Birders from 17 states joined us this year as we celebrated our fourth Sax-Zim
Bog Winter Birding Festival held at Meadowlands, MN. On Friday evening 3 school
buses full of participants headed out in the bog to search for a Great Gray
Owl. At around 5:20pm Chris West called me to report that Seth Cutright spotted
our first Great Gray Owl along CR 7 south of Byrn's Greenhouse. I called the
other leaders and soon all the buses were able to get eye level views of this
owl as it hunted along the ditches. Giving every participant looks of their very
first Great Gray Owl within 100 feet of the buses!! Way to go Seth!
Later that evening after eating homemade pasties and other great offerings, Paul
Bannick of Washington gave a wonderful presentation of the relationships of
woodpeckers and owl species throughout the United States.
Saturday morning all the participants got onto their designated buses and headed
into Sax-Zim Bog, Aitkin County and Lars Benson of Duluth took a small group to
Duluth. I have not yet counted all the species seen on Saturday but I'll share
the highlights instead.
Long-tailed Ducks: Spotted by Lars Benson's group in Two Harbors
Great Black-backed Gull: Spotted by Lars Benson's group at Canal Park out on a
Glaucous Gull: Spotted by Lars Benson's group at Canal Park out on a ice flow.
Goshawk(s): Lars Benson spotted an adult at the Superior, WI Landfill, a
immature bird seen flying over McDavitt Rd and another adult seen on CR 7.
Rough-legged Hawks: Many seen in the "bog" and also in the open fields in Aitkin
Northern Hawk Owls: (2) Seen by everyone on the festival.
Great Gray Owls (2) These sightings were made after Friday evening by a few
individuals on Saturday and were in new locations. No owls were seen on Sunday.
Sharp-tailed Grouse: All Aitkin Co. field trips were able to watch the grouse
display on their lek south of Tamarack.
Black-backed Woodpeckers: Seen on the logging road going west into the bog and
also seen on the logging road going east into the bog. Also saw a third
Black-backed Woodpecker on the Admiral Rd at the feeders (3.5 miles north of
Northern Shrikes: Seen in many locations.
Black-billed Magpie: Seen in Sax-Zim Bog and in Aitkin County.
Bohemian Waxwings: 200 seen on the west edge of Floodwood along Hwy 2 and a
small flock north of Tamarack along Kestrel Ave.
Boreal Chickadee (3) seen at the Admiral Rd feeders.
Gray Jays: Seen in many locations.
Common Redpoll: Numbers are increasing at most of the feeders in Sax-Zim Bog.
Hoary Redpoll(s): High numbers for the festival! 5 were seen on Saturday. 3
Hoary Redpolls coming to a feeder on the Stone Lake Rd. I did not get a exact
location but there are only a few houses located back there. 2 classic male
Hoary Redpolls were seen at the Morse's feeders on the Blue Spruce Rd.
Pine Grosbeak: Seen in many locations
Tree Sparrow: Seen at Kim Risen's feeders in Aitkin Co.
Snow Bunting: Seen at the Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek south of Tamarack.
* Only big miss not reported were Evening Grosbeaks..
Mammals seen during the festival:
Saturday night we ate a terrific meal followed by Sparky Stensaas beautiful
presentation of orchids, butterflies, birds and mammals that can be found in
Sax-Zim Bog followed by this unbelievable 20 minute film Sparky created showing
some of the wildlife, owls, flowers and beautiful landscapes he captured in
Sax-Zim Bog and other bogs located nearby. A real hit!
Sunday was a day of concern as a few participants headed home to be with loved
ones with the snow storm pounding southern Minnesota & Wisconsin. The field
trips still went out and many participants were able to locate the Sharp-tailed
Grouse and Hawk Owls and other birds in the gusty windy day.
I'll give the MOU members notice on this listserv when the 2011 Sax-Zim Bog
Winter Birding Festival will be aired on PBS Nature Adventures out of South
Dakota but shown in Minnesota, Wisconsin and other upper Midwest states in
November 2011. Stay tune as they got some great shots on some great birds plus
the festival events.
In a few months from now we (Toivola Meadowlands Development Board) will be
launching the new Sax-Zim Bog website (Sax-ZimBog.com) this new website will
include the new festival page along with new maps of Sax-Zim Bog, Checklists,
lodging, Guided Tours, Projects in the works and host of every imaginable bit of
information to be avail to all birders visiting the bog. Stay tune! This site
will be the official site of Sax-Zim Bog.
Thank you and the dates of 2012 Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival will be held
on Feb 17-19 2012 Please bookmark these dates and join us!
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