*          *          *


October 19-20-21, 2012

Friday's weather in Yellow Medicine Co was certainly challenging – not only was it too cold, windy, and wet, but it was relatively dark as well, and just seeing and identifying the birds out there was difficult much of the day. But at least things brightened up considerably over the next two days in Lincoln and Lyon counties, and overall it became a pretty decent weekend. We eventually came up with 98 species, and our composite list would have hit an even 100 if part of the group had the time to check Curtis Lake on the way home on Sunday. (Lesser Yellowlegs and Long-billed Dowitchers were present there among a nice assortment of shorebirds and would have been added to our list; these two would have also made it 10 shorebird species, pretty impressive for this late in October.)

Most of you did have the time, though, for some screech-owling at Camden State Park on Saturday evening, and eventually two responded where Joel had found them a couple years ago, with one of them posing for us on a bare branch in Roy's flashlight beam. Another highlight earlier that day was the Northern Shrike which we found in pursuit of meadowlarks, and one of the meadowlarks surprisingly flew up to that utility wire and perched next to the shrike at one point.

Even more memorable that day, of course, were the Surf Scoter at Perch Lake (an apparent first for Lincoln Co) and the Harlan's-type Red-tailed Hawk which flew overhead near Hendricks. (Roy managed some identifiable photos of the hawk which I showed to Hawk Ridge bander Frank Nicoletti, and he concurred in that identification.) Then on Sunday we had distant but identifiable views of that first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull at the landfill, and at the same time a calling Smith's Longspur flew by in front of us while we were gull watching. Remarkably, still another Smith's flew by us at Russell's sewage ponds giving its diagnostic rattle, and eventually Ben and Dale got better looks and listens at some 50 Smith's there! 


Y = seen/heard in Yellow Medicine Co on Oct 19

Li = seen/heard in Lincoln Co on Oct 20

Ly = seen/heard in Lyon Co on Oct 21 (with 1 species on Oct 20)

Cackling Goose        Y, Li

Canada Goose        Y, Li, Ly

Trumpeter Swan        Y

Wood Duck        Y, Ly

Gadwall        Y, Li, Ly

American Wigeon        Y, Li, Ly

Mallard        Y, Li, Ly

Blue-winged Teal        Li, Ly

Northern Shoveler        Y, Li, Ly

Northern Pintail        Ly

Green-winged Teal        Y

Canvasback        Y, Li

Redhead        Y, Li

Ring-necked Duck        Y, Li

Lesser Scaup        Y, Li

Surf Scoter        Li (Perch Lake; apparently a first county record) 

Bufflehead        Y, Li

Hooded Merganser        Li

Ruddy Duck        Y, Li

Ring-necked Pheasant        Y, Li, Ly

Common Loon        Li

Pied-billed Grebe        Y, Li

Double-crested Cormorant        Y, Li

Great Blue Heron        Li

Great Egret        Y

Bald Eagle        Y

Northern Harrier        Y, Li, Ly

Sharp-shinned Hawk        Li, Ly

Cooper's Hawk        Li, Ly

Red-tailed Hawk        Y, Li, Ly (incl a "Harlan's" Red-tailed south of Hendricks in

     Lincoln Co) 

American Kestrel        Li, Ly

Merlin        Li

American Coot        Y, Li

Black-bellied Plover        Y, Li

American Golden-Plover        Li

Killdeer        Y, Li, Ly

Greater Yellowlegs        Y, Li, Ly

Least Sandpiper        Li

Baird's Sandpiper        Y

Pectoral Sandpiper        Li

Wilson's Snipe        Y, Li, Ly

Bonaparte's Gull        Y

Franklin's Gull        Y, Li, Ly

Ring-billed Gull        Y, Li, Ly

Lesser Black-backed Gull        Ly (first-winter bird at Lyon Co landfill)

Rock Pigeon        Y, Li, Ly

Eurasian Collared-Dove        Y, Li

Mourning Dove        Li

Eastern Screech-Owl        Ly (after 15-20 minutes, finally heard & seen at Camden

     State Park)  

Great Horned Owl        Li

Belted Kingfisher        Y, Li

Red-bellied Woodpecker        Y, Li, Ly

Downy Woodpecker        Y, Li, Ly

Hairy Woodpecker        Li, Ly

Northern Flicker        Y, Li, Ly

Pileated Woodpecker        Y, Li

Northern Shrike        Y, Li

Blue Jay        Y, Li, Ly

American Crow        Y, Li, Ly

Horned Lark        Y, Li

Black-capped Chickadee        Y, Li, Ly

White-breasted Nuthatch        Y, Li, Ly

Brown Creeper        Y, Li

Golden-crowned Kinglet        Y, Li, Ly

Ruby-crowned Kinglet        Y, Ly

Eastern Bluebird        Y, Li, Ly

American Robin        Y, Li, Ly

European Starling        Y, Li, Ly

American Pipit        Y, Li, Ly

Cedar Waxwing        Y, Li

Lapland Longspur        Li, Ly

Smith's Longspur        Ly (fly-bys calling at Lyon Co landfill and Russell sewage


Orange-crowned Warbler        Li

Yellow-rumped Warbler        Y, Li, Ly

American Tree Sparrow        Y, Li, Ly

Chipping Sparrow        Ly

Field Sparrow        Y, Ly

Savannah Sparrow        Y, Li, Ly

Fox Sparrow        Y

Song Sparrow        Y, Li, Ly

Lincoln's Sparrow        Ly

Swamp Sparrow        Y, Ly

White-throated Sparrow        Y, Li, Ly

Harris's Sparrow        Y, Li, Ly

White-crowned Sparrow        Li, Ly

Dark-eyed Junco        Y, Li, Ly

Northern Cardinal        Y, Ly

Red-winged Blackbird        Y, Li, Ly

Western Meadowlark        Y, Li, Ly

Rusty Blackbird        Y, Ly

Brewer's Blackbird        Y, Ly

Common Grackle        Y, Li, Ly

Brown-headed Cowbird        Li

Purple Finch        Y, Ly

House Finch        Y, Li, Ly

Pine Siskin        Y, Li

American Goldfinch        Y, Li, Ly

House Sparrow        Y, Li, Ly

*          *          *

Le Conte's Sparrow, Cottonwood, Lyon Co.

Lyon - Lincoln Co's MBW (& Redwood Falls pre-MBW)

October 8-9-10, 2010

As the photo above suggests, it was unfortunate that not everyone had the time to bird with us after lunch on Sunday! For reasons I still can't explain, at least 3 Le Conte's Sparrows decided to pose at length for pictures on a fence wire adjacent to the Cottonwood sewage ponds. At least 3 or 4 others were also present in this field – a fitting climax to our "Sparrows-R-Us" MBW. 

In all, there were no fewer than 17 sparrow species on our composite list, highlighted by that Spotted Towhee near Lynd on Saturday (which stubbornly refused to reappear for half the group), and by a Nelson's Sparrow (perhaps more than one?) which accompanied still more Le Conte's near the Lake Benton sewage ponds on Saturday.

These certainly weren't our only highlights, although things started out slowly on Friday for those on the Redwood Falls-based option. And little wonder that it was relatively quiet with record-breaking temperatures around 90 degrees that day – no less than 30 degrees above normal! Indeed, we "only" managed a dozen sparrow species, though a quite unexpected Cattle Egret at Cottonwood's Sham Lake was a nice unexpected find to end the day. 

Things cooled off nicely into the 70s the next day, and with light winds and low humidity the weather was about as pleasant as it gets in October. Besides that towhee and all the other sparrows, the day's surprises included a very early Rough-legged Hawk seen by some and the extremely late Common Nighthawk seen by all in Tyler. In all, 108 species were turned up during our three days, which was a pretty good composite total considering that the relentlessly uneventful weather that week was not conducive to much migration activity. For example, migrant woods birds were almost non-existent, and even most sewage ponds were relatively empty.           


F = seen on Friday's pre-MBW option (Oct 8 in Redwood, Brown, Renville, Yellow Medicine,

      and Lyon counties) 

Ly = seen in Lyon Co (Oct 9-10)

Li = seen in Lincoln Co (Oct 9)

Snow Goose     Ly (Sham L on Sunday)

Cackling Goose     F,Li

Canada Goose     F,Ly,Li

Wood Duck     F,Ly,Li

Gadwall     Ly,Li

American Wigeon     Li

Mallard     F,Ly,Li

Blue-winged Teal     Ly,Li

Northern Shoveler     F,Ly,Li

Northern Pintail     Ly

Green-winged Teal     Ly,Li

Canvasback     F

Redhead     F,Li

Ring-necked Duck     F,Ly

Bufflehead     Li

Hooded Merganser     Li

Ruddy Duck     F,Ly,Li (incl 330 on Friday at Tyson L, Yellow Medicine Co) 

Ring-necked Pheasant     F,Ly,Li

Wild Turkey     Ly

Common Loon     Li (L Benton)

Pied-billed Grebe     F,Ly,Li

Western Grebe     Ly (McKay L)

Double-crested Cormorant     F,Ly,Li

American White Pelican     Ly,Li

Great Blue Heron     F,Li

Great Egret     Li

Cattle Egret     F

Turkey Vulture     F

Osprey     F

Bald Eagle     F

Northern Harrier     F,Ly,Li

Sharp-shinned Hawk     F,Li

Cooper's Hawk     Li

Swainson's Hawk     Li

Red-tailed Hawk     F,Ly,Li

Rough-legged Hawk     Ly

American Kestrel     Li

Merlin     Ly (chasing a N Harrier)

American Coot     F,Ly,Li

American Golden-Plover     F,Li

Killdeer     F,Ly,Li

Greater Yellowlegs     F,Ly,Li

Lesser Yellowlegs     Li

Least Sandpiper     Li

Baird's Sandpiper     Li

Pectoral Sandpiper     Li

Long-billed Dowitcher     Ly,Li (flying over the county line at Gislason L)

Wilson's Snipe     Ly,Li

Bonaparte's Gull     Li (Perch L)

Franklin's Gull     F,Ly,Li

Ring-billed Gull     Ly,Li

Rock Pigeon     F,Ly,Li

Eurasian Collared-Dove     Ly,Li (Lynd and Ivanhoe)

Mourning Dove     F,Ly,Li

Common Nighthawk     Li

Belted Kingfisher     F,Li

Red-bellied Woodpecker     F,Ly,Li

Downy Woodpecker     F,Ly,Li

Hairy Woodpecker     F,Ly,Li

Northern Flicker     F,Ly,Li

Pileated Woodpecker     F,Ly

Eastern Phoebe     F,Ly,Li

Blue Jay     F,Ly,Li

American Crow     F,Ly,Li

Horned Lark     F,Li

Tree Swallow     F,Li

Barn Swallow     F,Li

Black-capped Chickadee     F,Ly,Li

White-breasted Nuthatch     F,Ly,Li

Brown Creeper     F,Ly

Sedge Wren     Li

Golden-crowned Kinglet     Ly,Li

Ruby-crowned Kinglet     F,Ly,Li

Eastern Bluebird     F,Ly,Li

American Robin     F,Ly,Li

European Starling     F,Ly,Li

American Pipit     Ly,Li

Cedar Waxwing     F,Li

Orange-crowned Warbler     F,Ly

Yellow-rumped Warbler     F,Ly,Li

Palm Warbler     Ly

Spotted Towhee     Ly

Chipping Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Clay-colored Sparrow     Li

Field Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Vesper Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Savannah Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Grasshopper Sparrow     Ly

Le Conte's Sparrow     Ly,Li

Nelson's Sparrow     Li

Fox Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Song Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Lincoln's Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Swamp Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

White-throated Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Harris's Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

White-crowned Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

Dark-eyed Junco     F,Ly,Li

Northern Cardinal     F,Ly

Red-winged Blackbird     F,Ly,Li

Western Meadowlark     F,Ly,Li

Yellow-headed Blackbird     F

Common Grackle     F,Ly,Li

Brown-headed Cowbird     F,Li

House Finch     F,Ly,Li

Pine Siskin     F,Li

American Goldfinch     F,Ly,Li

House Sparrow     F,Ly,Li

On the "pre-pre-MBW": Yellow Medicine County, 12 October 2017

(Denny Martin photo)


Redwood - Lyon - Lincoln MBW Summary

October 13-14-15, 2017

Yes, I suppose it would be just too much of a stretch to declare the Thursday I spent in Yellow Medicine County as a pre-pre-MBW (we've never really had one of those) so we could include that Vermilion Flycatcher on this trip list. The bird was certainly nice while it lasted (which was all of about five minutes), but it was never seen again later that afternoon or the next day. If it had, perhaps then we could have tried for it on Saturday by making a slight detour north of Lincoln County – though possibly rained out in the process, of course!

This bird would have certainly been a nice addition to this MBW's tradition of rarities. Note that the past three Marshall-based MBWs in fall have recorded the likes of Surf Scoter, Western Sandpiper, Sabine's and Lesser Black-backed gulls, Cattle Egret, Plegadis ibis, "Harlan's" Red-tailed Hawk, Smith's Longspur, Spotted Towhee, and Nelson's Sparrow. Accordingly, my expectations were pretty high for this group to find something really unusual again this year.

"Dave's Slough" did provide a nice assortment of shorebirds for us on Friday morning: including the Baird's Sandpiper and Greater Yellowlegs I found there early Friday evening and the Long-billed Dowitcher Brian saw Saturday morning, there was a total of 9 shorebird species. But that was about it for shorebirds since we essentially saw none anywhere else in three days. And that nice (but wet) group of Red Crossbills unexpectedly appeared at Hole in the Mountain just after lunch on Saturday and posed for photos (see below). But steady rains also came in about the same time and mostly ended any hopes for finding much the rest of that afternoon.

At least the weather the rest of the time was decent, and we even managed to come up with a composite list of 92 species – or make it 97 if you include those 3 extra shorebirds at Dave's Slough plus the Herring Gull and unidentified swallow (probably a Bank) that the Edwardsons and I saw in Cottonwood on the way home on Sunday.

As always, I thank you all for coming – with special thanks to Brian for his Redwood County expertise, to Dave for sharing HIs Slough with us (and earning a Junior Tour Leader Merit Badge in the process), and to Janet's Moscow Mule for providing Saturday evening's entertinment!

Bird List

R = Redwood County pre-MBW, October 13 (74 species)

Ly = Lyon County, October 14-15 (63 species)

Li = Lincoln County, October 14 (61 species)

Canada Goose        R, Ly, Li

Trumpeter Swan        Ly

Wood Duck        Ly, Li

Blue-winged Teal        R

Northern Shoveler        R, Li

Gadwall        R, Li

American Wigeon        Li

Mallard        R, Ly, Li

Northern Pintail        R, Li

Green-winged Teal        R, Li

Redhead        Ly, Li

Ring-necked Duck        R

Bufflehead        R, Ly

Hooded Merganser        Ly

Ruddy Duck        R, Ly, Li

Ring-necked Pheasant        Ly, Li

Wild Turkey        Ly

Pied-billed Grebe        R, Ly, Li

Rock Pigeon        R, Ly, Li

Eurasian Collared-Dove        R, Ly, Li

Mourning Dove        R, Li

American Coot        R, Ly, Li

American Golden-Plover        R

Killdeer        R, Ly

(Baird’s Sandpiper        R)

Least Sandpiper        R

Pectoral Sandpiper        R

Semipalmated Sandpiper        R

(Long-billed Dowitcher        R)

Wilson’s Snipe        R

(Greater Yellowlegs        R)

Franklin’s Gull        R, Ly, Li

Ring-billed Gull        Ly, Li

(Herring Gull        Ly)

Double-crested Cormorant        R, Ly, Li

American White Pelican        Ly

American Bittern        R

Great Blue Heron        Ly, Li

Turkey Vulture        R, Ly

Bald Eagle        R, Li

Northern Harrier        R, Ly, Li

Sharp-shinned Hawk        R, Ly, Li

Cooper’s Hawk        Li

Red-tailed Hawk        R, Ly, Li

Eastern Screech-Owl        R

Belted Kingfisher        Ly, Li

Red-bellied Woodpecker        R, Ly, Li

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker        R

Downy Woodpecker        R, Ly, Li

Hairy Woodpecker        R, Ly

Northern Flicker        R, Ly, Li

Pileated Woodpecker        R, Ly

American Kestrel        R, Ly, Li

Merlin        R

Peregrine Falcon        Li

Eastern Phoebe        R

Blue Jay        R, Ly, Li

American Crow        R, Ly, Li

Horned Lark        R

(swallow, sp.        Ly)

Black-capped Chickadee        R, Ly, Li

Red-breasted Nuthatch        Ly

White-breasted Nuthatch        R, Ly, Li

Brown Creeper        Li

Golden-crowned Kinglet        R, Ly, Li

Ruby-crowned Kinglet        R, Ly, Li

Eastern Bluebird        R, Ly, Li

Hermit Thrush        R, Ly, Li

American Robin        R, Ly, Li

Gray Catbird        Ly, Li

European Starling        R, Ly, Li

Cedar Waxwing        R, Li

House Sparrow        R, Ly, Li

American Pipit        R, Ly, Li

House Finch        R, Ly

Purple Finch        Ly

Red Crossbill        Li

Pine Siskin        R

American Goldfinch        R, Ly, Li

Lapland Longspur        R

Chipping Sparrow        R, Ly, Li

Field Sparrow        Ly

Vesper Sparrow        R, Li

Savannah Sparrow        R, Ly, Li

Fox Sparrow        R, Ly, Li

Song Sparrow        R, Ly, Li

Lincoln’s Sparrow        R, Ly

Swamp Sparrow        R, Li

White-throated Sparrow        R, Ly, Li

Harris’s Sparrow        R, Ly, Li

Dark-eyed Junco        R, Ly, Li

Western Meadowlark        Ly, Li

Red-winged Blackbird        R, Ly, Li

Common Grackle        R, Ly, Li

Orange-crowned Warbler        R, Ly

Yellow-rumped Warbler        R, Ly, Li

Northern Cardinal        R, Ly

Roy Zimmerman photo

Gerry Hoekstra photo

Note that these three summaries are of MBWs in October

rather than May, but many of the species should be similar.