By-product Birds of a Blue Grosbeak Search

As much fun as it’s been to find Blue Grosbeaks, I’ve had some other fun bird sightings while prowling the countryside looking for those blue birds.  This is a quick post (a quick post is a fun post) where I’ll display these bonus birds in ascending order of rarity.

First up is an adult male Orchard Oriole.  Prior to this summer I had never seen a mature male.  Now I seem to run into them regularly, and this one even let me take a couple pictures before it disappeared.

Adult male Orchard Oriole

Adult male Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole

What could be better-looking and more rare than an Orchard Oriole?  How about this fine Red-headed Woodpecker.  Seeing these guys never gets old.  I have to stop for every one.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

But what could possibly top a Red-headed Woodpecker? Read on, and you’ll see. Randy and I were out driving the southern part of Kandiyohi County checking out a probable Blue Grosbeak site (at least it looked that way on the satellite photos).  It turns out the site was a bust, far from Blue Grosbeak habitat.  It was a huge marsh.  All was not lost, though.  Since Randy was driving I was checking out all the hawks we’d see. Normally I don’t check hawks too closely because we basically just have Red-taileds. I’m sure glad I took the time to look up at this hawk though because it was a Swainson’s!  I couldn’t believe it.  I just saw one for the first time ever a couple weeks prior and now I see one in Minnesota, in my own county no less!  Randy can only recall seeing a Swainson’s Hawk four or five times Kandiyohi County in his 25 years of birding.  It was a magnificent sight.

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

The Blue Grosbeak hunt goes on.  Finding Blue Grosbeaks has been fun, but with birds like these it’s fun even if we don’t find any.  But the Blue Grosbeak hunt isn’t the only thing that’s been going on bird-wise around here.  Coming up, we’ve even managed to squeeze in a couple lifers and document a historic nesting record for Kandiyohi County.

6 thoughts on “By-product Birds of a Blue Grosbeak Search

  1. Neat birds Josh!

    I have seen one adult male Orchard Oriole in the Phoenix area. Amazingly, this bird has wintered in the area and visits a feeder. It has come for the last eight years, hopefully it’ll make a return for a ninth straight year.

    Arizona needs a vagrant Red-headed Woodpecker, your pictures are making me want to see that bird.

    • Wow, that’s some record for the same bird! It always amazes how long some of these small birds can live.

      RHWO is a stunner, that’s for sure. The combination of its scarcity and beauty make it a must-see bird. Anything’s possible in the vagrancy department – never forget that. Keep the hope alive!

    • Greetings Laurence.

      As Kenn Kaufman learned, it’s not enough to tick the bird but instead more important to truly know the bird. And it’s highly doubtful one could ever get tired of getting to know RHWO. In that vein, all birders’ interactions with this bird have been far too brief.

  2. I enjoyed your pictures go the blue grosbeak. I have had them at me feeder the past couple of weeks, never seen them before. Today I saw another new bird. At first I thought it was a cardinal, but it wasn’t. Couldn’t find it in my bird book.

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