I did a leisurely big day today with Gopi Sundar, Swati Kittur, and Chih-Ming Hung, visiting several locations in Dakota and Goodhue counties (leisurely = no owl searches, and only going from 5:30 AM - 5:00 PM). We ended up with 121 species observed for the day, and would likely have had more without the 25 mph wind in the afternoon and an apparent lack of shorebirds in the area. Stops included Gray Cloud State Natural Area, Hok-si-lah Park in Lake City, Frontenac State Park - Sand Point Trail, Miesville Ravine, Lake Byllesby, and 180th Street Marsh. Highlights included:
Henslow's Sparrow - Gray Cloud calling and gave brief good looks about 200 yards northwest of 110th street parking lot
Cerulean Warblers (2) - Miesville Ravine 1/4-1/3 miles up creek along trail leaving from parking lot on north side of 280th St.
Snow Geese - 15 -20 birds still present at west end of Lake Byllesby
Loggerhead Shrike - relocated 1/3 mile east of intersection of Emery and 180th St. (>1 mile from previous location at Emery and 190th).
Lapland Longspur - late flock present SW of intersection of 180th and Fischer
Orchard Orioles - 2 females at 180th St Marsh
Least Bittern (?) - heard 2 bittern-like "grunts" from area where the bittern was previously reported, but could not find it (we didn't count it for the day).
23 total warbler species - Mourning, Cerulean, plus regulars that have been around for a week or more.
The Sand Point Trail at Frontenac is passable up to the boardwalk, and we did not detect any of the local warblers (e.g. prothonotary, cerulean), despite encountering an impressive wave of warblers near the trail's beginning.
We saw only 5 shorebirds (spotted, solitary, and least sandpiper,
killdeer, and lesser yellowlegs). All but the Killdeer were in a
flooded field just west of Cannon Falls on 295th St. Shorebird habitat
at Byllesby is greatly reduced from last year (and earlier this spring)
and the existing mud flats are distant. Only 1 yellowlegs was present.
Embarassing misses included Green Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Ruby-crowned kinglet, and White-throated Sparrow.
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