Thursday, June 11, 2009

Minnesota 2009

After finishing up in Wisconsin on 9 June, I headed for Hackensack, MN. You know you are doing a lot of travelling when you cross the Mississippi River IN YOUR CAR!

I was supposed to meet Ben Wieland who was going to show me some hot-spots for Mourning Warblers at the Deep Portage Learning Center. However, I was running late and driving through some great breeding habitat in Remer, MN so I camped in the Chippewa National Forest that night. I attached a photo of some prime breeding habitat. I recorded MN males 3, 4 and 5 in the vicinity of this photo.

I had a very successful day on 10 June, recording 23 Mourning Warblers. I knew I was in the right spots because of the ticks and mosquitoes that I had to deal with. The larger numbers of mosquitoes in Minnesota coincided with much wetter forests, and more numerous lakes, ponds and bogs. The songs are noticeably different in Minnesota. I had to do one quick playback of a song to confirm one of the males was indeed a Mourning Warbler – and it was. This shift may parallel a similar change that I found in western Ontario (almost due north) in 2005. I am incredibly anxious to analyze the sonograms when I get back home to NH.

Gas prices were much lower ranging from $2.59 - $2.64/gal. After talking to my wife, Kris last night, I heard they are still higher than back home in New Hampshire.

The environment changes as you travel through western Minnesota. It becomes much more like the prairies of the Midwest and that means the birds change also. Here are links to two videos of typical western birds – Western Kingbird (compare with Eastern Kingbird from Michigan from this trip) and Yellow-headed Blackbird.

Click here for an update on the daylists of birds that I am also maintaining on the trip.

I am currently in a hotel in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, literally recharging the batteries of the digital equipment. I am headed to the Turtle Mountains after a morning run and shower.

My field work has been generously supported by a Summer Research Grant from Saint Anselm College.

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