MINNESOTA  BIRDING  WEEKENDS
APRIL 2015  -  JANUARY 2016
~  Our 30th Season  ~

Kidder County, North Dakota

Minnesota Birding Weekends & Weeks (MBW) is now entering its 30th season offering unique, modestly priced birding trips in association with the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union – we originated in 1986 as MOU Birding Weekends. After 29 years, we have now had a total of 358 MBWeekends, more than 7,800 registrations, a composite list of 361 species seen within the state, and all 87 Minnesota counties have now been included on our MBWeekend itineraries over the years.

To mark our 30th year, all MBWeekends (and MBWeek deposits) will be ONLY $30, and plan to join us at Deep Portage Learning Center for our special Memorial Day MBWeekend to celebrate 30 years of MBWs!

And be aware as well of 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. (Note – Because of the reduced fee of $30 for all 2015 MBWeekends, these rebates will not be given this year but will resume in 2016.)   
 
(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 on these.)

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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 (or 30 participants with 2 leaders). 

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 $25 refund of their $30 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.)


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~  2015-16 MINNESOTA BIRDING WEEKENDS  ~

CLICK on the HIGHLIGHTED NAME of a MBWEEKEND
for summary/summaries of this or a similar MBW from previous year(s)


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• April 3 pre-MBW  ~  Minnesota River Valley
• April 4 - 5, 2015  ~  Lyon & Lincoln Counties
CLICK HERE for SUMMARY of this MBW 

• April 24 pre-MBW  ~  Wabasha County
• April 25 - 26, 2015  ~  Southeastern Minnesota
CLICK HERE for SUMMARY of this MBW

• May 15 pre-MBW  ~  Martin County
• May 16 - 17, 2015  ~  Jackson County
CLICK HERE for SUMMARY of this MBW

• May 22 - 23 pre-MBW Reunion  ~  Stearns County
• May 23 - 24 - 25, 2015  ~  30th MBW Reunion, Deep Portage Learniung Center  
CLICK HERE for SUMMARY of this MBW

• June 5 pre-MBW  ~  Felton Prairie I
• June 6 - 7, 2015  ~  Kidder County, North Dakota I
• June 8 - 9, 2015  ~  Kidder County, North Dakota II
June 10 post-MBW  ~  Felton Prairie II
CLICK HERE for SUMMARY of these MBWs

• June 18 - 19, 2015  ~  Itasca State Park & Mahnomen County
• June 20 - 21, 2015  ~  Becker County
CLICK HERE for SUMMARY of these MBWs

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• August 21 pre-MBW  ~  Traverse & Grant Counties  ~  $30  (Base Morris)
• August 22 - 23, 2015  ~  Stevens & Big Stone Counties  ~  $30  (Base Morris)

Traverse and Grant counties, formerly included on the main MBW, now have their own full day with more time to include the mudflats and marshes at Mud Lake along the state line or the excellent concentrations of herons/egrets and shorebirds at North Ottawa impoundment in Grant County. MBWs here have also had both Le Conte's and Henslow's sparrows at Miller Prairies East and West.

This late-summer MBW has now become an annual tradition and evolved into our shorebird ID workshop. If the water levels are right, 20 shorebird species or more are a real possibility here, where there are several productive sewage ponds plus countless natural prairie wetlands in Big Stone County (especially Thielke Lake). Our recent MBWs here have found a good variety of ducks, Western (and sometimes Clark's) Grebes, Least Bitterns and other herons/egrets, Eastern Screech-Owl, impressive masses of migrating swallows, some early fall migrant warblers, Henslow's and Le Conte's sparrows, plus lingering Upland Sandpipers, Western Kingbirds, Dickcissels, Bobolinks, and Orchard Orioles.

STATUS as of 25 JULY 2015: 1 VACANCY on main August 22-23 MBW (14 registered; limit 15 participants; pre-MBW FILLED with 2 on waiting list).

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• September 4 pre-MBW  ~  Lake of the Woods  ~  $30  (Base Baudette)
• September 5 - 6 - 7, 2015  ~  Northwestern Minnesota  ~  $30  (Base Roseau)

The pre-MBW in under-birded Lake of the Woods County will focus on finding migrants along the shoreline of Lake of the Woods itself, including Arnesen, Zippel Bay, and Morris Point. In addition, the vast Beltrami Island State Forest offers potential for several boreal additions to this weekend's list – with luck, maybe even a Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, or Boreal Chickadee.

This will be our 12th consecutive Labor Day Weekend in this far corner of the state, with the list of possibilities is both potentially long and refreshingly unpredictable. We can expect to see 160 species or more as we concentrate mostly on Roseau County, as we visit Warroad and Springsteel Island (both excellent migrant traps), the vast Roseau River and Roseau Lake W.M.A.s, the always-attractive Warroad and Roseau sewage ponds, and more. There should also be time to venture a bit into Kittson County and farther south around Agassiz N.W.R. and Thief River Falls. 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 MBW, plus Short-eared Owls (with a group of 6-7 in 2014) and Black-billed Magpies (once we counted 110 in a single flock!).

STATUS as of 25 JULY 2015: 13 VACANCIES (17 registered; limit 30 participants with 2 leaders).

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• October 2 pre-MBW  ~  North Shore  ~  $30  (Base Duluth)
• October 3 - 4, 2015  ~  Fall Duluth  ~  $30  (Base Duluth)

Friday's pre-MBW will concentrate on Lake County along the North Shore of Lake Superior and possibly some sites in Cook County, depending on weather and recent sightings. Places beyond Knife River and Two Harbors that we may not have time for later in the weekend include Flood Bay, the mixed habitats at Castle Danger's sewage ponds, Iona's Beach, and the Beaver Bay-Silver Bay area. 

Saturday and Sunday will focus on sites closer to Duluth, as we cover Park Point, Stoney Point, and other spots along the lake as far as Two Harbors for an always interesting mix of fall migrants of all kinds, including the possibility of a strong flight of raptors at Hawk Ridge. Recent late September-early October rarities here have included Ross's Goose, all 3 scoters, Harlequin Duck, Red-throated and Pacific loons, Western Grebe, Cattle Egret, Mississippi Kite, Gyrfalcon, Red Phalarope, interesting gulls (including California and several Sabine's), Arctic Tern, all 3 jaegers, White-winged Dove, Say's Phoebe (in 2012), Clark's Nutcracker (also 2012), Smith's Longspur, and many others.

STATUS as of 25 JULY 2015: 6 VACANCIES (24 registered; limit 30 participants with 2 leaders).

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• October 17 - 18, 2015  ~  Rothsay W.M.A.  ~  $30  (Base Fergus Falls)

The renowned grasslands of Rothsay W.M.A. in Wilkin County and vicinity have long been a favored location in fall to see lots of migrant waterfowl, Greater Prairie-Chickens (sometimes still booming in fall), raptors (including Rough-leggeds, maybe Golden Eagle, or even a Ferruginous?), flocks of Sandhill Cranes staging here by the hundreds most years, Short-eared Owls (an evening with 5-10 individuals is even possible), migrating sparrows (including Harris's and maybe Le Conte's or Nelson's), blackbirds, and Lapland Longspurs – with maybe even Smith's among them: once a MBW found literally hundreds of Smith's Longspurs here, including a flock pursued by a Prairie Falcon!

STATUS as of 25 JULY 2015: FILLED (limit 15 participants); 0 on waiting list. (See NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled.)

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• November 5 - 6, 2015  ~  North Shore I  ~  $30
(Leader Craig Mandel / Base Duluth & Grand Marais)

• November 7 - 8, 2015  ~  North Shore II  ~  $30  (Base Duluth & Grand Marais)

The unexpected is to be expected here 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 – and who can forget MBW's Black Guillemot in 2009, the 2012 Cassin's Kingbird, or the 3 Common Eiders in 2014? 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 institution!

STATUS as of 25 JULY 2015:
 
• North Shore I – FILLED (limit 15 participants); 0 on waiting list. (See NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled.)

• North Shore II – FILLED (limit 30 participants with 2 leaders); 0 on waiting list. (See NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled.)

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• January 9 - 10, 2016  ~  Winter Duluth I  ~  $30  (Base Duluth)

• January 16 - 17, 2016  ~  Winter Duluth II  ~  $30  (Leader Craig Mandel / 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, Northern Hawk, and Snowy), Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Bohemian Waxwing, Snow Bunting, grosbeaks, crossbills, redpolls, and more. And 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 or Varied Thrush in a mountain ash; or even a Boreal Owl lurking in someone's backyard.

STATUS as of 25 JULY 2015:
 
• Winter Duluth I – FILLED (limit 15 participants); 0 on waiting list. (See NOTE on registering for MBWs which are filled.)

• Winter Duluth II – 4 VACANCIES (11 registered; limit 15 participants).


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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.)









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