!!! It’s a go for April 25 !!!
The American Woodcock song and sky dance are remarkably entertaining. They migrate spring and fall using the prime habitats of the St Croix River valley and some breed near Rush City, MN, in a location described as early upland successional forest, which is their favorite. This truly is an incredible woodland shorebird with unique adaptations for seeing, feeding, communicating, and courting. Paying little attention to bird watchers, courting males spiral high, then come twittering down to land in nearly the same place as the take-off.
A special opportunity to view Woodcocks performing the sky dance is being offered as a Saint Paul Audubon field trip, led by Ed and Chase Davies. They will lead a discussion on the unique qualities of American Woodcocks and what makes the place so special for both resident and migrant populations, followed by a very short walk to the viewing area. Viewers usually have several birds to approach for closer observation in this easily accessible area. (Of course, there are no guarantees, wild birds being what they are even when so single-minded.)
THE EXACT DATE is weather dependent, and will be chosen to allow for the best overall conditions for viewing male woodcock sky dances. If you have any interest and availability on any of the dates of April 25, 26, or 27, please do register so you learn THE DATE, which will be e-mailed to all registrants on Monday, April 24, no later than 8 PM.
This is a new approach, choosing one night from amongst three to allow the best overall weather conditions, to lengthen viewing distance and time farther into the deepening dusk. The best weather would be the cooler, clearest evening, with low moisture in the air. The time on site will be 7:30-8:45 pm and sunset on April 26 is at 8:12.
REGISTRATION: Registration is required so that you can receive the email with the exact date and any other pertinent information. Please inform Chase using RockyBirder@gmail.com and include your name, mobile phone number, and email address.
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: As darkness falls, so does the thermometer. Dress much warmer than you think necessary – plan for at least 15ᵒ degrees cooler than where you live. Warm footwear, gloves, knit hat. . . consider wind pants. Flashlights are not needed; you will learn and experience why.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: Drive time from the northern junction of 35W/35E to the parking area is 40 minutes at the posted speed limits. Drive north on I-35 to Exit 159 for Rush City. Turn right (east) onto 4th Street/MN 361. Travel 1.4 miles through Rush City to the only stop sign on this road. Turn left onto Bremer, which soon becomes Forest Blvd. Travel 2.3 miles and turn right onto to Co 56 aka 530 St. Travel east on County 56 for 4.4 miles to where County Road 56 turns right (south). SLOWLY turn right and immediately turn left down into the parking area. We will help you to park tightly, facing for easier departure. We plan to all depart at the same time.
LEADERS: Ed and Chase Davies. Contact Chase at RockyBirder@gmail.com to register. If necessary, on day of event, use her cell: 651 246 9754.