Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Anderson: Unseasonable spring led to plentiful bird watching

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 29, 2013 - 7:19 AM

“In recent years, we were starting to trend earlier and earlier in the springtime migration,” Vacek said. “This year, with a longer winter, the migration came later.”

About 10 miles south of Appleton, Minn., I found a federal waterfowl production area that was stuffed with ducks.

Mallards preened alongside bobbing bluebills, with wigeon and gadwall nearby. Also present were shovelers, grebes, goldeneyes, canvasbacks and redheads.

For a long while, I watched the birds through binoculars while parked in my truck on a gravel road adjacent to the perhaps 30-acre marsh. Then I walked nearer to the wetland’s shoreline, disturbing the birds only briefly before watching them settle again into their routines.

For the next half-hour, I enjoyed a visual spectacle I hadn’t witnessed before.

No doubt some birds I saw on that marsh have since moved farther north — many perhaps flying nonstop to make up for lost time, and to reach their nesting grounds soon enough to bring off a brood.

Even so, plenty of birds and other wildlife remain in the area, and will throughout spring and summer. A journey westward whenever time is available will be rewarded.

Looking ahead, bird watchers might particularly want to check out the 2014 Salt Lake Weekend (www.moumn.org/saltlake), sponsored each spring by the Minnesota Ornithologists Union. The outing’s guided tour of the area results in a nearly countless array of bird sightings.

Last year on the tour, 75 bird enthusiasts found 133 different species on their daylong excursion not only to Lac qui Parle but to nearby Salt Lake and Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.

Birds chronicled included cinnamon teal and Wilson’s phalarope, golden eagles, lesser and greater yellowlegs, white-faced ibis, long-billed dowitchers, a marbled gotwit and various grebes and terns, among other species.

Tour participants also get to sample life in small-town Minnesota — always a bonus — dining in a Legion club and a Sons of Norway hall. Camping among like-minded people is also an option.

“My fascination with spring migration is from a biologist’s perspective, as a naturalist,” Vacek said. “In fall, when the birds migrate back south, the predator in me switches on, and I watch the sky as a hunter.”

Both seasons have their advantages, and both are necessary for the survival of migrating birds.

Neither should be missed.

 

Dennis Anderson • danderson@startribune.com



 

  • related content

  • A pair of shovelers joined a variety of other duck species on one of the few western Minnesota wetlands that was completely ice-free last weekend. Bad weather held migrating waterfowl near Lac qui Parle for an extended period this spring.

  • Count the ducks in this photo, at the center of which a drake mallard springs into the air, eager to push the snow line north to its breeding site.

  • Canvasbacks and bluebills flew in formation over a western Minnesota wetland, feeding and resting before flying farther north to nest.

  • A hooded merganser ran atop the a shallow marsh, preparing to fly.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: C. Wilson 5
Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr. 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Doolittle 1
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 5 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 2
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close