I birded several areas in McLeod Co. today with good success. I started at Lake Marion, which has a good deal of open water.
Birds at Lake Marion included:
Canvasback--the largest group I've seen in a while, almost as numerous as the scaup
My next stop was a small pond/flooded field on Yacht Ave. just north of 115th St. There was a large group of Greater White-fronted Geese there. After several minutes of watching them, a lone Ross's Goose swam to the middle of the pond (I had apparently missed it on my first 3-4 scans of the pond). I first confidently called it a Ross's, but I took a step back when I noticed a hint of a grin patch. But after closer study the grin patch seemed to be more a trick of the light (it disappeared at certain angles), and because of that, coupled with the triangular bill, I'm fairly certain it's a true Ross's. While there, several hundred more White-fronted Geese flew over, with a single white goose in one flock. Because its size seemed to be on par with the rest of the geese, I'm leaning toward Snow Goose, but I can't say definitively. I also added Green-winged Teal to the list.
My last stop was on the east end 190th St. just south of Hwy 7 along the Crow River. While there I spotted an impressive 15 Bald Eagles (8 of them in a single tree) and several Hooded Mergansers. Ring-billed and Herring Gulls had also come to feast on the dead carp lining the shore. In the brushy field just to the west of those birds a Northern Shrike was feeding. I was able to get a scope on it and confirm that the mask did not extend above the beak.
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