No trips to the owling grounds this weekend. Instead it was Woodpecker Weekend! I knew the winds would be light allowing me to use my ears to locate some birds. At 8 am with the temperature at -17F (not windchill) I arrived at the Warren Nelson Bog. However, my Steger Mukluks were up to the chilly weather and I began my search. After almost two hours and only one black backed and hairy woodpecker, I decided to warm up in my car. Those two hours saw the air warm to almost zero degrees.
My next move was to drive over to McDavitt Road. The air continued calm and very soon I found a very cooperative Black Backed Woodpecker in the Boreal Bog. It was interesting to see how many folks who were slowly cruising McDavitt for owls I could entice out of their cars to hoof it into the woods to see a woodpecker. I think I had about a 50% success ratio. Major, major kudos to the guy who said “Absolutely!” and then got out of his vehicle and followed me into the woods using a cane (leg mishapen due to an accident a few years back I learned). His personal fortitude was amazing! I say well birded, sir!
After this fun morning in the Bog, I needed to drive down to the Twin Cities for some social engagements. I exited the Boreal Bog and birded an Oak Savannah this morning. It was amazing the number of red headed woodpeckers which were wintering in Minnesota. A side bonus was the air temperature at 8 am was already +1F … a heat wave for this northern Minnesota kid. Check out the Fish Lake Nature Trails! (not the Hennepin County Regional Park)
Oh yeah, even though I was not looking for owls in the Bog yesterday, I guess they were looking for me. I found this Northern Hawk Owl 800 yards in off McDavitt via the South Logging Road. Moral of the story, dress warmly and get out of your cars, folks!