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Subject:Blue Grosbeak & Common Moorhen in Blue Earth County
From:Chad Heins <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Chad Heins <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 17 Jul 2011 15:02:07 -0700

Hey birders,
On Thursday last week I found a pair of Blue Grosbeaks in Blue Earth County.  Both were on the road and the female appeared to be open to copulation (though none witnessed).  As I watched them, both flew off into a bean field and disappeared.  Further investigation could not turn up the birds.  I did not post right away because I wanted to make sure they were truly on territory and not passing through.  Saturday I returned with Andrew Krenz and the male showed up within 10 minutes.  I will post directions below, but ask again for courtesy to the birds and other future birders.  Please do not play recordings.  The birds are in a high-traffic area and are very active near the road.  You should have no problem seeing these birds without playing a tape.  Early morning seems to be best.  
To get to the grosbeaks, go west on Hwy 68 from Hwy 169/60.  West of Minneopa State Park turn left onto 216th Street which is a gravel road going west (at an angle).  It is lined by Eastern Red Cedars on the south side and there is a gravel quarry on the north side.  My suggestion is park near the sign for eastbound traffic and listen west from there.  The male seems to prefer the Box Elder on the southwest corner of the quarry, though the wire on the south side of the road gets some use as well.  Other birds here: Clay-colored, Lark, and Field Sparrows, Eastern Towhee, and Eastern Kingbird.
The Common Moorhens are located on 535th Avenue south of Hwy 60.  They have been hit and miss since May when Jim Amundson first reported them to me--I just got saw them for the first time myself on Thursday.  This road branches off from Hwy 60 where CR50 goes north.  Look in the wetland on the east side of the road, particularly on the south shore.  Bob Dunlap indicated he has a pair with 6 young on Saturday.
Happy Birding!
Chad Heins
"But ask the animals and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?" --Job 12:7, 9

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