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I birded several areas in McLeod Co. today with good success.  I started at Lake Marion, which has a good deal of open water.  

 

Birds at Lake Marion included:

 

Canada Goose

Mallard

Gadwall

Northern Shoveler

Canvasback--the largest group I've seen in a while, almost as numerous as the scaup

Redhead

Ring-necked Duck

Lesser Scaup

Bufflehead

Common Merganser

Ruddy Duck

 

My next stop was a small pond/flooded field on Yacht Ave. just north of 115th St.  There was a large group of Greater White-fronted Geese there.  After several minutes of watching them, a lone Ross's Goose swam to the middle of the pond (I had apparently missed it on my first 3-4 scans of the pond).  I first confidently called it a Ross's, but I took a step back when I noticed a hint of a grin patch.  But after closer study the grin patch seemed to be more a trick of the light (it disappeared at certain angles), and because of that, coupled with the triangular bill, I'm fairly certain it's a true Ross's.  While there, several hundred more White-fronted Geese flew over, with a single white goose in one flock.  Because its size seemed to be on par with the rest of the geese, I'm leaning toward Snow Goose, but I can't say definitively.  I also added Green-winged Teal to the list.

 

My last stop was on the east end 190th St. just south of Hwy 7 along the Crow River.  While there I spotted an impressive 15 Bald Eagles (8 of them in a single tree) and several Hooded Mergansers.  Ring-billed and Herring Gulls had also come to feast on the dead carp lining the shore.  In the brushy field just to the west of those birds a Northern Shrike was feeding.  I was able to get a scope on it and confirm that the mask did not extend above the beak.

 

Good birding,

Josh Christian

 

 

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