MBW meeting place in Redwood Falls  ~  Jerry Pruett photo

You’d think with a view like that of a rainbow framed by fall colors as the group met on Thursday morning would suggest we’d be in for some nice weather. Well, let’s see...the day before it had reached the upper 80s, 20 degrees above normal, hot enough to cancel plans for a pre-MBW afternoon in Sibley County...then some steady, quite heavy, and disorienting downpours washed away much of Thursday afternoon...our return to Redwood Falls from the Brown County option Friday afternoon was met with more heavy rain...and we birded through fog, dark overcast, and enough light rain to soak us on Saturday morning. We had to wait until Sunday to see the sun for the first time as cool and ideal temperatures finally provided a near-perfect day.

At least we had four days without any difficulties with the wind (which blows more often than not on the prairie), and we did experience some decent birding with several highlights. In all, we came up with 118 species (not including that Chukar seen on Redwood County’s River Road both Thursday and Sunday), not a bad total since we did relatively little wetlands birding – partly because only a part of Boon Lake was checked during Thursday’s rains. Two of our more interesting water birds presented ID challenges. That oddly colored merganser at the Lower Sioux Community sewage ponds seemed to be a Red-breasted, even though that species is relatively rare on the prairie at any time of year. And I’m confident that the distant Horned Grebe at the Sleepy Eye sewage ponds was the correct ID, although other birders were apparently (mis)calling it an Eared. Sleepy Eye’s ponds also provided us with a Sanderling, while a flock of American Golden-Plovers flew by the Renville sugar beet settling ponds.

Considering the birds of a more terrestrial nature, 12 species of raptors (including 3 falcons and an owl) was a respectable total, as some of these were migrating along the Minnesota River Valley. These included two Peregrines in Redwood County and the Barred Owl at Vicksburg County Park heard on both sides of the river. We could only manage 10 warbler species this late in the season, but it was impressive to find a total of 17 sparrows. (All we missed were Lark, American Tree, Henslow’s, and Spotted Towhee – which would have been late, or early, or unexpected rarities.) Our list included at least 10 LeConte’s (! – 2 at the Brown County slough on Friday, 5 more there on Sunday, 2 at Cedar Rock WMA on Sunday, and another Saturday at Lamberton WMA ); the Grasshopper Sparrow on a Sanborn sewage ponds fence wire (briefly seen by Matt and/or Pete?); and a Nelson seen by Linda S (when 2 sparrows flew in on Sunday at that slough, the rest of us focused on a LeConte’s while she saw the other – the one behind the grassy knoll? – was a Nelson’s).  

Bird List

Ren = Renville County (Sept 30, Oct 1)

Red = Redwood County (Sept 30, Oct 2, Oct 3)

B = Brown County (partial list; Oct 1, Oct 3)

Canada Goose          Ren, Red, B

Trumpeter Swan          Red

Wood Duck          Ren, Red

Blue-winged Teal          Ren, B

Northern Shoveler          Ren, B

Gadwall          Ren, B

Mallard          Ren, Red

Green-winged Teal          Ren

Ring-necked Duck          B

Red-breasted Merganser          Red

Ruddy Duck          Ren, Red, B

[Chukar          Red]

Ring-necked Pheasant          Ren, Red

Wild Turkey          Ren

Pied-billed Grebe          Ren, Red

Horned Grebe          B

Rock Pigeon          Ren, Red

Eurasian Collared-Dove          Ren, Red

Mourning Dove          Ren, Red

Sora          Ren

American Coot          Red, B

American Golden-Plover          Ren

Killdeer          Ren, Red

Sanderling          B

Least Sandpiper          B

Wilson’s Snipe          Ren

Spotted Sandpiper          Red, B

Lesser Yellowlegs          Ren

Greater Yellowlegs          Ren, B

Franklin’s Gull          Ren, Red

Ring-billed Gull          Ren

Common Loon          Ren

Double-crested Cormorant          Ren, Red

Great Blue Heron          Ren, Red

Great Egret          Ren

Turkey Vulture          Ren, Red

Osprey          Red

Northern Harrier          Ren, Red

Sharp-shinned Hawk          Ren, Red

Cooper’s Hawk          Ren, Red

Bald Eagle          Ren, Red

Broad-winged Hawk          Ren, Red

Red-tailed Hawk          Ren, Red

Barred Owl          Ren, Red

Belted Kingfisher          Ren, Red

Red-bellied Woodpecker          Ren, Red

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker          Ren, Red

Downy Woodpecker          Ren, Red

Hairy Woodpecker          Ren, Red

Northern Flicker          Ren, Red

Pileated Woodpecker          Ren, Red

American Kestrel          Ren, Red

Merlin          Red

Peregrine Falcon          Red

Eastern Phoebe          Ren, Red

Blue-headed Vireo          Ren, Red

Red-eyed Vireo          Red

Blue Jay          Ren, Red

American Crow          Ren, Red

Horned Lark          Ren

Barn Swallow          Ren

Black-capped Chickadee          Ren, Red

Red-breasted Nuthatch          Ren, Red

White-breasted Nuthatch          Ren, Red

Brown Creeper          Red

House Wren          Red

Winter Wren          Ren

Sedge Wren          Ren, Red

Marsh Wren          Ren, Red, B

Golden-crowned Kinglet          Ren, Red

Ruby-crowned Kinglet          Ren, Red

Eastern Bluebird          Ren, Red

Hermit Thrush          Red

American Robin          Ren, Red

Gray Catbird          Ren

Brown Thrasher          Red

European Starling          Ren, Red

Cedar Waxwing          Ren, Red

House Sparrow          Ren, Red

American Pipit          Ren, B

House Finch          Red

American Goldfinch          Ren, Red

Grasshopper Sparrow          Red

Chipping Sparrow          Ren, Red

Clay-colored Sparrow          Red

Field Sparrow          Ren, Red

Fox Sparrow          Ren, Red

Dark-eyed Junco          Ren, Red

White-crowned Sparrow          Ren, Red

Harris’s Sparrow          Ren, Red

White-throated Sparrow          Ren, Red

Vesper Sparrow          Ren

Leconte’s Sparrow          Red, B

Nelson’s Sparrow          B

Savannah Sparrow          Ren, Red, B

Song Sparrow          Ren, Red

Lincoln’s Sparrow          Ren, Red

Swamp Sparrow          Ren, Red, B

Eastern Towhee          Ren, Red

Yellow-headed Blackbird          Red

Eastern Meadowlark          Ren

Western Meadowlark          Ren

Red-winged Blackbird          Ren, Red

Brown-headed Cowbird          Ren, Red

Brewer’s Blackbird          Red

Common Grackle          Ren, Red

Black-and-white Warbler          Ren, Red

Tennessee Warbler          Ren

Orange-crowned Warbler          Ren, Red

Nashville Warbler          Ren, Red

Common Yellowthroat          Red

Magnolia Warbler          Ren

Palm Warbler          Ren, Red

Yellow-rumped Warbler          Ren, Red

Black-throated Green Warbler          Red

Wilson’s Warbler          Red

Northern Cardinal          Ren, Red

Rose-breasted Grosbeak          Ren

Indigo Bunting          Ren

Renville & Redwood MBWs Summary

September 30 - October 1 - 2 - 3, 2021

Roy Zimmerman photo


Sedge Wren

(Jerry Pruett photo)

Marsh Wren

(Jerry Pruett photo)

LeConte's Sparrow

(Matt Schaut photo)

Red-breasted Merganser (?)

(Kathrynne Baumtrog photo)

American Golden-Plovers

(Jerry Pruett photo)


(Kathrynne Baumtrog photo)

Least Sandpiper

(Kathrynne Baumtrog photo)