I drove up to the Pagami Creek forest fire region (NW of Isabella, Minnesota) arriving at the start of Tomahawk Road at 6:30 am this morning. My first comment if you want to bird the area is bring bug repellent. Warm weather has finally arrived up near the Canadian border and with it … lots of black flies and mosquitoes!
While I did not see any Black Backed Woodpeckers even with an hour’s extensive hiking and listening near the Isabella Lake BWCA Entry Point parking area, there were a huge number of Wilson Snipes and Yellowthroats calling out.
On the way back to Mn Hwy #1, I stopped many times and took short hikes, but still no Black Backed Woodpeckers, or Spruce Grouse. However, what I did see quite a few of were American Woodcock. Between 9 am and 10 am woodcocks were often seen slowly crossing the road.
The easiest woodcock location to find is 1/2 mile past the Kelley Loop when you reach the first “Planted in 1946” sign. Slow down way down and over the nest 2/10 of a mile look for rocks which occasionally move … the best way I can describe spotting a woodcock. I found the same bird multiple times, and I suspect it has a nest in that vicinity. I paid a high price in blood for my American Woodcock image. The bugs found me as I stood motionless to take my photographs.