(incl. Lake of the Woods pre-MBW)

September 4 - 5 - 6 - 7, 2015

It was an interesting MBW, to say the least! While that striking Little Gull at the Warroad sewage ponds was certainly the  highlight, there were other significant sightings as well. The concentration of at least six Black-backed Woodpeckers in that small section of the Thompson Forest Road burn was both impressive and intriguing – you have to wonder how many more Black-backeds (and American Three-toeds?) were out there in the other parts of the burn we didn’t cover. And probably just as significant were all those Wilson’s Snipes (at least 60 of them) at the Greenbush sewage ponds – possibly an all-time Minnesota record?

Other highlights included the Swainson’s Hawk flying over Hwy 313 north of Warroad, and the nice looks by both groups at Le Conte’s Sparrows in different places. In all, we came up with 158 species over the four days, which is about average for this MBW. Our shorebird total was 16 species, also about average on this weekend, with just about all of them limited to the rocky shorelines of the Baudette, Warroad, Roseau, and Greenbush sewage ponds. Our list of 20 warbler species apparently ties the record for this MBW, although there were no real concentrations or waves to be found, and several of the warblers were represented by just 1 or 2 individuals or only seen by a few MBWers.

As always, I thank everyone for coming and being a part of our 30th season of MBWs. And for enduring the constant threat of rain (which we mostly avoided), and the dearth of restaurants in Roseau ( may now have to rank Dairy Queen as #1!). Of course, we all thank Craig for taking over for me on Friday’s pre-MBW and for co-leading during the rest of the MBW in Roseau County. But note that he was handsomely compensated for his efforts – as a consequence of that reduced $30 fee for all of this season’s MBWs, Craig received no less than $3.17 an hour + expenses! (Maybe being permanently fired wouldn’t be so bad….)



L = Lake of the Woods Co, mostly Sept 4 (incl 3 on Mon afternoon)

R = Roseau County, Sept 5 - 6 - 7

Canada Goose        LR

Trumpeter Swan        R

Wood Duck        LR

Gadwall        R

American Wigeon        R

Mallard        LR

Blue-winged Teal        LR

Northern Shoveler        LR

Green-winged Teal        LR

Canvasback        LR

Redhead        LR

Ring-necked Duck        LR

Lesser Scaup        R

Bufflehead        LR

Common Goldeneye        LR

Hooded Merganser        LR

Ruddy Duck        LR

Common Loon        LR

Pied-billed Grebe        LR

Horned Grebe        LR

Red-necked Grebe        R

Double-crested Cormorant        LR

American White Pelican        LR

American Bittern        R

Great Blue Heron        R

Green Heron        K (Kittson County-only)

Black-crowned Night-Heron        R

Turkey Vulture        LR

Osprey        L

Bald Eagle        LR

Northern Harrier        R

Sharp-shinned Hawk        R

Cooper's Hawk        R

Broad-winged Hawk        LR

Swainson's Hawk        R (late; relatively rare here) 

Red-tailed Hawk        LR

Virginia Rail        R

Sora        LR

American Coot        LR

Sandhill Crane        LR

Black-bellied Plover        R

Killdeer        LR

Spotted Sandpiper        LR

Solitary Sandpiper        R

Greater Yellowlegs        LR

Lesser Yellowlegs        LR

Stilt Sandpiper        LR

Sanderling        R

Baird's Sandpiper        LR

Least Sandpiper        LR

Pectoral Sandpiper        LR

Semipalmated Sandpiper        L

Short-billed Dowitcher        LR

Long-billed Dowitcher        LR

Wilson's Snipe        LR (at least 60 at Greenbush sewage ponds!)

Red-necked Phalarope        L

Bonaparte's Gull        LR

LITTLE GULL        R (nice spotting, Denny!)

Franklin's Gull        LR

Ring-billed Gull        LR

Herring Gull        LR

Caspian Tern        LR

Common Tern        LR

Rock Pigeon        LR

Mourning Dove        LR

Great Horned Owl        R

Barred Owl        R

Common Nighthawk        LR

Chimney Swift        R

Ruby-throated Hummingbird        LR

Belted Kingfisher        LR

Red-headed Woodpecker        LR

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker        LR

Downy Woodpecker        LR

Hairy Woodpecker        LR

Black-backed Woodpecker        R (at least 6 in the burn!)

Northern Flicker        LR

Pileated Woodpecker        LR

American Kestrel        LR

Merlin        LR

Olive-sided Flycatcher        R

Eastern Wood-Pewee        LR

Least Flycatcher        LR

Eastern Phoebe        LR

Western Kingbird        R (brief view, spotted by Linda)

Eastern Kingbird        LR

Yellow-throated Vireo        R

Blue-headed Vireo        LR

Warbling Vireo        R

Philadelphia Vireo        LR

Red-eyed Vireo        LR

Gray Jay        R

Blue Jay        LR

Black-billed Magpie        LR

American Crow        LR

Common Raven        LR

Purple Martin        R

Tree Swallow        R

Bank Swallow        R

Cliff Swallow        R

Barn Swallow        LR

Black-capped Chickadee        LR

Red-breasted Nuthatch        LR

White-breasted Nuthatch        LR

House Wren        LR

Sedge Wren        R

Marsh Wren        R

Golden-crowned Kinglet        LR

Ruby-crowned Kinglet        LR

Eastern Bluebird        LR

Swainson's Thrush        R

American Robin        LR

Gray Catbird        LR

European Starling        LR

Cedar Waxwing        LR

Ovenbird        L

Golden-winged Warbler        L

Black-and-white Warbler        LR

Tennessee Warbler        LR

Nashville Warbler        LR

Connecticut Warbler        L (only seen by a few)

Mourning Warbler        R (ditto)

Common Yellowthroat        LR

American Redstart        LR

Northern Parula        L

Magnolia Warbler        LR

Blackburnian Warbler        LR

Yellow Warbler        LR

Chestnut-sided Warbler        LR

Blackpoll Warbler        LR

Palm Warbler        R

Pine Warbler        LR

Yellow-rumped Warbler        LR

Black-throated Green Warbler        R

Wilson's Warbler        R

Chipping Sparrow        LR

Clay-colored Sparrow        LR

Vesper Sparrow        R

Savannah Sparrow        LR

Le Conte's Sparrow        R (seen by both groups at separate locations)

Song Sparrow        LR

Lincoln's Sparrow        R

Swamp Sparrow        R

White-throated Sparrow        LR

Dark-eyed Junco        R

Scarlet Tanager        R

Rose-breasted Grosbeak        LR

Indigo Bunting        L

Bobolink        R (late migrant; only seen by a few)

Red-winged Blackbird        R

Western Meadowlark        R

Brewer's Blackbird        LR

Common Grackle        LR

Baltimore Oriole        R

Purple Finch        R

Pine Siskin        L

American Goldfinch        LR

House Sparrow        LR


– including Pennington & Red Lake Co’s pre-MBW – 

September 2 - 3 - 4 - 5, 2016

Summary by Kim Eckert….Making MBWs Great Again (“What the hell do you have to lose?") 

First, consider that it took awhile to get the car-pooling figured out – and it kept changing daily into Monday morning. Then the weather chose not to cooperate: too warm and too windy on both Friday and Saturday, then most of Sunday afternoon plagued by rain. And take into account the relative lack shorebird mudflats and good warbler fallouts, with the only decent showings of these at Agassiz NWR on Sunday and Monday mornings. You might guess, then, that this annual Labor Day MBW in NW Minnesota would turn out to be somewhat disappointing. Hardly!

Although access to some of the best parts at Agassiz has now become unavailable to MBWs in recent years (for reasons that make little if any sense), it turned out that our most productive birding was in the public areas of the refuge. Of course, our best highlight was finding that juvenile Little Blue Heron on Sunday at Farmes Pool, which was joined by a Snowy Egret the next morning! Even in southern Minnesota these two are rare, especially the Little Blue, and to come up with both together at the same spot this far north was quite a feat. Farmes Pool was also one of our best shorebird areas, as 16 of this MBW's 18 species were either here or at the Headquarters Pool, with the latter site providing us with 3 Hudsonian Godwits –  only a rare to casual fall migrant in the state.

Agassiz also proved to be our best place for finding warblers, especially around the visitors center (closed on weekends, of course, when there would be the most visitors), as 18 of our weekend’s 20 species were seen at the refuge. Noteworthy at Agassiz as well were both American Golden- and Black-bellied plovers and both dowitchers at Headquarters Pool, plus a nice look at a Peregrine hunting around Farmes Pool. Elsewhere our best finds were probably the lone Greater Prairie-Chicken we chanced upon in Red Lake Co, along the Buff-breasted Sandpiper crossing the Pennington-Red Lake county line a short time later. On Friday, there was also a brief fly-by Peregrine at the Red Lake Falls sewage ponds, and later that day a nice flock of 40 or so Red-necked Phalaropes was at the Thief River Falls sewage ponds. Despite the rain on Sunday afternoon, we finally turned up a wet Black-backed Woodpecker in the burn along the Thompson Forest Road, and part of the group ended the MBW at noon on Monday with an unexpected collared-dove by the grain elevator in Thief River Falls.

In all during these 3 1/2 days, we came up with an even 160 species, a total which is about average for this trip. Our best-ever count on this weekend was 171 species in 2008, while some of our totals in other years have been in the 140s. Friday’s pre-MBW had 113 species, including 12 not seen on the main NW Minn MBW (when we had 148).

As usual, we owe special thanks to Craig for his always-invaluable assistance with this MBW – although his discovery of the Viking sewage ponds came after I thought I had been to all of Minnesota’s 370 sewage ponds two days earlier (i.e., Redby). And then Doug made things worse by mentioning the existence of the Franklin sewage ponds, so that I’m now one short of seeing them all. (No Junior Tour Leader Merit Badge for either of them!) Even though no one earned the coveted JTLMB, I did award Ron a JCLMB on Friday (Junior County Lister Merit Badge) by recently recording his 200th species in Cook Co, so that he has now seen 200 in all 87 counties – though I suspect his special key chain with the key to the Redby sewage ponds may have now lost its luster.

BIRD LIST = 160 species (113 on Sept 2 pre-MBW; 148 on Sept 3-4-5 NW Minn MBW)

P = Pennington Co (Sept 2-3-4-5)

R = Red Lake Co (Sept 2)

K = Kittson Co (Sept 3)

M = Marshall Co (Sept 3-4-5)

pre = seen on Pennington-Red Lake pre-MBW (Sept 2)

Canada Goose      PRKM; pre

Trumpeter Swan      KM

Wood Duck      PRKM; pre

Gadwall      PKM; pre

American Wigeon      M

American Black Duck      R; pre-only

Mallard      PRKM; pre

Blue-winged Teal      PRKM; pre

Northern Shoveler      PRM; pre

Northern Pintail      P; pre-only

Green-winged Teal      PRM; pre

Canvasback      PK; pre

Redhead      PK; pre

Ring-necked Duck      PKM; pre

Lesser Scaup      M

Bufflehead      PKM; pre

Common Goldeneye      RKM; pre

Hooded Merganser      PRKM; pre

Ruddy Duck      PM; pre

Greater Prairie-Chicken      R; pre-only

Wild Turkey      P; pre

Common Loon      R; pre-only

Pied-billed Grebe      PKM; pre

Horned Grebe      PM; pre

Red-necked Grebe      M

Eared Grebe      PM; pre

Western Grebe      M

Double-crested Cormorant      RKM; pre

American White Pelican      M

American Bittern      M

Great Blue Heron      PRKM; pre

Great Egret      PRKM; pre

Snowy Egret      M

Little Blue Heron      M

Green Heron      M; pre (Polk Co)

Turkey Vulture      PRKM; pre

Osprey      RK; pre

Bald Eagle      PRM; pre

Northern Harrier      RKM; pre

Sharp-shinned Hawk      RKM; pre

Cooper's Hawk      PM; pre

Broad-winged Hawk      M

Red-tailed Hawk      PRKM; pre

Virginia Rail      M

Sora      M

American Coot      PKM; pre

Sandhill Crane      PRKM; pre

Black-bellied Plover      M

American Golden-Plover      M

Semipalmated Plover      KM

Killdeer      PRKM; pre

Spotted Sandpiper      PRKM; pre

Solitary Sandpiper      M

Greater Yellowlegs      RKM; pre

Lesser Yellowlegs      PRKM; pre

Hudsonian Godwit      M

Stilt Sandpiper      PM; pre

Baird's Sandpiper      M

Least Sandpiper      PRKM; pre

Buff-breasted Sandpiper      PR; pre-only

Pectoral Sandpiper      M

Short-billed Dowitcher      M

Long-billed Dowitcher      M

Wilson's Snipe      PRM; pre

Red-necked Phalarope      PM; pre

Bonaparte's Gull      M

Franklin's Gull      PR; pre

Ring-billed Gull      RM; pre

Caspian Tern      M

Black Tern      P; pre

Common Tern      M

Rock Pigeon      PRKM; pre

Eurasian Collared-Dove      P

Mourning Dove      PRKM; pre

Common Nighthawk      M

Chimney Swift      R; pre-only

Ruby-throated Hummingbird      PRKM; pre

Belted Kingfisher      KM

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker      PRKM; pre

Downy Woodpecker      PKM; pre

Hairy Woodpecker      PKM; pre

Black-backed Woodpecker      Roseau Co

Northern Flicker      PRKM; pre

Pileated Woodpecker      PRM; pre

American Kestrel      PRKM; pre

Merlin      PRM; pre

Peregrine Falcon      RM; pre

Eastern Wood-Pewee      PRKM; pre

Alder Flycatcher      R; pre-only

Least Flycatcher      PM; pre

Eastern Phoebe      PRKM; pre

Eastern Kingbird      RKM; pre

Yellow-throated Vireo      PRM; pre

Blue-headed Vireo      R; pre-only

Warbling Vireo      PRM; pre

Philadelphia Vireo      R; pre-only

Red-eyed Vireo      PRKM; pre

Blue Jay      PRKM; pre

Black-billed Magpie      PRKM; pre

American Crow      PRKM; pre

Common Raven      RKM; pre

Horned Lark      P; pre-only

Purple Martin      M

Tree Swallow      PRM; pre

Bank Swallow      PRK; pre

Cliff Swallow      KM

Barn Swallow      PRKM; pre

Black-capped Chickadee      PRKM; pre

Red-breasted Nuthatch      PRKM; pre

White-breasted Nuthatch      PRKM; pre

House Wren      PM; pre

Sedge Wren      M

Marsh Wren      M

Ruby-crowned Kinglet      RM; pre

Eastern Bluebird      PRKM; pre

Veery      M

Swainson's Thrush      M

American Robin      PRKM; pre

Gray Catbird      PKM; pre

European Starling      PRKM; pre

Cedar Waxwing      PRKM; pre

Ovenbird      M

Northern Waterthrush      PM; pre

Golden-winged Warbler      RKM; pre

Black-and-white Warbler      PRKM; pre

Tennessee Warbler      PRKM; pre

Nashville Warbler      PRKM; pre

Common Yellowthroat      PRKM; pre

American Redstart      PRKM; pre

Cape May Warbler      M

Northern Parula      M

Magnolia Warbler      PKM; pre

Bay-breasted Warbler      RM; pre

Blackburnian Warbler      P; pre-only

Yellow Warbler      PRM; pre

Chestnut-sided Warbler      PRKM; pre

Blackpoll Warbler      RM; pre

Palm Warbler      M

Yellow-rumped Warbler      M

Canada Warbler      R; pre-only

Wilson's Warbler      PRKM; pre

Chipping Sparrow      PRKM; pre

Clay-colored Sparrow      KM

Vesper Sparrow      K

Savannah Sparrow      PRKM; pre

Song Sparrow      PM; pre

Swamp Sparrow      M

White-throated Sparrow      M

Rose-breasted Grosbeak      PKM; pre

Bobolink      PM; pre

Red-winged Blackbird      PRKM; pre

Western Meadowlark      RM; pre

Yellow-headed Blackbird      PR; pre

Brewer's Blackbird      RM; pre

Common Grackle      KM

Baltimore Oriole      M

Purple Finch      M

Pine Siskin      M

American Goldfinch      PRKM; pre

House Sparrow     PRK; pre

*          *          *

Also see the 2016 and 2015 MBWs summaries

following the summary of the 2017 MBWeekend

(Note that these MBWs included areas not in the 2019 MBW itinerary)



September 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, 2017

Spruce Grouse, Pitt Grade Forest Road, Lake of the Woods County

Yes, the weather could have been better...dark overcast and rain on Friday afternoon…a bit too warm in the mid-80s Sunday afternoon…cold temperatures mixed with high winds and some rain on Monday. Still, this is Minnesota where it always could have been worse, and it’s hard to say how much these conditions affected on our birding efforts. Probably more significant were the dry conditions which had been persisting in NW Minnesota most of the summer and which must have had some negative effects on the local birding situation.

Indeed, it did seem that things were generally on the slow side, as we managed to find 147 species during our 3 1/2 days roaming through Lake of the Woods, Roseau, and Marshall counties, with an edge of Beltrami County and a brief visit to Pennington County added on Monday. This composite total in the 140s is on the low end of what we usually find here – around 150-160 is more normal, and 171 species is the best we’ve ever done on this MBW.

Our goal here each Labor Day Weekend is to find 20 species each of shorebirds and warblers, but our respective totals this time were 17 and 15 species. But at least 17 shorebirds is close to normal, with Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, both dowitchers, and Red-necked Phalarope our best finds. Mudflats were practically nonexistent except for one spot at Zipple Bay State Park and another at Agassiz NWR, and the rocky shorelines at the Warroad and Greenbush sewage ponds especially did host some shorebirds. On the other hand, 15 warblers is this MBW’s lowest total in recent years, with four of the five most recent years here reaching 20 species. No significant waves of warblers were ever found, with single Golden-winged, Mourning, and Cape May warblers our best finds – though only a few in the group were able to spot them.        

But there were some other highlights: the 3 Cackling Geese at the Greenbush sewage ponds were unusually early; a flock of a dozen or so Gray Partridge briefly seen just east of Roseau River WMA was a complete surprise; more cooperative was the male Spruce Grouse in Beltrami Island State Forest (probably a first ever for this MBW); the impressive Peregrine Falcon terrorizing the shorebirds and ducks at Agassiz’s mudflats; at least 2 LeConte’s Sparrows posed nicely for all to see at the corner of 410th Ave and 350th St in Roseau Co; and we tracked down a group of Red Crossbills near downtown Roseau, one of which was recorded and documented as a Type 3 individual.

Bird List

L = Lake of the Woods Co (mostly on Sept 1 pre-MBW)

R = Roseau Co (mostly on Sept 2-3)

M = Marshall Co (Sept 4; Roseau & Pennington species on Sept 4 not noted) 

(Note: the sequence of species below follows the 2016 AOU/ABA checklist; this differs from the MBW checklist I distributed, and from the newest 2017 sequence) 

Cackling Goose      R

Canada Goose      LRM

Trumpeter Swan      RM

Wood Duck      LRM

Gadwall      RM

American Wigeon      RM

Mallard      LRM

Blue-winged Teal      RM

Northern Shoveler      RM

Northern Pintail      R

Green-winged Teal      RM

Canvasback      M

Redhead      RM

Ring-necked Duck      RM

Lesser Scaup      R

Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser      RM

Ruddy Duck      RM

Gray Partridge      R

Spruce Grouse      L

Pied-billed Grebe      RM

Horned Grebe      RM

Red-necked Grebe      R

Eared Grebe      RM

Rock Pigeon      LRM

Mourning Dove      LRM

Ruby-throated Hummingbird      LR

Virginia Rail      LRM

Sora      LRM

American Coot      RM

Sandhill Crane      LRM

Semipalmated Plover      LM

Killdeer      RM

Ruddy Turnstone      M

Stilt Sandpiper      R

Sanderling      L

Baird's Sandpiper      LR

Least Sandpiper      LRM

Pectoral Sandpiper      RM

Semipalmated Sandpiper      LRM

Short-billed Dowitcher      R

Long-billed Dowitcher      R

Wilson's Snipe      M

Spotted Sandpiper      LRM

Solitary Sandpiper      LM

Greater Yellowlegs      RM

Lesser Yellowlegs      RM

Red-necked Phalarope      R

Bonaparte's Gull      R

Franklin's Gull      RM

Ring-billed Gull      LRM

Herring Gull      LR

Caspian Tern      R

Black Tern      R

Common Loon      LR

Double-crested Cormorant      LRM

American White Pelican      LRM

Great Blue Heron      LRM

Great Egret      M

Turkey Vulture      LRM

Osprey      L

Bald Eagle      LRM

Northern Harrier      RM

Sharp-shinned Hawk      L

Cooper's Hawk      R

Broad-winged Hawk      LR

Red-tailed Hawk      LRM

Great Horned Owl      R

Belted Kingfisher      LRM

Red-headed Woodpecker      R

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker      LM

Downy Woodpecker      RM

Hairy Woodpecker      LR

Northern Flicker      LRM

American Kestrel      LRM

Merlin      RM

Peregrine Falcon      M

Olive-sided Flycatcher      LR

Eastern Wood-Pewee      LR

Least Flycatcher      LR

Eastern Phoebe      LRM

Great Crested Flycatcher      R

Eastern Kingbird      R

Blue-headed Vireo      LRM

Warbling Vireo      R

Philadelphia Vireo      R

Red-eyed Vireo      LRM

Gray Jay      L

Blue Jay      LRM

Black-billed Magpie      R

American Crow      LRM

Common Raven      LRM

Purple Martin      R

Bank Swallow      R

Cliff Swallow      R

Barn Swallow      LRM

Black-capped Chickadee      LRM

Red-breasted Nuthatch      LR

White-breasted Nuthatch      R

Brown Creeper      R

House Wren      M

Sedge Wren      R

Marsh Wren      RM

Golden-crowned Kinglet      L

Eastern Bluebird      LR

Swainson's Thrush      R

Hermit Thrush      L

American Robin      LRM

Gray Catbird      LR

Brown Thrasher      R

European Starling      LRM

Cedar Waxwing      LRM

House Sparrow      R

Purple Finch      LRM

Red Crossbill      R

Pine Siskin      LR

American Goldfinch      LRM

Northern Waterthrush      L

Golden-winged Warbler      L

Black-and-white Warbler      LR

Tennessee Warbler      LR

Nashville Warbler      LR

Mourning Warbler      R

Common Yellowthroat      LRM

American Redstart      LR

Cape May Warbler      R

Yellow Warbler      R

Chestnut-sided Warbler      LR

Blackpoll Warbler      R

Palm Warbler      LRM

Yellow-rumped Warbler      RM

Wilson's Warbler      LR

Chipping Sparrow      LRM

Clay-colored Sparrow      R

Vesper Sparrow      R

Savannah Sparrow      RM

Le Conte's Sparrow      R

Song Sparrow      LRM

Swamp Sparrow      RM

White-throated Sparrow      LRM

Dark-eyed Junco      L

Rose-breasted Grosbeak      RM

Red-winged Blackbird      RM

Western Meadowlark      R

Yellow-headed Blackbird      M

Brewer's Blackbird      M

Common Grackle      R

*          *          *