Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, March 30, 2017

This is the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report for Thursday, March 30, 2017 sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. You may also hear this report by calling (218)847-5743 or 1-800-433-1888.

Spring seems to have really come to the northwest as temperatures are getting into the high 50’s each day, and happily the winds have stayed light for the last few days. Snow has almost all disappeared and rivers are mostly opening up. Birds are streaming in with the skies full of waterfowl, now including tundra swans and several species of ducks. Tundra swans have reached all counties in western Minnesota. The rice paddies in eastern Clearwater County on Sunday held hundreds of tundra swans and Canada geese with a few ducks mixed in. We expect to see the duck migration numbers to swell in the next few days. Dark-eyed juncos have increased greatly in numbers this week. American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks are also back.

In Clearwater County on March 26, Shelley Steva and I found both TRUMPETER SWANS and TUNDRA SWANS and hundreds of CANADA GEESE on the rice paddies. Several AMERICAN KESTRELS were also observed.

Gary Tischer , driving through Marshall County on March 25, heard SANDHILL CRANES there, and on the 29th , he saw a dark ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK 5 miles north of Newfolden. A NORTHERN HARRIER was seen in Marshall County on March 27, and a pair of BUFFLEHEADS were observed on the river in Newfolden on March 29. A flock of TUNDRA SWANS stopped to feed and rest a few miles north of MN 1 along CR 12 on March 30.

Gary Tischer saw a GREAT BLUE HERON in Pennington County on March 26. Here along the Red Lake River east of Thief River Falls, I saw the first HOODED MERGANSER on March 28, and the first WOOD DUCKS on March 29. Today, March 30, I saw a flock of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, and heard a KILLDEER.

A HERRING GULL was seen by Gary Tischer 8 miles south of St Hilaire in Red Lake County on March 26.

SANDHILL CRANES were seen by Shelley Steva and I in eastern Polk County on March 26. On March 28, Sandy Aubol reported GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, SNOW GOOSE , TUNDRA SWAN, LAPLAND LONGSPURS, RING-BILLED GULLS, and several species of ducks in western Polk County on March 28. On March 25, she saw a NORTHERN SHRIKE and a MERLIN in Polk County.

Becca Engdahl reported FOX SPARROW, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, and COMMON GRACKLE on March 29 in Hubbard County. A HOARY REDPOLL was found among the COMMON REDPOLLS and PINE SISKINS. On March 30, she saw BELTED KINGFISHER, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, and the overwintering LINCOLN’S SPARROW. Marshall Howe reported a large influx of DARK-EYED JUNCOS in Hubbard County that day, and also noted TUNDRA SWANS flying north. Connie Cox observed SANDHILL CRANES, AMERICAN WOODCOCK, and EASTERN BLUEBIRD around Itasca State Park this week.

Wayne Perala reported that the Grotto Lake Rookery in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, was very busy with DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, GREAT EGRETS, and some RING-BILLED GULLS on March 27. A BARRED OWL was seen in Fergus Falls on March 25.

At the North Ottawa Impoundment, Wayne found many species of ducks, 100 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, 30 SNOW GEESE, and even a few SHARP-TAILED GROUSE on March 27.

Please report bird sightings to Jeanie Joppru by email, no later than Thursday each week, at OR call the Detroit Lakes Chamber’s toll free number: 1-800-542-3992. Detroit Lakes area birders please call 847-9202. Please include the county where the sighting took place. The next scheduled update of this report is Thursday, April 6, 2017.