Today around noon, I enjoyed seeing the male Varied Thrush at 17774 Blackbird Trail, accessed from Ravenna Trail, southeast of Hastings. Richard, the home owner, loves to talk about the birds in this area, which is an excellent bird habitat near the Mississippi River. The thrush flew and perched on the crab apple tree, spruce tree and on the ground to feed. Park on the side of the road, and walk to the home. As reported before, the porch/ deck is the best place to view the bird. Many feeder birds were also on the ground and in the trees.
I also saw the female Long-tailed Duck previously reported at Point Douglas Park. The duck was with a large flock of Common Goldeneye, swimming beyond the numerous Canada Geese, which were resting on the ice near the shore. I was initiating my new scope, so was pleased to find the duck easily and get a clear view. It got much better, because the duck gradually swam toward the shore and scrambled up on the ice to rest with the geese! To get to Point Douglas Park, drive across the Hastings Bridge, turn right at Hwy 10, and drive until you see the one-way entrance to the park on your left, just before the Prescott bridge.
On my way to Hastings, I saw a light-morph Rough-legged Hawk in Dakota Cty on the north side of Highway 20, between 270th and 260th Avenue. The hawk was perched on a utility pole, and later flew to perch on a tree north of the pole. Highway 20 begins at the Cannon Falls downtown stoplight, and ends at Hwys 50 and 61(240th St), where you make a right/left jog to go north on Hwy 61to Hastings. I saw the same hawk (I'm pretty sure) on a pole in the same location, when I returned to Cannon Falls.
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