[mou] Yellow Rail & Great Gray Owl update, Aitkin Co

Kim R Eckert eckertkr at gmail.com
Mon Jun 2 09:56:03 CDT 2008

Both Yellow Rails and a Great Gray Owl were relocated in Aitkin Co  
this past weekend by the Minn Birding Weekends group. The Great Gray  
was seen at the jct of Co Rd 18 and Pietz's Rd/320th Place early on  
the evening of May 31; another (or the same owl) was also seen the  
next morning ~1/2 mile W of here on Co Rd 18 by Terry Brashear.

A few Yellow Rails (4 or 5) were heard (and one was actually seen!)  
later that same evening in the McGregor Marsh along Hwy 65. All were  
on the E side of the highway, and all but one could be heard near mile  
marker 116, which is 0.6 mile S of Hwy 210. The rail closest to the  
road (i.e., the one we saw) was ~100 yards N of that mile marker, and  
a few Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows were also heard on both sides of  
the road in this same area.

Be sure to note, however, that birders who wish to walk into the marsh  
to try to see Yellow Rails will have a harder time this summer. Due to  
some recent road work on Hwy 65, there are now deep and wide water- 
filled ditches all along both sides of the highway which had not been  
there in past years. The only places I could see around these ditches  
were at the jct of Hwy 210 and at the Soo Line ATV trail 1.1 mile S of  
210, but either way still leaves you with about a 1-mile-long round- 
trip walk through the marsh to the area where the rails were calling.   
Kim Eckert 

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