We were able to refind the Sand Lake Sibley County moorhen looking from the
public access on Cty Rd 15. From there the bird appeared to be on the west
side, closer to the south west corner. From this distance a scope will be
necessary. From when we first found it until it disappeared into the
cattails was probably only about 10 minutes, but was long enough for a
friend who was on the northwest corner to drive over to the access.
We looked for the moorhens in Blue Earth County at Perch Lake WPA. We know
others also looked without success for at least a total of 4 hours. Note
when looking for these birds be careful. There are at least 4 American Coot
young juveniles in the same area. They are nearly full-sized but still have
a yellowish-orange bill. The field guides generally do not show that very
young juvenile coots have a variable yellowish-orange bill. From our
experience this color is gone and the birds have a whiteish bill by about
the first of August. This color does not approach the bright red that is on
a moorhen but it can be confusing if you are not used to the vivid red bill
of the moorhen. Also note that the moorhen also shows usually rather
clearly a thin white horizontal line on the flanks and the coot never shows
this. Juveniles of both species tend to be paler underneath than adults.
Interesting that these 4 juveniles were not in the same plumage but were all
about the same size indicating they were about the same age. 3 of them were
typical medium gray backed, gray headed, and and slightly paler underneath.
The 4th was very white. It appeared to have a white look over most of the
head, a pale gray upper body color, and almost a white look underneath.
Very strange. Note that we were eventually able to see the adult coot with
these young and they also all followed the adult around for at least a short
Dennis and Barbara Martin
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Williams, Bob" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2010 8:19 AM
Subject: [mou-net] Common Moorhen and Cattle Egrets in Sibley County
>I just got a call from Ron Erpelding and he was able to relocate the
> Common Moorhen at Sand Lake in Sibley County early this morning. He
> only got a brief look before it went back into the cattails. The Cattle
> Egrets were still there, but on the east side of Co. Rd. 13 about a half
> mile south of the previous location.
> Bob Williams
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