It was a great late afternoon at Sax-Zim Bog. I scored this trifecta! In addition there are a number of Northern Hawk Owls in the Bog this winter. The action is on Admiral and McDavitt Roads. My encounter with the Great Gray Owl was at sunset in the shade, while the other birds (Immature Bald Eagle and Rough Legged Hawk) were hunting working at obtaining their evening meal about 30 minutes before sunset.
Before sunrise I drove over to Superior in search of Snowy Owls. While I did not find any owls, about ten minutes before sunrise I spied an early hunting Rough-Legged Hawk. I was actually surprised to see it hunting before sunup. Thus, I positioned my car as a blind and captured the hawk in the very first rays of morning sun … less than five minutes after the golden orb popped above the horizon.
This afternoon I had planned on just chilling out, but when I got wind of a Northern Hawk Owl up near Stone Lake Road in Sax-Zim Bog I quickly changed those plans. While I never found the owl, I had a blast watching this mink for over ten minutes as it fished the small creek adjacent to Stone Lake Road. Finally right at sun down I watched another Rough-Legged Hawk near the greenhouse on Hwy #7 … the second time I had seen it in that area this afternoon. I did make a few swings along McDavitt Road towards sunset but did not find any Great Gray Owls. Even with the misses, it was a great day out in the woods.
There has been an explosion of pine grosbeaks entering our area. These beautiful birds are everywhere!
Finally, a quick update on my book … But That Is Not Me! I just edited the Birding With Children Page. Each bird featured in the book now is listed with links to videos, songs, map ranges, etc!
The morning dawned dark and dreary, in short a great day to go owling. While we humans love bright sunny blue sky days, you will almost never find owls out during daylight hours given those weather conditions. Thus, around 6 am I drove up to Sax Zim Bog in the hope I might find some Great Gray Owls hunting into the daylight hours. Fifteen minutes into my search I hit paydirt and found a mature great gray owl.
Normally, finding one owl would be considered a great day of birding, but the day would soon get phenomenally better. After five minutes of watching the adult Great Gray Owl it flew deeper into the forest. I thought I could still see the owl, thus I got out of the car with my binoculars which is when I heard the first “screech”. My heart pumped with excitement, and after a short hike along the road, I found not one, but two Great Gray Owl chicks which were begging for breakfast. These two juveniles proceeding to screech and call for Mom (or Dad) for almost one hour … flitting from one tree to another.
Finally I decided the hundreds of mosquito bights I had endured to watch and take photographs were enough, and I got back in my car and drove out the remote direct road back towards civilization. A few miles down the road I discovered a couple who were out birding. I stopped and asked if they would like a real treat, as seeing Great Gray Owl chicks in the forest might be a once in a lifetime event. Their answer was a quick yes, and I led them back down the road where we refound the young owls. This couple was from northern Germany, which made sharing the experience with them even more special. It was fun to show these beautiful birds to some folks who had flown from 1/2 way around the world to bird Sax-Zim Bog.
I hope you enjoy my photographs and video.