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|Noel's Quad 30 Journal|
Thursday, June 3rd
I certainly missed a photo op this morning - I've never thought about taking photos during a BBS. The full moon was setting in the west while the sunrise was a wonderful red, and there were 3 large windmills in the foreground to the east. Driving out to the starting point, I could see probably 50 red blinking lights that were coming from windmills. The entire route today was on gravel roads through primarily agricultural habitat, primarily corn and soybeans. They have had good rains here, and I've been seeing lots of large flooded areas in the fields. Several stops near the beginning had some wonderful, steep grasslands, but overall, "good" bird habitat was limited. I was not expecting a lot from this route as species total from the last 3 times it was surveyed was only 37 in 2003, 42 in 1987, and 39 in 1986. I managed 53 so was pleased with results.. I don't want to give the "Bird of the Day" away so I won't mention it here, but I bet you can't guess the 3rd most abundant species. House Sparrow and Common Grackle tied for top honors with 168 individuals.
The 19 Dickcissels were nice as were the 67 Western Meadowlarks. Also stopped by one tiny marsh that held 2 Yellow-headed Blackbirds. I expect more of this prairie pothole species as I journey north here in western Minnesota. Had another landowner in an old pick-up actually "chase" me down the road to the next stop to inquire what I was doing. He seemed very disappointed when I told him that I was doing a bird survey. Not sure what he was hoping for.
Heard one still-migrating Tennessee Warbler on the route, and then as I worked on the data forms at the town park in Adrian, watched and listened to an Alder Flycatcher singing in a grove of 40-year-old aspen and ash. Although the route has yielded Blue Grosbeak in the past, I couldn't come up with one. Stopped by a pothole of about 5 acres on way to Marshall where I'm spending the night and sat along the road enjoying the 16 territorial male yellow-heads and listening to the Marsh Wrens, Common Yellowthroats, Swamp Sparrows, and Virginia Rails as I watched the lone male Gadwall and 2 coot on the pond in the pothole's center. Also watched a harrier pair copulating while she was trying to feed on a rodent. Had to stop and buy gas in Marshall although I didn't need much since it was only $1.85.9/gal!
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