[mou] Crex Meadows on Saturday - Rough-legged Hawk, Short-eared Owl, Sandhill Cranes, etc

Erika Sitz esitz at goldengate.net
Sun Oct 14 15:11:02 EDT 2007

We went over to Crex yesterday afternoon to watch the Sandhill Cranes come
in to roost.  We arrived a little before 5pm, saw Cranes still feeding and
milling around, so decided to do a loop around the sanctuary before sitting
at the south end by Refuge Extension Flowage to watch the show.

On the loop we saw:
- in the northwest corner, 2 Sharp-Tailed Grouse feeding near the corn
planting, and then, near the overlook, another 2 + 2, each pair scared up by
a helpful female Harrier - don't know if the Harrier could take a Grouse,
but they didn't either and didn't want to hazard a guess
- a very cooperative Snow Bunting sitting in the grass at the overlook
- a total of 34 Trumpeter Swans, first in Reisinger Lake on the north side,
then in Dike 1 on the East Road, and also in the Refuge Extension Flowage
(there before the Cranes came in and we saw only two fly out after the
- a Rough-legged Hawk about a half mile south of the North/East Road
intersection (great look) and about a mile or so south, an aerial display by
three hawks, which by size, shape, and behavior we guessed were a couple
Harriers and another Rough-legged (getting darker and far away)
- also scattered small flocks of A. Tree Sparrows, a Pheasant male
resplendent in full sun, a couple Red-tailed Hawks, and 30-40 Deer (one big
buck with a huge rack) on the north end

>From 6:17pm onward, from along Main Dike Rd, we watched the Sandhills fly
in, almost continuous motion, in a full arc swinging southward from due east
to WNW.  I gave up trying to count, I'm sure well over a thousand, probably
close to 2000.  A Bald Eagle sat on the platform for awhile, but flew as it
got too crowded. We left them to settle in at 6:46pm

Driving out west along Main Dike Rd a quarter mile past the W Refuge Rd
intersection at 7:01pm,  a Short-eared Owl flew up from by Dike 3 over the
car and down again into the grass behind it.  I got only a good look at the
silhouette in the windshield but Paul saw the buffy wing patch as it flew by
the driver's side window.  At 7:07pm as we sat there talking about it, it or
another one did the same maneuver.

Erika Sitz
Ramsey, north Anoka County
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