Thursday, March 25, 2010

Early Birds - Year List Continued

Posted by Kirk

I thought I'd update my year list for birds in Minnesota. The flood gates are about to open with new migrants showing up. Some have already arrived.

Here's the most recent sightings.

First week in March
• Mourning Dove
I didn't write down the exact date but I finally saw a Mourning Dove. They have been around all year but I never seem to see them right away.

March 11
• Northern Flicker
I'd heard they were around a few days before this and I'd even seen what a though might have been one on the side of the road but on the 11th I finally had a good confirmed sighting.

March 16
• Brown Creeper
This was a fun one. One of our Naturalists, Kelly Amoth, spotted this little guy out the windows of the nature center and we got some great views. I just love these little guys! I was happy to see one this year as they can be elusive.

March 17
• Coopers Hawk
Completely unexpected, I saw a coopers hawk on a telephone line when I dropped my son off at childcare. He subsequently added the phrase "cooper's hawk" to his two-year-old vocabulary.

March 19
• Hooded Merganser
I saw my first hooded merganser of the year in a little farm pond that opened up before all the others.

March 20
• Red-winged Blackbird
The red-winged blackbirds showed up in the south metro a few days before pushing north of the cities. I saw them on a Saturday the 20th in a tiny wetland inside the cloverleaf of hwy 169 and Hwy 62. By Monday the 22 I was seeing them north of the twin cities as well.

March 22
• Eastern Bluebird
I spotted my first Eastern Bluebird of the year sitting on a telephone wire along the quiet country road on the way to work. I spotted many more the next day as well.

March 23
• Bufflehead
• Song Sparrow
• Red-shouldered Hawk
This was a good day for birds! I started out the morning by spotting my first Bufflehead of the year in one of my favorite little ponds along my route to work. It opens early, often has something good to see, and has a wide shoulder so I'm not taking my life into my hands when I pull over. Later in the day, some of the staff at work went on a hike to the farm property we own across the street. We could hear song sparrows and finally got a good look at them. There were also a pair of red-shouldered hawks flying overhead which was nice as I'd been hearing them for a week or more but had not seen them yet. I only count birds I see on my list not hear. I've been hearing the sandhill cranes almost every day now but haven't seen one yet.

March 24
• Common Mergansers
There's a lake with reliable Common Mergansers just down the street from the nature center and sure enough, they showed up. Beautiful birds. Last year some of us took to calling them Commies for short and then decided to just call them Pinkos. So, if you ever hear me talking about Pinkos, I'm talking about Common Mergansers.

Next week things should really heat up with some southerly winds bringing in migrants.