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Subject:Aitkin County raptors - many Rough-legged Hawks and Bald Eagles
From:Erika Sitz <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 27 Mar 2011 23:12:35 -0500

This afternoon we drove up to check out the Tundra Swan site that Betsy
Beneke reported in Kanabec County - nothing there, water frozen.  So we
revised our Aitkin County route to check out CR56 where we had seen swans in
past years.  No swans, but it was the start of what turned out to be a
raptor census of some sort.  Along CR56, CR5, CR18, and US169 homeward, we
saw a total of 34 Rough-legged Hawks, only a few were dark morphs.  We got
great looks at most of them - almost all were perched and flew when the car
approached, none were hovering.  We also saw six Red-tailed Hawks, and
witnessed a very interesting interaction on CR5 about a half mile south of
MN210.   A Rough-legged and a Red-tailed, flew from adjacent power poles out
over a field and circled each other to get position, etc, when out of
nowhere a second Red-tailed dive-bombed the Rough-legged in a falcon-like
manner.  We didn't think to put the window down to hear what it sounded


We saw a total of 22 Bald Eagles - over a dozen of them, along with two
Ravens, had something in a field along CR18 about two miles east of US169.
Completing the raptor count, four Northern Harriers.  Also, two Northern
Shrikes, two Trumpeter Swans,  a Great Blue Heron, a scattering of Canada
Geese (a turnabout, fewer than the hawks and eagles), and a few dozen Crows.
Mammals included a skunk, a raccoon (both live, not roadkill) and about 40
deer, most feeding and loafing in groups.


And, a prelude to this wonderful trip - yesterday we saw two Sandhill Cranes
feeding in a small wet spot in a field in Ramsey, a couple miles west of
home, and today my husband saw his first Red-winged Blackbirds on his
morning walk.


Erika Sitz

Ramsey, north Anoka County

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