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Advice on feasibility of Minnesota spring tour. (1 Viewer)


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I am trying to sort out timing/routes for a trip through Minnesota for birding. While i have no specific date constraints...i am hoping to do a single trip to hit all the target birds (as i am not sure both a winter and summer visit are possible this year).

Target Species:
Kirtland Warbler (hope to pick up en route, tours in Michigan start May 15)
Chestnut-collared Longspur
Greater Prairie Chicken
Connecticut Warbler
Three-toed Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker
Black-billed Magpie
Swainson's Hawk

Rarities/Species i'll chase if they are in the area:
Prairie Falcon
Smith's Longspur
Sprague's Pipit
Henslow's Sparrow
Townsend's Solitaire
Clark's Nutcracker

I am not sure how long the hides are active for Prairie Chickens...i am guessing the booming is likely wrapped up before the Longspurs, Connecticut and Kirtland's Warblers arrive on Territory?

However, I suspect it is still possible/likely to track down a few chickens visiting the appropriate habitat, and therefore, time the trip based on the warblers. I believe the magpies are resident and the swainson's should long since have returned.

Focal points for search (based on what i have been able to read so far):
1. Rothsay area: Prairie Chickens
2. Felton Prairie: Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Swainson's Hawk
3. Sax Zim Bog: Connecticut Warbler, Black-billed Magpie, Three-toed Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker
4. Grayling, MI: KIWA tour

I'd appreciate any comments on this as a plan, or suggestions regarding timing mid-may or late may.

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Personal internet research suggests that Three-toed WP is a rare permanent resident in the North and North East. There are spring and summer records in MN (therefore worth searching, in my opinion). Most sightings concentrated in the winter in irruptive years. However, there appears to be limited effort searching appropriate habitat during spring/summer.

Otherwise the target list seems quite achievable/reasonable. Several locations seem to suggest late May over mid-May to ensure warblers are onsite and singing. Also seems to be several sightings of Swainson's Hawks towards Minneapolis, possibly suggesting another site to consider if unsuccessful in the west.
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