Winter Birding in Minnesota

I’m headed to Duluth for some winter birding and the bird festival at the legendary Sax-Zim Bog, home to winter owls and breeding Connecticut Warblers and one of the largest bogs in the lower 48.  Great Gray Owls actually nest at Sax-Zim and in invasion years there can be lots of them.  This is not an invasion year, but we’re still hopeful for both Great Gray and N. Hawk Owl and maybe a Snowy Owl around the harbors in Duluth.  My long time friend Davis has joined me for this adventure.  Davis and I were friends long before he became a birder and he’s been birding since 1983. He says I got him into birding, but I remember him calling me from his home in Lyons while looking at a male Bullock’s Oriole through his binoculars for the first time.  That could make anyone become a birder.  He only thing you know for sure with Davis is that he’ll be wearing high top converse tennis shoes.  They could be any color or should I say any two colors because his left shoe will ALWAYS be a different color than his right shoe.

Anyways the expectations are high.  Two of my brothers will be joining us in Chicago. Bill has already joined me on two trips this year.  In fact his year list is now at 271 species, which puts him ahead one of my defacto “Big Year” competitors, Matt from Ohio.  Matt has just spent the last three days in the Duluth area where he added all three of the large winter owls as well as Bohemian Waxwings to his year list. so he did quite well.  I’ll have to keep an eye on Matt. This will be the first trip of the year for my brother Jim who will also join me on the Alaska trip later this year. Jim is the creator of the “Quest for a Thousand” which is a lifetime goal of seeing 1000 birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians in the ABA area.  In fact I’ve asked him to write up an introduction, which I hope to post on this blog later today.

Unfortunately, we booked this trip on United Airlines through Chicago, which is

Always a deadly combination and sure enough our flight from Chicago to Duluth has been cancelled due to “high winds” Right! So now we hope to get in to Duluth around 11:15 PM.  They alerted us that we might not get in till tomorrow afternoon.  So stay tuned.  Hopefully tomorrow you’ll receive a post from me involving birds seen!

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