I spent some time dodging rain showers in Osceola and Lyon Counties this afternoon and tallied a surprising 80 species. At least 19 species of waterfowl are still around, including at least a couple of Ross's Geese near Sibley. Broad-winged and Swainson's Hawks were both on the move and a Loggerhead Shrike was hunting near the Sibley airfield. Arguably the highlight of the day was a vocal BLUE-HEADED VIREO at Iowa Lake in Osceola Co., which appears to be record early. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Parula, and Field Sparrow were just a few of my firsts of the year. I enjoyed watching 40+ Chipping Sparrows foraging in a small, recently burned field in Lyon Co. as well. I encountered a fascinating group of Dark-eyed Juncos at Lake Pahoja in Lyon Co., which appeared to contain at least 1 very crisp Oregon Junco and at least 3 "clear" cismontanus intergrades.
Just across the state line into South Dakota (about 3.5 miles), I encountered a small wet field that held 8 species of shorebirds, including an American Golden-Plover, 6 Hudsonian Godwits, and my first Solitary Sandpiper of the year.