During the April 27-28 Minn Birding Weekend (MBW) in NE Wilkin, W Otter Tail, and NW Grant (briefly) counties, we found a lone, cooperative, breeding-plumaged male Smith's Longspur on Saturday afternoon along Wilkin CR 15, 1 mi W and 1.5 mi S of Lawndale.
Also of note this weekend:
- There were thousands (perhaps tens of 1000s) of northbound waterfowl filling the skies in NE Wilkin Co on Saturday morning. Most of these were Gr White-fronted & Snow geese (with several Ross's among them, but only 3 Cackling Geese) and Tundra Swans; conservatively, I estimated/calculated we saw 9,000+ swans. However, there was little or no movement of waterfowl on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
- Greater Scaup were unusually widespread, being seen at several locations; usually this species is rare in wetlands of the prairie pothole region. Similarly, Horned Grebes were seen at many places, even though not a single Eared Grebe was found, and we unexpectedly saw more Bonaparte's Gulls than Franklin's.
- Two Cattle Egrets were found yesterday by the grain elevators in Wendell, Grant Co.
- Almost surprisingly, given how many ibis are being reported elsewhere, we were unable to turn up any White-faced Ibis during the main MBW. However, en route to meeting the group on Friday, Dave Johnson saw a few ibis along Hwy 27 a few miles E of Wheaton, Traverse Co, and Barb & Denny Martin had one along Traverse CR 9 just N of CR 10. Also, a few of us relocated those 2 White-faced Ibis late Sunday afternoon in Becker Co along 330th St, ½ mi E of Hwy 59.
- There was a strong movement of raptors, mostly on Saturday afternoon in Wilkin Co. In all, we saw a total of 13 species, including 4 Peregrines plus 2 other large, unidentified falcons.
- Migrant passerines were few and far between: e.g., we saw <10 individual warblers all weekend (Orange-crowneds and Yellow-rumpeds). However, a few Com Redpolls were still present in open country away from towns/feeders.
Kim R Eckert
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