Hi everyone,
  This morning at 10:15 I found two Mute Swans in the small open water between Upper and Lower Sakatah Lakes in western Rice County. This area is known as "The Narrows" and is along Rice CR 99. To those who know it, it is the spot where the Swallow-tailed Kite was present back in 1999. This is the first time I have ever seen Mute Swans at this location. The swans of the past always hung around in Faribault, and I haven't seen any the last couple of years with the exception of a lone Mute Swan on Wells Lake last spring that didn't hang around more than half a day or so. As to the origin of these swans??? I don't know. There are cabins and maybe a few homes to the north of the narrows, but I would think that these swans would be seen more often if they were someone's pets.

  Other highlights today came in the form of migrating birds in the afternoon once the fog burned away. There was some fair raptor movement with a Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, 3 Red-shouldered Hawks, and 16 Bald Eagles and 26 Red-tailed Hawks. Also seen were Killdeer, Eastern Bluebirds and 3 silent Sandhill Cranes.

  We're still waiting for Wells Lake to start popping, but I was encouraged today by more open water and many geese on the ice edge, which usually immediately precedes other geese arriving, like white-fronted and snows. I'll keep my eyes open!

Good birding!

Dave Bartkey
Faribault, MN
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