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Subject:[mou-net] Wilson's Phalaropes,180th St. marsh/N. Mockingbird, Empire substation, Dakota Co.
From:linda whyte <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:linda whyte <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 2 May 2010 20:21:00 -0600

(Please excuse the late post)
This afternoon there were 4 Wilson's phalaropes at the 180th St.
marsh. I relayed that information via phone to a fellow birder, who
found them later in the day; he and his companion also saw a C.
Yellowthroat there, along with a Brown Thrasher and a L. shrike
nearby, on Emery Ave. and 180th. A very late return to the marsh
revealed nothing of the last 3 species, but the phalaropes were still
present. They were engaging in the fascinating feeding behavior of
spinning to churn food up from the bottom. As we were departing, two
or three sora were calling from the cattails and marsh grasses at the
other side of the pond.

At the Empire substation we enjoyed meadowlark song, and observed a
pair of kestrels using the fencing and electrical cables to launch
hunts. We then heard a repetitive repertoire we took at first to be
thrasher, since we've seen those there in past years. We followed the
sounds up the rise behind the station, to a grassy area with some old
farm machinery and some very young evergreens. By then the song did
not register as a thrasher's.

We found the bird singing from atop a brush pile. Split-second
impression was one of shrike, with gray, black and white. It moved
back and forth from there to the ground, flashing white patches in its
wings, and white outer tail feathers. We could see a faint dark line
through the eye; the eye color was less discernible, but seemed
decidedly light, bringing the recognition of mockingbird, which was
confirmed with the Sibley guide.

We then walked along the hillside and conifer plantation to the west,
and got good looks at a singing Clay-colored sparrow. In the meantime,
the Mockingbird moved west along the hill we had traveled. We retraced
our footsteps, following the song, and thought we might have been
hearing two voices, but we did not re-locate the bird.

Linda Whyte

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