While lots of other folks went chasing the Black Guillemot today, I made
my way up through Sherburne to Lake Mille Lacs. The large number of
hunters made me favor the roadside birding of Mille Lacs over the
bush-beating of Sherburne.
I found two Townsend's Solitaires, singing, calling, and chasing each
other aggressively, in the field west of the Ann Lake campground near
Sherburne NWR (directions posted recently by Al Schirmacher). A few
other birds around, but nothing notable.
Along the west side of Lake Mille Lacs, I looked at several hundred each
of Common Loons, Common Goldeneye, Bonaparte's and Ring-billed Gulls,
but couldn't find any unusual species among them.
While scanning the lake from the big fish pulloff in Garrison, I ran
into Tanya Beyer. After a few minutes an adult male Black Scoter flew
in, landed, dove once, and apparently didn't like what it found. It
then flew out and up, headed south high above the lake. It looked like
it was headed for Iowa, but it may have stopped somewhere further south
along the lakeshore.
Lastly, while driving down Highway 65 in Kanabec County, just south of
Brunswick, I had a medium-sized gamebird fly across the road in front of
me. It looked an awful lot like a Gray Partridge, but it's tough to be
sure at 60 mph. The habitat in the area was a mix of fields and
treelines, and looked decent for partridges. The MOU website doesn't
list them as occurring in the county, but I'm curious if anyone's seen
them there (even if it was released birds).
Thanks, and good birding.
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