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November 2009


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Cameron Rutt <[log in to unmask]>
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Cameron Rutt <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 20 Nov 2009 09:56:48 -0700
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Sarah Glesner and I toured a fair amount of Koochiching real estate
yesterday (11/19).  The single, most productive patch of habitat was
along the eastern portion of Twomey-Williams Forest Road, within the
first mile north of County Road 30.  A short, midday walk yielded a
Northern Hawk Owl, a male American Three-toed Woodpecker, 2
Black-backed Woodpeckers, and all but one of the 7 Boreal Chickadees
tallied for the day.  The Great Gray Owl - among our last birds for
the day (4:10 PM) - was along Pine Island Road, a very short distance
north of the western end of County Road 30.  The other Northern Hawk
Owl was somewhere in the middle of Big Falls and Highway 65, alongside
a fairly expansive bog on County Road 31.  We watched this individual
for some time in the morning sun, as a pair of Gray Jays and a single
Blue Jay also investigated this treetop bird.  Singles of both species
cautiously worked their way up through the interior of the tamarack,
until within striking distance, although neither did anything except
fuss.  The Northern Hawk Owl could be seen, and barely heard, making
some squeaky groans, apparently provoked by the Gray Jays' presence.
A small flock or two of Common Redpolls occasionally swirled overhead,
not appearing nearly as bothersome as the jays.

Other highlights from our day spent within county borders
(Twomey-Williams Forest Road, Pine Island Road, 30, 13, 31, and 65)

Gray Jay - 34
Brown Creeper - 1
Snow Bunting - 17
Pine Grosbeak - 46
Red Crossbill - 26
White-winged Crossbill - 12
Common Redpoll - 155
Evening Grosbeak - 9

The previous day (11/18), we wound our way through Sax-Zim Bog, St.
Louis County.  Among three other birding groups that we bumped into,
we only heard of 2 Northern Hawk Owl sightings all day (both reported
on the most recent Duluth RBA, per David Alexander and Frank
Nicoletti).  Our highlights follow:

Northern Harrier - 1 male
Rough-legged Hawk - 7
Gray Jay - 20
Black-billed Magpie - 2 (Correction Line Road and County Road 201)
Boreal Chickadee - 1 (northern reaches of Owl Avenue)
Pine Grosbeak - 10
and a Porcupine

   Good Birding,
      Cameron Rutt
      St. Louis County

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