top of page
  • Writer's pictureGregg Severson

Navigating for a Night-heron

On the morning of 17th of April, Connie Brunell reported that there were four Red-necked Grebes on Bde Maka Ska, and other observers continued to find them throughout the day. I work from home on Wednesdays, so it was a simple matter of biking over there after work and scoping the lake to find a year bird. I only found the one Red-necked Grebe, but one is all you need to tick it for the year list! I also saw my first Tree Swallow of the year.

I still needed Greater Scaup, and Alex Sundvall had seen those on Lake Harriet earlier in the day, so a made a swing down to Lake Harriet to pick up that species. I was also hoping that some Canvasbacks would still be around on one lake or another, but I didn't run across any.

Map of my route around the city lakes

On the 18th, I biked to work, but took a route that passed by Lake Harriet to allow for a quick scan for any new waterfowl, as well as by Lake Hiawatha. I was primarily looking for Rusty Blackbirds at Lake Hiawatha, and I found a few. Rusty Blackbirds are a species that is in a long, severe decline in population (85%-95% decline in the last 70 years), so it is always good to see them, and it makes me wonder how much harder they will be to find in the coming years. Being able to contribute data to citizen science projects such as the Christmas Bird Count and eBird is one of the best things about birding, in my opinion. And that data is so vital is seeing long term population trends like the decline of the Rusty Blackbird.

Farther along my way to work, I had a flyover Great Egret. A little later, I ran across a flock of Tree Swallows that had one Barn Swallow mixed in. It was a cold morning, and I imagine it was hard for the swallows to find any aerial insects to eat. In the morning they were definitely congregating over this patch of early-blooming forsythia that must have been attracting insects.

Swallows flying above blooming forsythia near Fort Snelling

On my way home, I decided to swing by Veterans Park in Richfield. Veterans Park is a prime migrant trap that I'm sure I'll visit regularly in May. At this point, I had heard that Black-crowned Night-herons had returned to the roost on one of the islands in the park. Sure enough, there were 7 on the island with good views.

Black-crowned Night-heron with its eyes closed.
Night-herons nap during the day!

The first part of the ride was fun since I got to ride with my biking friend from work, Rob Mosimann. We happened to be leaving work at the same time, and it was fun to bike together for a while. Rob is a monster rider who does 100 mile rides on New Year's Day and 100 mile rides through the gravel roads of the unglaciated hills of southwestern Wisconsin. It was fun to share a ride with him before I peeled off to go see some Night-herons.

Miles biked on these trips: 47.6

Miles biked year to date: 402.0

Species count: 90

My bike birding eBird profile: (Please note that you need a free eBird account to see profiles in eBird)

Fundraising links for the two organizations I am supporting with this green big half year. Please donate!

If you were planning to donate 50 cents per bird species, you'd be up to $45 right now. I'm hoping to get to 200 species, but that will take a lot of effort. Please donate to give me more reason to put in that effort!

Friends of Sax-Zim Bog:

National MS Society:

27 views0 comments


bottom of page