TEN surveys completed! I've been flirting with rain on several counts,
and I tried to will away this morning's. I did until stop 41 when a
gullywasher (except there are no gullies here in southwestern MN)
complete with all kinds of lightning and thunder. The survey had been
going really well so I waited out the storm in the parking lot of a
waterfowl production area for about 40 minutes. I was still able to
complete the survey within the 5-hour window that is preferred.
It is amazing here in pothole and slough country how you can be going
through mile after mile of corn and soybean fields, but then come upon
small water-filled depression - the bird life world drastically
The most productive pothole complex this morning yielded, in addition
the expected western MN species, Redhead and Gadwall.
However, a sighting of one species sent a shiver through me for the
time during the Quad 30 expedition. About 2 minutes into a stop, I
maneuvered the car so I could use the window-mounted scope to gain an
accurate count of geese. Adults and young were clustered together and
waterfowl, one is not supposed to include young in a BBS count. As I
finished counting 10 adults, a large bird called and flew past - a
Godwit! I knew this species was possible but did not really expect to
find one. As WDNR's Steve Miller and I have discussed, wouldn't it be
great to re-introduce this wonderful shorebird species to Wisconsin
it once bred.
This route was last run in 1989, and since I've yet to complete the
checklist, I'm not sure of the final count. Overall, number of
for most species is par or above average. A noticeable exception is
Western Meadowlark - the count for 1987, 88, and 89 was 33, 34, and 51
individuals. I tallied only 7 today. This species is in real trouble
the eastern part of its range.
I'm inching my way north in MN, and it won't be long before I'll be in
company of some new, more northern species.