Minnesota Birding Weekends

 

  MINNESOTA BIRDING WEEKENDS

  APRIL 2014 - FEBRUARY 2015

   ~ Our 29th Season ~



























     

Grand Marais Harbor



Minnesota Birding Weekends & Weeks (MBW) is now entering its 29th season offering unique, modestly priced birding trips in association with the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union – we originated in 1986 as MOU Birding Weekends. After 28 years, we have now had a total of nearly 400 MBWeekends, about 6,750 registrations, a composite list of 359 species seen within the state, and all 87 Minnesota counties have now been included on our MBWeekend itineraries over the years.


Continuing this season will be our "Frequent Birder" Rebates – i.e., all participants will earn $5 credits for each MBWeekend they attend, with these credits accumulating to earn free registrations on future MBWeekends.


(In addition to our selection of MBWeekends, the schedule of out-of-state MBWeeks will continue. Please visit the MBWEEKS page on this website for further information.)



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MBWeekend registrations and fees will be accepted on a “first-come-first-served" basis, based on U.S. mail postmarks (i.e., the date the registration is mailed, not the date it is received), and please note that some MBWs can become filled months in advance. Maximum registration for most MBWeekends is 15 participants.


Multiple MBWs can be included on a single registration form and on a single check: please make checks payable to M.B.W. All MBW registrations must include an e-mail address. Unless a MBW is filled, checks are deposited as they are received and registrations are confirmed by e-mail.


Confirmed registrants canceling at least one week in advance of a MBWeekend will receive a refund of 80% of their registration fee; refunds for later cancellations would depend on the individual circumstances. Those remaining on waiting lists and not confirmed for a MBW will receive full refunds; MBWeekends which are canceled or shortened (e.g., because of weather) would also result in refunds.


A MBWeekend’s meeting time and place, lodging options, the participants list, car-pooling information, etc, are sent by e-mail to those registered, usually about 4 weeks before the MBW. Unless stated otherwise, MBWeekends normally begin at dawn on Saturday, end early to mid-afternoon on Sunday, and are typically based in the same city from Friday night until Sunday.


Transportation, meals, and lodging are generally not included in MBWeekend fees. Participants can make arrangements to car pool to the base city or to share lodging – a list of those registered and lodging options in the base city are included with the MBW's e-mail information. Participants will be able to bring their own food along for meals and/or to eat at restaurants. Birding during MBWeekends is by car-pooled caravans normally limited to four vehicles.


The Friday pre-Weekend options may be taken separately or along with the corresponding two-day MBWeekends in adjacent counties.


All MBW participants are expected to be members of the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union (http://moumn.org/join.html).


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CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR MBWEEKENDS


NOTE: Registering for a MBWeekend after it is FILLED should still be considered

since there could be cancellations, or an additional leader or extra MBWeekend

can sometimes be arranged to accommodate those on the waiting list.

(Full refund of the MBW fee is provided if no vacancies develop.)


~ 2014-15 MINNESOTA BIRDING WEEKENDS ~


CLICK on the HIGHLIGHTED NAME of a MBWEEKEND

for summary/summaries of this or similar MBW from previous year(s)


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• April 5-6, 2014  ~  Southwestern Minnesota

CLICK HERE FOR SUMMARY OF THIS MBWeekend

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• April 19-20, 2014  ~  Lac Qui Parle

• pre-MBW option April 18  ~  Yellow Medicine County

CLICK HERE FOR SUMMARY OF THIS MBWeekend

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May 10-11, 2014  ~  Minnesota River Valley

CLICK HERE FOR SUMMARY OF THIS MBWeekend

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May 24-25-26, 2014  ~  Northwestern Minnesota I

• pre-MBW option May 23  ~  Polk County

CLICK HERE FOR SUMMARY OF THIS MBWeekend

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May 31-June 1, 2014  ~  Cook County I

• pre-MBW option May 30  ~  Sax-Zim Bog

June 7-8, 2014  ~  Cook County II

pre-MBW option June 6  ~  Lake County

CLICK HERE FOR SUMMARY OF THESE MBWeekends

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• June 21-22, 2014  ~  Aitkin County

• pre-MBW option June 20  ~  Pine County

CLICK HERE FOR SUMMARY OF THIS MBWeekend

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• July 26-27, 2014  ~  Stevens & Big Stone Counties

• pre-MBW option July 25  ~  Traverse & Grant Counties

CLICK HERE FOR SUMMARY OF THIS MBWeekend



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August 30-31-September 1, 2014  ~  Northwestern Minnesota II  ~  $70  (Base Warroad)

• pre-MBW option August 29  ~  Upper & Lower Red Lakes ~  $30  (Base Bemidji)


This will be our 11th consecutive Labor Day Weekend in this far corner of the state, and, with relatively little birding here in fall, the list of possibilities is both potentially long and refreshingly unpredictable. We can expect to see up to 160-170 species as we concentrate mostly on Roseau County (Memorial Day’s MBW will be based in Kittson Co.), as we visit Lake of the Woods, Warroad and Springsteel Island (both excellent migrant traps), the vast Roseau River and Roseau Lake WMAs, the always-attractive Warroad and Roseau sewage ponds, and more. Some of our unexpected finds on this MBW have included Snowy Egret, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Prairie Falcon, Red Knot, Long-tailed Jaeger, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Nelson's Sparrow. As many as 25 shorebird species (including American Avocet, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and once a concentration of 145 Red-necked Phalaropes), and 20 warbler species have been recorded on this MBWeekend, along with Short-eared Owls and magpies (once we counted 110 in a single flock!).


The pre-MBW in under-birded northern Beltrami and southern Lake of the Woods counties will focus on finding migrants along the shorelines of Upper and Lower Red Lakes. Boreal specialties in the nearby boglands will also be sought, with the excellent Big Bog State Recreation Area Boardwalk north of the lakes a definite destination.


STATUS as of 29 JULY 2014: FILLED (limit 30 participants with 2 leaders) / 4 on waiting list (9 vacancies remain on pre-MBW); see NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled.


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• September 26, 2014  ~  Fall Duluth I  ~  $25  (Base Duluth)

• September 27, 2014  ~  Fall Duluth II  ~  $20  (Base Duluth)

• September 28, 2014  ~  Fall Duluth III  ~  $15  (Base Duluth)


Join us for either one, two, or all three days in Duluth and up the North Shore of Lake Superior. Friday will concentrate on Lake County, with possibly a run as far as Cook County depending on the weather and recent sightings. Saturday and Sunday will focus closer to Duluth, as we scour Park Point, Stoney Point, and other sites along the lake for an always interesting mix of fall migrants of all kinds, with a strong flight of raptors at Hawk Ridge quite possible. Recent late September-early October rarities here have included Ross's Goose, scoters, Harlequin Duck, Red-throated and Pacific loons, Western Grebe, Cattle Egret, Mississippi Kite, Gyrfalcon, Red Phalarope, Sabine's Gull (several!), Arctic Tern, all three jaegers, White-winged Dove, Say's Phoebe (in 2012), Clark's Nutcracker (also 2012), Smith's Longspur, and many others.


STATUS as of 29 JULY 2014; see NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled:


• Fall Duluth I – FILLED (limit 15 participants) / 1 on waiting list.

• Fall Duluth II – FILLED (limit 15 participants) / 3 on waiting list.

• Fall Duluth III – FILLED (limit 15 participants) / 1 on waiting list.


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• October 18-19, 2014  ~  Rock & Pipestone Counties  ~  $40  (Base Pipestone)

• pre-MBW option October 17  ~  Murray County ~  $25  (Base Pipestone)


Although several MBWeekends have visited these two counties in the far corner of the state in spring and summer, only a few MBWs have been here in the fall. We will search such unique locatios as Blue Mounds State Park, Pipestone National Monument, and Coteau des Prairies hillsides for migrants – raptors, late shorebirds (Luverne and Pipestone have great sewage ponds), passerines of all sorts, and others. We will especially be alert for strays from the Southwest – the possibilities may be too numerous to mention, but note that Minnesota's first Brewer's Sparrow and Curve-billed Thrasher appeared at Blue Mounds in fall years ago.


Murray County may be neglected by birders, with the adjacent counties getting more attention, but all the more reason for this MBW to attract county listers. Places like Lake Shetek State Park’s woodlands, the Coteau des Prairies grasslands near Chandler, plus numerous lakes and sewage ponds have all proven attractive to fall migrants.


STATUS as of 29 JULY 2014: FILLED (limit 15 participants) / 0 on waiting list (5 vacancies remain on pre-MBW); see NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled.  


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• October 30-31, 2014  ~  North Shore I ~  $40  (Base Duluth & Grand Marais)

–  Leader Craig Mandel  –

• pre-MBW option October 29  ~  Duluth  ~  $20  (Base Duluth)


• November 1-2, 2014  ~  North Shore II ~  $40  (Base Duluth & Grand Marais)

pre-MBW option October 31  ~  Mille Lacs  ~  $20  (Base Garrison)


The unexpected is to be expected each fall: past November records include Brant, King Eider, Yellow-billed Loon, Gyrfalcon, Purple Sandpiper, Black-legged Kittiwake, Ancient and Long-billed murrelets, Inca Dove, Anna's Hummingbird, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Fieldfare, Sage Thrasher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Summer Tanager – and who can forget MBW's Black Guillemot in 2009 and 2012's Cassin's Kingbird? More likely are Long-tailed and Harlequin ducks, all three scoters, a non-Common loon, Golden Eagle, Thayer's or Glaucous gull, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend's Solitaire, and winter finches. Little wonder this MBW has been a 25-year tradition.


The earlier pre-MBW will cover sites around Duluth that the main MBWeekend may not have time for. Depending on the weather, we may visit Hawk Ridge (for Northern Goshawks, Rough-leggeds, and Golden Eagles), Park Point (for rare waterfowl and gulls), and perhaps Sax-Zim Bog if owls and winter finches are being seen.


The Mille Lacs pre-MBW will circle the entire shoreline of this famous lake, where rare ducks (including all three scoters), both Pacific and Red-throated loons (a MBW once found a Yellow-billed here!), Red Phalarope, Little Gull and Black-legged Kittiwake among all the Bonaparte’s, Arctic Tern, and others have appeared.


STATUS as of 29 JULY 2014; see NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled:


• North Shore I – FILLED (limit 15 participants) / 0 on waiting list (8 vacancies remain on pre-MBW).

• North Shore II – FILLED (limit 30 participants with 2 leaders) / 2 on waiting list.


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• January 3-4, 2015  ~  Winter Duluth I  ~  $35  (Base Duluth)

–  Leader Craig Mandel  –


• January 10-11, 2015  ~  Winter Duluth II  ~  $35  (Base Duluth)


Despite the cold, this popular MBW tradition continues with so many possibilities to begin one's year list: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Northern Goshawk, northern owls (especially Great Gray, N. Hawk, and Snowy), Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Bohemian Waxwing, Snow Bunting, grosbeaks, crossbills, redpolls, and more. We'll also hope for the unexpected: a Harlequin Duck or rare gull on the lakefront; a Gyrfalcon in pursuit of pigeons in the harbor; a Spruce Grouse or American Three-toed Woodpecker in a remote spruce bog; a Townsend's Solitaire, Varied Thrush, or maybe even Boreal Owl lurking in someone's backyard.


STATUS as of 29 JULY 2014:


• Winter Duluth I – 7 registered / 8 vacancies (limit 15 participants).

• Winter Duluth II – FILLED (limit 15 participants) / 0 on waiting list; see NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled.



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CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR MBWEEKENDS


NOTE: Registering for a MBWeekend after it is FILLED should still be considered

since there could be cancellations, or an additional leader or extra MBWeekend

can sometimes be arranged to accommodate those on the waiting list.

(Full refund of the MBW fee is provided if no vacancies develop.)