November 3-4 and November 5-6, 2016

On this year’s two North Shore MBWs we produced similar results to last year. You'll see that again MBW II came up with a larger list: 66 species compared to the 49 on MBW I. But keep in mind that there were strong south winds on both days of the first MBW, and the first group had fewer pairs of eyes to spot things and stayed together in a single group, while MBW II had twice as many participants and was able to split up most of the time. Still, MBW I came up with 6 species which were not seen on the second MBW, including Red-bellied Woodpecker and Northern Shrike.

The earlier MBW also came up with several birds of interest that the latter group also saw: Cackling Goose, Black and White-winged scoters, Long-tailed Duck, Rough-legged Hawk, and that cooperative Northern Mockingbird in Two Harbors (first found by Jim Lind).

And among those seen only on MBW II were Northern Pintail, Surf Scoter, Red-throated Loon, both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned kinglets, Bohemian Waxwing, Red and White-winged crossbills, Common Redpoll, Western Meadowlark, and Rusty Blackbird.

I would like to thank Dave Benson for his help on the second MBW, so that we were able to locate a second Northern Mockingbird and all those species seen on the run up to the Lima Mountain Road on Sunday – including some close up looks at a Spruce Grouse. I would also like to thank Kim for his help in organizing the logistics and setting up the carpooling – some of which he managed to do all the way from New Zealand & Australia! I also thank all of the participants on both MBWs for joining us on this November traditional along the North Shore.

– Craig Mandel

BIRD LIST (composite list both MBWs = 70 species)

NS I = North Shore I MBW, November 3-4 (49 species)

NS II = North Shore II MBW, November 5-6 (66 species)

S = St Louis County

L = Lake Co County

C = Cook Co County

Cackling Goose          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Canada Goose          NS I (LC)     NS II (SLC)

American Black Duck          NS I (C)

Mallard          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Green-winged Teal          NS I (L)     NS II (L)

Northern Pintail          NS II

Redhead          NS I (L)      NS II (L)

Lesser Scaup          NS I (L)

Surf Scoter          NS II (LC)

White-winged Scoter          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Black Scoter          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Long-tailed Duck          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Bufflehead          NS I (SC)      NS II (C)

Common Goldeneye          NS I (C)     NS II (C)

Hooded Merganser          NS I (SL)    NS II (L)

Red-breasted Merganser          NS I (SC)     NS II (SLC)

Ruffed Grouse          NS I (C)     NS II (LC)

Spruce Grouse          NS II (C)

Horned Grebe          NS I (SLC)     NS II (L)

Red-necked Grebe          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Rock Pigeon          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Morning Dove          NS I (L)     NS II (L)

Wilson's Snipe          NS I (L)

Ring-billed Gull         NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Herring Gull          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Red-throated Loon          NS II (L)

Common Loon          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Bald Eagle          NS I (SLC)     NS II (LC)

Red-tailed Hawk          NS II (L)

Rough-legged Hawk          NS I (L)     NS II (SLC)

(Boreal Owl - possibly heard by Jerry on NS II)

Red-bellied Woodpecker          NS I (C)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker          NS II (C)

Downy Woodpecker          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Hairy Woodpecker          NS I (SC)     NS II (LC)

Pileated Woodpecker          NS I (SLC)     NS II (LC)

Merlin          NS II (C)

Northern Shrike          NS I (LC)

Gray Jay           NS II (C)

Blue Jay          NS I (L)    NS II (LC)

American Crow          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Common Raven          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Horned Lark          NS I (C)     NS II (L)

Black-capped Chickadee          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Red-breasted Nuthatch          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

White-breasted Nuthatch          NS I (LC)     NS II (SLC)

Brown Creeper          NS II (C)

Golden-crowned Kinglet          NS II (S)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet          NS II (L)

American Robin          NS I (LC)     NS II (C)

Northern Mockingbird         NS I (L)     NS II (L)

European Starling          NS I (SL)     NS II (SLC)

Bohemian Waxwing          NS II (C)

Cedar Waxwing          NS II (SL)     NS II (L)

House Sparrow          NS I (SC)     NS II (SLC)

Purple Finch          NS II (LC)

Red Crossbill          NS II (C)

White-winged Crossbill          NS II (SC)

Common Redpoll          NS II (LC)

Pine Siskin          NS I (C)    NS II (LC)

American Goldfinch          NS I (C)     NS II (LC)

Lapland Longspur          NS II (L)

Snow Bunting          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Yellow-rumped Warbler          NS I (SC)

American Tree Sparrow          NS I (C)     NS II (LC)

Dark-eyed Junco          NS I (L)     NS II (SLC)

Northern Cardinal          NS I (C)

Red-winged Blackbird          NS II (C)

Western Meadowlark          NS II (L)

Rusty Blackbird          NS II (L)

Common Grackle          NS I (S)     NS II (S)

*          *          *


November 5-6 and November 7-8, 2015

White-eyed Vireo, 8 November 2015, Artists Point, Grand Marais

(Dee Kuder photo)

As you scan through the two North Shore MBW summaries below, it’s evident that MBW II came up with a better list: 66 species (including that White-eared Vireo!) compared to 54 species on MBW I. But keep in mind that there was low overcast/fog/drizzle on the first MBW, and Craig’s group found that most bird activity was over by 2:30 pm on their first day as it started getting dark. His group also had fewer pairs of eyes to spot things and stayed together in a single group, while MBW II had twice as many participants and was able to split up most of the time. Still, MBW I came up with 4 species (including late-lingering Green-winged Teal and Turkey Vulture, plus a N Shrike) which MBW II didn’t see.

The earlier MBW also came up with several species of interest that the later group also saw: Snow and Cackling geese, all three scoters at various sites, Long-tailed Ducks (best at Good Harbor Bay), Rough-legged Hawks, a Red-bellied Woodpecker in Two Harbors, late Gray Catbirds (Grand Marais on I, Beaver Bay on II) and Brown Thrashers (Grand Marais on I and II, also Two Harbors on II), Bohemian Waxwings (Beaver Bay on I and II, also a few other sites on II), lots of Snow Buntings along the highway, late Yellow-rumped Warblers (near Five Mile Rock on I, MN DOT garage on II), late Harris’s Sparrow in Two Harbors, N Cardinal in Grand Marais, Pine Grosbeaks, and Red Crossbills (Two Harbors on I, Knife River on II).    

And among the birds seen only on MBW II were: a late Double-crested Cormorant, a lone Boreal Chickadee in Beaver Bay, a late unidentified meadowlark (probably Western), Rusty Blackbirds (also Beaver Bay), and migrating redpolls at several locations. The White-eyed Vireo, of course, was far and away the best highlight. First called to our attention on Sunday morning at Artists Point by Suzanne Swanson (who asked for help with its ID), it was eventually seen by the entire MBW group (and by other non-MBWers who were alerted) and was still present later that morning. Not only was this Casual Minnesota species unusually late, but it’s only the second record ever for the northeastern quarter of the state (the first was in October 2001 at Lutsen Sea Villas in Cook Co – spotted by MBWer Jeff Stephenson and others).

BIRD LIST (composite list both MBWs = 70 species)

NS I = North Shore I MBW, November 5-6 (54 species)

• NS II = North Shore II MBW, November 7-8 (66 species)

(S) = St Louis County

(L) = Lake Co County

(C) = Cook Co County

Snow Goose          NS I (LC)     NS II (C)

Cackling Goose          NS I (L)     NS II (L)

Canada Goose          NS I (L)     NS II (L)

American Black Duck          NS II (L)

Mallard          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Green-winged Teal          NS I (C)

Surf Scoter          NS I (LC)     NS II (C)

White-winged Scoter          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Black Scoter          NS I (C)     NS II (C)

Long-tailed Duck          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Bufflehead          NS I (C)     NS II (C)

Common Goldeneye          NS I (C)     NS II (SC)

Common Merganser          NS II (L)

Red-breasted Merganser          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Ruffed Grouse          NS II (C)

Common Loon          NS I (SL)     NS II (SL)

Horned Grebe          NS I (LC)     NS II (SC)

Red-necked Grebe          NS I (L)     NS II (L)

Double-crested Cormorant          NS II (L)

Turkey Vulture          NS I (C)

Bald Eagle          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Northern Harrier          NS II (L)

Sharp-shinned Hawk          NS II (L)

Red-tailed Hawk          NS II (L)

Rough-legged Hawk          NS I (LC)     NS II (SLC)

Ring-billed Gull          NS I (SL)     NS II (SL)

Herring Gul          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Rock Pigeon          NS I (LC)     NS II (SLC)

Mourning Dove          NS II (C)

Red-bellied Woodpecker          NS I (L)     NS II (L)

Downy Woodpecker          NS I (SLC)     NS II  (SLC)

Hairy Woodpecker          NS I (L)     NS II (SL)

Pileated Woodpecker          NS I (C)     NS II (SC)

falcon, sp (probably Am Kestrel)         NS II (C)

Northern Shrike          NS I (L)

White-eyed Vireo          NS II (C)

Blue Jay          NS I (LC)     NS II (SLC)

American Crow          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Common Raven          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Horned Lark          NS I (L)     NS II (SLC)

Black-capped Chickadee          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Boreal Chickadee          NS II (L)

Red-breasted Nuthatch          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

White-breasted Nuthatch          NS I (LC)     NS II (L)

Brown Creeper          NS II (C)

Golden-crowned Kinglet          NS I (kinglet, sp / L)     NS II (S)

American Robin          NS I (LC)     NS II (SLC)

Gray Catbird          NS I (C)     NS II (L)

Brown Thrasher          NS I (C)     NS II (LC)

European Starling          NS I (L)     NS II (LC)

American Pipit          NS II (LC)

Bohemian Waxwing          NS I (L)     NS II (LC)

Lapland Longspur          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

Snow Bunting          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Yellow-rumped Warbler          NS I (C)     NS II (L)

American Tree Sparrow          NS I (C)     NS II (L)

White-throated Sparrow          NS I (S)

Harris's Sparrow          NS I (L)     NS II (L)

White-crowned Sparrow          NS I (SL)     NS II (LC)

Dark-eyed Junco          NS I (SLC)     NS II (SLC)

Northern Cardinal          NS I (C)     NS II (C)

Red-winged Blackbird          NS I (C)     NS II (SL)

meadowlark, sp (probably Western)          NS II (L)

Rusty Blackbird          NS II (L)

Pine Grosbeak          NS I (C)     NS II (SLC)

Red Crossbill          NS I (L)     NS II (L)

Common Redpoll          NS II (SLC)

Pine Siskin          NS I (LC)     NS II (SLC)

American Goldfinch          NS I (LC)     NS II (LC)

House Sparrow          NS I (SL)     NS II (SL

Also see the 2016 and 2015 MBWs summaries

following the summary of the 2017 MBWeekends



November 2-3 and November 4-5, 2017

Needless to say, given the gallery of photos above and the array of species listed below, these back-to-back MBWeekends added up to four pretty eventful days up the North Shore of Lake Superior. In all, there was a composite total of 77 species (70 on MBW I; 60 on MBW II), with both MBWs finding such special birds as White-winged and Black scoters, Long-tailed Duck, a lone Ruddy Duck in Grand Marais (a real rarity in this part of the state), Red-throated Loon (also rare), Northern Shrike, Mountain Bluebird (rare anywhere in MN), Townsend’s Solitaire (another rarity), Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak, Hoary Redpoll (among the Commons), and both Red and White-winged crossbills.

In addition to these, MBW I had some other unexpected birds, but unfortunately none of them stayed around for MBW II. A tip from Josh Watson gave us nice looks at a cooperative and totally out-of-place Spruce Grouse near Grand Marais off Hwy 61 – previous sightings of this species so close to Lake Superior are nearly unprecedented! Craig and part of the group spotted a Eurasian Collared-Dove (a first Cook County record!) in the Grand Marais campground, but it flew off after a couple of minutes and could not be relocated. A very late White-rumped Sandpiper lingered in the pond by the old MN DOT garage near Silver Bay, and we had a close side-by-side comparison of a Pacific Loon next to a Common near the McQuade Road harbor.

MBW I also had more reasonable weather than MBW II without any precipitation to speak of and with moderate W and N winds conducive to migration. There were many Rough-legged Hawks and several Snow Bunting flocks (with larks and longspurs among them) on the move, but most of these seemed to be gone by the time MBW II began – note that MBW II missed Lapland Longspur entirely. The earlier MBW also had 3 Mountain Bluebirds (in Two Harbors) and 3 Townsend’s Solitaires (2 in Knife River; 1 in Grand Marais), while the second MBW could find just one of each, which may have been due to the unpleasant weather.

Saturday’s weather on MBW II was especially uncooperative with some mixed precipitation at times, along with damp, cold winds off Lake Superior which made scanning the lake and just looking for land birds in general a challenge. Still, this latter MBW did come up with some birds missed on MBW I, including Cackling Geese and a Peregrine in Two Harbors, plus a Harris’s Sparrow at the feeders at Tettagouche. This weekend also found 2 Red-throated Loons (in Two Harbors, and between Stoney Point and French River), both of them closer than the lone Red-throated seen in Two Harbors on MBW I, and MBW II also had better looks at Hoary Redpolls and Red Crossbills.

Bird List

• I = found on Nov 2-3 MBW

• II = found on Nov 4-5 MBW

• S = St Louis County

• L = Lake Co County

• C = Cook County  

Cackling Goose      II L (not seen on MBW I)

Canada Goose        I LC; II L

American Wigeon        I C; II C

Mallard        I C; II C

American Black Duck        I C; II C

Green-winged Teal        I C; II C

Ring-necked Duck        I L (not seen on MBW II)

Lesser Scaup        I C; II C

White-winged Scoter        I C; II C

Black Scoter        I C; II C

Long-tailed Duck        I SC; II SC

Bufflehead      II C (not seen on MBW I)

Common Goldeneye        I C; II C

Hooded Merganser        I L (not seen on MBW II)

Common Merganser        I SC; II SC

Red-breasted Merganser        I LC; II LC

Ruddy Duck        I C; II C

Spruce Grouse        I C (not seen on MBW II)

Horned Grebe        I SL; II S

Red-necked Grebe        I LC; II C

Rock Pigeon        I LC; II LC

Eurasian Collared-Dove        I C (not seen on MBW II)

Mourning Dove        I LC; II C

White-rumped Sandpiper        I L (not seen on MBW II)

Ring-billed Gull        I SL; II L

Herring Gull        I SLC; II SLC

Red-throated Loon        I L; II SL

Pacific Loon        I S (not seen on MBW II)

Common Loon        I SC; II SLC

Bald Eagle        I SLC; II SLC

Sharp-shinned Hawk        I SLC (not seen on MBW II)

Red-tailed Hawk        I SLC; II SL

Rough-legged Hawk        I SLC; II SLC

Red-bellied Woodpecker      II C (not seen on MBW I)

Downy Woodpecker        I SC; II LC

Hairy Woodpecker        I SC; II LC

Pileated Woodpecker        I SLC; II C

Merlin      II S (not seen on MBW I)

Peregrine Falcon      II L (not seen on MBW I)

Northern Shrike        I LC; II LC

Blue Jay        I LC; II LC

American Crow        I SLC; II SLC

Common Raven        I SLC; II SLC

Horned Lark        I SLC; II SC

Black-capped Chickadee        I SLC; II SLC

Red-breasted Nuthatch        I SLC; II LC

White-breasted Nuthatch      II L (not seen on MBW I)

Golden-crowned Kinglet        I S; II C

Eastern Bluebird        I L (not seen on MBW II)

Mountain Bluebird        I L; II L

Townsend’s Solitaire        I LC; II L

Swainson’s Thrush        I L (not seen on MBW II)

American Robin        I SLC; II SLC

European Starling        I LC; II C

Bohemian Waxwing        I LC; II LC

House Sparrow        I SL (not seen on MBW II)

American Pipit        I SLC; II C

Pine Grosbeak        I LC; II LC

Purple Finch        I L (not seen on MBW II)

Common Redpoll        I SLC; II SLC

Hoary Redpoll        I LC; II SLC

Red Crossbill        I L; II L

White-winged Crossbill        I C; II LC

Pine Siskin        I SLC; II LC

Lapland Longspur        I SLC (not seen on MBW II)

Snow Bunting        I SLC; II SLC

American Tree Sparrow        I SLC; II SLC

Savannah Sparrow        I S (not seen on MBW II)

Song Sparrow        I LC (not seen on MBW II)

White-throated Sparrow        I L (not seen on MBW II)

Harris’s Sparrow      II L (not seen on MBW I)

White-crowned Sparrow        I SL; II LC

Dark-eyed Junco        I SLC; II SLC

Western Meadowlark        I L; II LC

Rusty Blackbird        I C (not seen on MBW II)

Yellow-rumped Warbler        I C (not seen on MBW II)

Northern Cardinal        I LC; II L

*          *          *

White-winged and Black scoters  ~  Grand Marais harbor (Neil Wingert photo)

Long-tailed Duck  ~  McQuade Road harbor (Gerry Hoekstra photo)

Spruce Grouse  ~  Coyote Ridge Road (KRE photo)

White-rumped Sandpiper  ~  MN DOT garage pond (Pat Klett photo)

Pacific Loon with Common Loon  ~  near McQuade Road harbor (Neil Wingert photo)

Mountain Bluebird  ~  Two Harbors (Gerry Hoekstra photo)

Townsend’s Solitaire  ~  Knife River (Gerry Hoekstra photo)

Bohemian Waxwing  ~  Two Harbors (Neil Wingert photo)

Hoary Redpoll  ~  Knife River (Neil Wingert photo)

White-winged Crossbill (juv.)  ~  Croftville Road (Gerry Hoekstra photo)