It’s moments like this that reinforce my decision to do my “Big Year” What a day! Actually most of the day was spent in Duluth and for me was a disappointment. No Snowy Owl and although our group had 200 Bohemian Waxwings fly over head, I was inside the Hartley Nature Center getting a key to open a fenced area and missed them. So I headed to Sax-Zim Bog in retreat. Jim spotted two Ruffed Grouse along the side of the road during the drive to Meadowlands. After checking into our room at Alesches’ Accomodations (which by the way had 4 Pine Grosebeaks and 30 Common redpolls at their feeders) www.alesches.com , we went to the community Center to check in and await our buses for the evening owl trip into Sax-Zim Bog. After an hour, we hadn’t seen any owls. Three more Ruffed Grouse, a Red Fox and Black-billed Magpies. Sax-Zim is the eastern most point in the country where Black-billed Magpies nest.
Anyway, around 5:30 PM with the sun already set, our bus got a call! Another bus had found something. Full speed ahead. Not a moment to spare, the light was fading. A mile ahead we could see the flashing light of a bus pulled over along the side of the road. Our bus pulled up slowly and stopped 40 yards in front of it. Perched on a telephone along the side of the road, the Great Gray Ghost of the Boreal Forest was actively searching for mice under the 30″ of snow. It flew down to within 8 ” of the ground then back up to the telephone. What a magnificent bird! The Great Gray owl has the longest owl in the world. This was special to me, only my second Great Gray Owl ever!
I’ll get the Snowy Owl on Monday and the Bohemian Waxwings some time this year. They’ll sort themselves out. This evening the Great Gray Ghost came a calling.