During this past weekend, May 26-27-28, my Minn Birding Weekends group
(MBW) turned up several birds of note in southwestern Minn, especially
a Buff-breasted Sandpiper and 3 Henslow's Sparrows.
The quite unexpected Buff-breasted was found in a flooded field in
Pipestone Co along 110th Ave between Hwy 23 and 131st St.
Unfortunately, it flew N and out of sight before the entire group
(myself included) arrived to see it, and the bird was not relocated.
Although this species is a locally regular migrant in late summer-
early fall, it is only casual-accidental in spring (e.g., I can recall
seeing it only once before in Minn during spring migration).
The Henslow's Sparrows were seen/heard at 2 locations: 2 individuals
at Touch the Sky Prairie NWR in Rock Co, 3.2 mi W of Hwy 75 along
171st St (thanks to a tip from Shawn Conrad); and 1 near the NW corner
of Pipestone Nat'l Monument, across the road from Woodlawn Cemetery
along 121st St.
Some other highlights during this weekend included:
- Greater Scaup: Pipestone sewage ponds
- Least Bittern: Luverne sewage ponds and Woodstock WMA (5 mi E of
Holland, Pipestone Co)
- dark-morph Swainson's Hawk: adult along CR 5, ~2 mi W of Pipestone
(only the 2nd dark-morph I can recall seeing in Minn)
- Peregrine Falcon: unexpected adult flying N over Blue Mounds State
- total of 17 shorebird species: mostly in flooded fields in Pipestone
Co; incl Willet and Hudsonian Godwits along 81st St just E of the SD
border, and Red-necked Phalarope at Pipestone sewage ponds
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: thicket by the Blue Mounds State Park
- Lark Sparrow: visitors center parking lot at the S end of Blue Mounds
- Blue Grosbeak: besides 2-3 expected pairs at Blue Mounds, there was
a pair at Pipestone Nat'l Monument
There were also still a few migrant flycatchers (Olive-sided, Yellow-
bellied, and Alder) and warblers (N Waterthrush, Tennessee,
Blackburnian, Blackpoll, and Yellow-rumped) passing through.
On the other hand, we were unable to find any Gray Partridge, Soras,
either cuckoo, or Western Kingbirds (!), and we only saw Upland
Sandpipers at 2 locations.
Kim R Eckert
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