Here is an update on the Harlequin Duck that was observed at the Wilkie Unit, which is part of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. After consulting some field guides on my return home, I was able to determine that the Harlequin Duck is a first winter plumage male Harlequin Duck.
There are two ways to reach the location that the bird is at and here they are:
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Maps are available at there web page.
1. Wilkie Unit - main parking lot - 35 to 40 minute walk - The main parking area for the unit is located at the NE corner of the intersection of Highway 101 and Stagecoach road. This is about a 1/2 mile West of Highway 169. From here you need to walk to the west, following the trail around the stand of conifers. Then head on the trail to the North, about 250 yards to a trail that heads to the West. This trail goes between the Blue Lake Water Treatment Plant and Blue Lake. The bird was observed in the small open area on Blue lake, along the north side of the trail.
2. Wilkie Unit - Hunter parking lot - 20 minute walk - This parking area is about 1/4 mile West of the main parking lot and was plowed today. From this parking area, take the trail to the North and then follow the trail that runs west, between the plant and the lake.
Birds observed at the unit and Treatment plant included the following:
Canada Geese - 8
Mallard - 100s
Harlequin Duck - 11:45 - 1:00 pm - One - 1st Winter plumaged male, on the open area of water on Blue Lake.
Common Goldeneye - 100s
Hooded Merganser - 6
Common Merganser - 4
American Coot - 3
Blue Jay - 1
Veterans Park in Shakopee
American Black Duck - 2
Mallard - 100s
Bald Eagle - 3
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
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