Category Archives: Year 3

Great Gray Owl … Final Bird of the Year!

I spent yesterday up at Sax-Zim Bog … birding, cross-country skiing, hiking, and working as a volunteer naturalist at the Welcome Center. In the near future I will post either a map or descriptions of where some of the birds are hanging out in the Bog, but for right now I’m skipping that task … (pinched a nerve in a leg yesterday evening and am not able to sit at my desk/computer very long due to pain … injury was NOT done partying).

Post Update: Sax-Zim Bog bird sightings for early January provided after the photos.

Great Gray Owl … Final Bird of the Year … just before sunset

Northern Shrike … Second to Last Bird of the year … a bird with an attitude

Pine Grosbeak in the early morning sun


Here is a current bird sightings report as filed by Sparky Stensaas, the Director of the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog.

Date:    Thu, 5 Jan 2017 19:20:21 +0000
Subject: Sax-Zim Bog Field Trips this weekend and bird updates


  • Great Gray Owl: Seen in 7 different locations during the brief warm up of last week; Check McDavitt Road, Admiral Road (the half mile from the feeders south), Nichols Lake Road, CR133 (stretch just west of CR7), Stone Lake Road (first mile east of CR7). Best to get out at dawn and dusk…”warmer” calm snowy days are best.
  • Northern Hawk Owl: No recent confirmed sightings
  • Rough-legged Hawk: Very few this winter. Best bet is Aitkin County.
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse: Very regular at the bird feeders (!) at the first farm south of Correction Line Road on CR29 (east side). Birder friendly farm.
  • Boreal Chickadee: Has been seen at Admiral Road feeders but not as regular as in year’s past. Also pisshhh along the bog stretch on Arkola just east of Owl Avenue (…and any other larger Black Spruce stands)
  • Black-backed Woodpecker: Most recent sightings have been along McDavitt Road. The female seen regularly along the ditch going north from the Welcome Center has not been reported recently but is still probably in the area.
  • White-winged Crossbills: Many locations throughout the bog. Watch the spruce tops, and look for small flocks overhead. Get out and pisshh in boggy areas as they will come right in if they are nearby.
  • Pine Grosbeak: Many locations throughout the Bog. Most often seen picking salt on the roads.
  • Common Redpolls: A few around. Some at Welcome Center feeders and Mary Lou’s. Watch for flocks in roadside alders and Tamaracks.
  • Hoary Redpoll: None reported. Probably some around somewhere.
  • Evening Grosbeaks: Mary Lou’s! (morning is best)
  • Welcome Center on Owl Avenue is open daily (7-days per week) from 10am to 3pm.


Catching Up at Year’s End

Time to clean up photographs from the past two months as I sit here on the first day of 2017. There are two birding trips I never reported upon, and have some good images. Back in mid November I took a drive up Lake County #3 which leaves the Northshore of Lake Superior at the mouth of the Stewart River.  This is an occasional birding route of mine, and 13 miles inland I catch the logging road, East Alger Grade to connect to Lake County #2 which comes back down into Two Harbors.

The second trip was a few days prior to New Year’s when I drove down to Canal Park. In addition to hundreds of bouncing goldeneyes, there is one beautiful male long-tailed duck.

Rough-Legged Hawk on Lake County #3

Canal Park Goldeneyes and Long-Tailed Duck

Bouncing Bobbleheads!  🙂

Birds Behaving Badly! Pileated Woodpecker Fight

Why can’t we Northland residents just be friends?!
Yesterday Mr. Snowy Owl and some crows had a fight. Today it was Madam Pileated Woodpecker and a Red Squirrel having an altercation over who belonged in a certain tree. If anyone thinks taking photographs like this one are easy, they’re not! I watched this Pileated Woodpecker for over 1/2 hour in the 20F conditions. I had to first find a bird, and then slowly work my way closer without spooking the woodpecker. 99% of my visit with this bird was boring, but then bang!
View a video and images of the Crows attacking the Snowy Owl in yesterday’s post.
Pileated Woodpecker Wings

Crow Attacking Snowy Owl at Dawn (video)

20 minutes before sunrise, I found my first Snowy Owl of the winter! A few minutes after sunrise, the local crow population also discovered Snowy. However, the male owl defended himself well, and refused to be forced off his perch. Thus, I had a fantastic time early this morning and spent 1 & 1/2 hours with this cool bird. I hope you enjoy a few of my photos, plus the video. In total I took 416 images this morning. Hopefully this Snowy will establish a winter territory where I found it … which would mean over two months of Snowy Owl watching / enjoyment.

The short video of the crows attacking the Snowy Owl is at the bottom of the post.


Mr. Snowy twenty minutes before sunrise

Getting the evil eye from a Snowy Owl!

White Fluffball

Hanging Out After Sunrise … Crows are Gone!

A video of the crows attacking the Snowy Owl