I didn't get home from Two Harbors until after dark on Sunday and so Monday after work was my time to go out and chase the cool birds around the Twin Cities. Since the Ross's gull was extremely rare, only a few sightings ever reported in Minnesota, many people were out looking for it on Sunday with out any luck. So I decided to concentrate on the other two.
Since the airport is close to work I headed over there first. I drove around the airport a couple of times but did not see the owl. Daylight was quickly fading and I was getting worried about a visit from airport police or someone worse, driving around the airport looking for a bird tends to arise suspicion since 911, so I decided to make a quick trip over to Hastings.
When I got to the St Croix river, where the bird(s) had been seen, the sun was already low in the sky. I figured that I did not have a lot of time so I threw on my boots, grabbed my gear and headed down to the shoreline. There was quite a bit of activity in the open water so I began to scan for my target. The first thing to draw my attention were the larger birds like the Canadian geese and trumpeter swans.Next I looked further out but I just spotted some more swans coming towards me.As the royal procession of swans swam by they were observed by a group of commoners, common goldeneye and common mergansers that is.I also spotted a few ring-necked ducks, redhead duck and canvasback but still no harlequin.The light was fading fast, it looked like I would be struck out 3 out of 3 on this day. I figured that I would try and salvage my time by checking out the goldeneyes to see if their might be any Barrow's mixed in with the commons.And that is when I spotted it. Mixed in with the goldeneye was a harlequin. I tried to keep the camera on him but the light was getting bad and he was quite a ways away.He moved off from the goldeneyes to go check out some chick. Ultimately I got him alone. These were definitely not great shots but this was my first harlequin, a lifer if I kept a true life list. Eventually I hope to build a website to go along with the blog and that time I will feature my life list, in pictures, on the site. Hopefully before that time comes I will have the opportunity to get some better pictures of harlequin ducks but if not I will be happy to at least have pictures that you can definitely identify as a harlequin.