[Mnbird] Dakota County migrators

linda whyte birds at moosewoods.us
Sat Apr 15 21:46:19 CDT 2017

On a scouting trek to the Lake Byllesby area, in advance of next weekend's
Hastings Area Birding Festival, Rob and I made an impromptu stop at Jirik
Sod Farms. As suspected, last night's rains had flooded the sod fields,
making great shorebird habitat.
We found two American Avocets, resting at first, then feeding, relatively
close to the west side of the road. Far back in the same field, a few
Bonaparte's Gulls were foraging. On the east side of the road, there was a
flock of Yellowlegs that included a couple of Lessers. There were also a
number of Teal among them.
Proceeding to Lake Byllesby, we found both Blue-winged and Green-winged
Teal feeding with the mixed flocks of Yellowlegs. A flock of Pelicans
occupied the flats toward the east end of the lake. Kingfishers were
hunting on the west end, and Sandhill Cranes were vocalizing in the marshes
We explored hiking trails in Randolph, on the west side of hwy 56. The
Yellow-rumped warblers, Kinglets (both Golden and Ruby-crowned), N.
Flickers, and Hermit Thrushes were abundant. Along with Eastern Phoebes,
there were a couple of smaller Empid Species not identified. We did
identify a Cooper's Hawk and a probable Sharp-shinned Hawk, the only
raptors other than the nesting Bald Eagles. Wild Turkeys were very vocal,
and one of them startled us, flying out of a tree. One trail between the
Cannon River and a farm field, provided our FOY Brown Thrasher, doing its
repertoire of "doubled" calls. A Western Meadowlark could be heard in a
field nearby.
At the Randolph (or Great Western) Industrial Park the customary Kestrel
was on alert, in a tree, back by the grain elevators. An Eastern Meadowlark
was singing, perched first on a woody stalk, and then on a small deciduous
sapling. A mixed flock of waterfowl occupied the pond by the church.
On the way home, we checked both the 180th and 140th St. marshes. At 180th,
a number of Ruddy Ducks have been added to the considerable assortment of
birds. Just as we prepared to leave, we saw and heard two FOY Yellow-headed
At the 140th St. marsh, the Osprey seems to have returned to the nest on
the power structure in the farm field. The huge puddle at the west end of
the field was hosting some foraging dabbling ducks and Yellow-legs,
difficult to see in fading light. The usual kestrel was scouting the area
from the power lines. Song Sparrows were abundant here, as elsewhere.
It will be interesting to see what further rains bring in; good birding to
Linda Whyte
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