everything with certainty, but close observation and being around other people helps. And I learn more when he says, “I’m not sure.”

[Also noteworthy were the strong winds on all three days. On Friday, they were enough to produce an uncomfortable wind-chill that we weren’t dressed for as temperatures in the 40s predominated. Then on Saturday afternoon, sustained winds reached 25 mph as the temperature rose to 86 degrees – some 30 degrees above normal.  –KRE]     

Bird List (97 species total)

• Ly (88 species) = found in Lyon County (April 12, 14)

• Li (81 species) = found in Lincoln County (April 13)

* species not annotated = found in both counties

Canada Goose

Trumpeter Swan          Ly

Wood Duck

Blue-winged Teal

Northern Shoveler


American Wigeon


Northern Pintail          Ly

Green-winged Teal



Ring-necked Duck

Greater Scaup          Ly

Lesser Scaup


Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser          Ly

Ruddy Duck

Wild Turkey

Ring-necked Pheasant

Pied-billed Grebe

Horned Grebe          Ly

Red-necked Grebe          Ly

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Mourning Dove

American Coot

Sandhill Crane          Ly

American Golden-Plover          Li


Dunlin          Ly

Baird’s Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper          Ly

Pectoral Sandpiper          Ly

Wilson’s Snipe          Ly

Lesser Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs          Ly

Bonaparte’s Gull

Franklin’s Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Common Loon

Double-crested Cormorant

American White Pelican

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret          Ly

Turkey Vulture

Northern Harrier

Cooper’s Hawk

Bald Eagle

Swainson’s Hawk          Ly

Red-tailed Hawk

Belted Kingfisher

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker          Ly

American Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon          Li

Eastern Phoebe

Blue Jay

American Crow

Black-capped Chickadee

Horned Lark

Tree Swallow

Purple Martin          Li

Barn Swallow          Li

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper          Li

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher          Li

European Starling

Eastern Bluebird          Li

Hermit Thrush

American Robin

House Sparrow

House Finch

Purple Finch          Li

Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch          Ly

Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Vesper Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Western Meadowlark

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Rusty Blackbird          Li

Common Grackle

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Northern Cardinal

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