Visiting The Big Bog

Folks who follow my blog know that I enjoy birding Sax-Zim Bog, and serve as a volunteer naturalist at the Welcome Center in the winter. As much as I love Sax-Zim, I actually prefer the other bog, The Big Bog. Unfortunately this fantastic wilderness area, is four hours from Duluth (my home). However, The Big Bog is only 1 hours and 40 minutes from my cabin near Marcell, Minnesota.

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Web Site:

The Big Bog has been called Minnesota’s last true wilderness. This two-part recreation area includes a northern unit and a southern unit. The 500-square-mile peat bog, the largest in the lower 48 states, is located in the northern unit.

It is the northern unit which I love to visit. While roads and trails into this wilderness are rare, I like to drive Shoreline Drive NE which is just north of Upper Red Lake. For the first 7 miles of Shoreline Drive, one has bog to the north of the dirt road, and cultivated wild rice ponds to the south. Birds and other wildlife consider the Wild Rice ponds a food factory! Eventually Shoreline Drive ends and becomes Blanchard Trail. One should not drive Blanchard Trail unless you love wilderness, and have a four wheel drive or all wheel drive vehicle. Do not expect cell connectivity. Other than summer, unless it is hunting season, expect to have the area to yourself. This is both good, and a challenge. If you break down, you will be walking miles and miles to civilization. The wild rice farm is not only a good area to bird in the summer, but owls love the area in the winter (mice and voles feeding on wild rice).

Thursday I had the opportunity to visit the Big Bog. Here are a few photographs I took.

Trumpeter Swans Fighting

American Bittern

Northern Pintail

Red-Eyed Vireo


2 thoughts on “Visiting The Big Bog

  1. Thanks Gregg:

    You are obviously correct with your ID, a Northern Pintail. Sometimes as I type my brain knows one thing, but the fingers have a mind of their Own!


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