I spent some time yesterday afternoon (after the big thunderstorm) and this morning at Rice Lake NWR, outside of McGregor. This is one of my four favorite birding locations in MN.
I mostly enjoyed just dinging around the refuge, seeing what was about. My best birds were Golden-winged Warbler, Trumpeter Swan, Black Tern, and Le Conte’s Sparrow. Le Conte’s Sparrow is a real skulker, and spends most of the time hidden in wet grassy fields on the edge of marshes. It was easy to hear, but tough to see. I finally saw one perched up:
Not a great photo, but you can see most of the important field marks for Le Conte’s.
This morning I was treated to an American Woodcock ambling across the path. Woodcock has been somewhat of a nemesis bird for me, but this one was downright confiding.
Eventually he moseyed into the woods.
I have also seen a fair number of mammals, including moose, coyotes, rabbits, various ground and tree squirrels, chipmunks, and these skunks (momma and her older babies?) crossing the road near sunset.
I also saw a pair of what might have been gray wolves on the Gunflint Trail, but I’m not sure. Off to Western MN today!