[Mnbird] Red-headed Woodpecker and more, Dakota C, Rachel Lilly Preserve

linda whyte birds at moosewoods.us
Tue May 14 12:35:07 CDT 2024

At Rachel Lilly Preserve this morning, a Red-headed Woodpecker was scouting
the recently burned main prairie, to the delight of the St. Paul Audubon
group I was leading. Originally, it was spotted in the oak trees on the
west side of the stream before flying off. At that point the walk was due
to end, so many folks headed back toward the cars, but a few stuck with me,
in hopes of better views and also an actual look at the vociferous but
elusive Brown Thrasher. The lingering birders were not disappointed on
either count.
Heading south parallel to the stream with the greening prairie on our west,
we were treated to repeated performances of the Red-Headed
Woodpecker's survey. It flew from one isolated shrub  to another, seeming
to glean food from the slender trunks. Between trees, it would drop briefly
into the growing grasses; we couldn't have asked for more or better views.
Apparently, the recent burn made the habitat worth at least a visit by the
species, so kudos to Dodge Nature Center and its volunteers.
As for the Brown Thrasher, we did finally see it, on the south side of the
main prairie, bordering the north side of the lake. It flew from upper
canopy down into shrubs on the hillside, where it was joined by another,
possibly a mate. Meanwhile, we had seen more waterfowl from the lake dock,
which had Wood Ducks, as well as Blue-winged Teal.
As with the Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Tennessee Warbler,
and Common Yellowthroat, the Thrasher was only briefly viewed, though often
heard. More cooperative species included Indigo Bunting, Olive-sided
Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Bluebird,
American Redstart, Tree Swallow, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Gray
Catbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and Wild Turkey. There were flyovers by
Bald Eagle, Broad-winged Hawk, Green Heron and, for the last few birders,
American Pelican. Some species were heard only, like Eastern Phoebe, Yellow
and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Nashville and Tennessee Warblers, and Red-eyed
There were other, more common and expected, species noted as well, bringing
the species total to over 30. Thanks to the great group of birders, who
made this hike so productive and fun !
Linda Whyte
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