Minnesota Duluth/North Shore

Previous reports: November 16 24 30 , December 7 13 28 , January 4 .
Other Hotlines: Minnesota Statewide/Twin Cities
*Duluth/North Shore
*January 10, 1996

-Birds mentioned

Hotline: Minnesota Duluth/North Shore
Date: January 10, 1996
Sponsor: Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (MOU)
Reports: (218) 525-5952
Compiler: Kim Eckert
Transcriber: Kirk Jeffrey

This is the Duluth birding report for Wednesday, January 10th, sponsored by the Minnesota Ornithologists Union.

This tape is being updated a day early, primarily to report on a GYRFALCON which was seen yesterday and Monday in Duluth, and on a BOREAL OWL which has appeared in the same yard just northwest of Duluth for three consecutive days including today.

Dave Evans and Don Kuehnholst independently saw a GYRFALCON on January 8 and again yesterday; and since it appeared to be an immature gray-morph individual, it's probably the same Gyrfalcon which had been seen for one day only last week in Two Harbors. It was seen perched on some of the taller buildings in downtown Duluth, and also flying by the grain elevators in the nearby harbor area. Unfortunately, no one today was able to relocate it; but it could easily still be around since the area it could be in, as it would be preying on pigeons, is fairly large and includes the Superior, Wisconsin, side of the harbor, which apparently was not checked today.

Please be sure to note that a few other raptors are also in this area, including at least three RED-TAILED HAWKS, which have sometimes been misidentified as Gyrfalcons by over-eager birders in previous winters.

Also note that two SNOWY OWLS are also present in the Duluth-Superior harbor. One was seen today on the bay ice between Park Point and the Perkins Restaurant in Superior, and the other has been present off and on for several weeks, with most sightings in the vicinity of the Duluth Port Terminal.

A BOREAL OWL has been seen for three days in a row, most often during the morning hours, in a rural yard northwest of Duluth. It was seen as recently as this morning perched near the bird feeders of this yard, as it apparently has been hunting small mammals attracted to the spilled seed. The address is 7985 Highway 2, which is located on the north side of U.S. Highway 2, three miles west of the Minnesota Highway 33 intersection.

And the residents there have said they do not mind if birders come to look for it, as long as three conditions are met: first, that birders park only on the shoulder of the highway and do not drive up the driveway; second, birders are then free to walk up the driveway as long as they look for the owl, but they should not walk away from the driveway; and three, if the owl is present it should not be approached too closely; otherwise it might flush and other birders not see it. Please be sure to observe these guidelines so that the owl is not disturbed and the hospitality of the residents is not abused.

Three other BOREAL OWLS have also been reported this week, but unfortunately two of these were birds found dead, presumably from starvation. The other, live owl was reported on Siskin Road, which is a 1-mile long east-west road just north of Duluth, which runs between Howard [???] and Arnold Roads, 1.7 miles north of Mark Road. I do not know what day it was seen or whether it would still be present.

Speaking of owls, good numbers of GREAT GRAY and NORTHERN HAWK OWLS continue to be seen as they have been for the past few weeks. The most recent GREAT GRAYS reported this week include:

Those in the Sax-Zim Bog area northwest of Duluth, but especially all along St. Louis County Road 133 between U.S. Highway 53 and Meadowlands; on County Road 52 11.5 miles west of Cotton near the intersection of County Road 203; and near the intersection of County Roads 7 and 319, 1.5 miles south of Zim;

and those near or within the Duluth city limits: on 10th Avenue West just below Skyline Parkway; on Arlington Road about a half mile south of Central Entrance Road; near the corner of Martin and Arnold Roads; the two individuals in the open area along Lester River Road about one mile north of Superior Street; and along Lakewood Road about three miles north of Highway 51.

And the most recently seen HAWK OWLS include: the five or six individuals in Sax-Zim Bog: two of these along County Road 7 between Sax and the County Road 319 intersection; on County Road 788 one mile west and about two miles north of Sax; on County Road 29 a half mile south and four miles west of Kelsey; one or two individuals on U.S. Highway 53 between County Road 133 and Cotton--look especially about a mile north of 133 and also 2 1/2 miles south of Cotton, where one was seen today.

HAWK OWLS seen elsewhere this week have been on Minnesota Highway 33 about one mile south of the Highway 53 intersection; along or near Haynes Road between Highway 53 and Arrowhead Road; and just north of Duluth on the 4300 block of Schultz Road.

Other birds of note recently include confirmation on January 6 of an out-of-season WHITE-WINGED SCOTER in the main harbor in Two Harbors, Lake County. There may also be a HARLEQUIN DUCK or two there, although these have not been reported since the 1st of January; and three reports of small BOHEMIAN WAXWING flocks in Duluth: last weekend in a location described as "just down the hill from Hawk Ridge" and today at both the Lester River Golf Course and on Scenic Highway 61 near Brighton Beach.

As reported on last week's tape, there will be a lot of out-of-town birders in town during the next few days. So if you have birds to report that others would be interested in, please be sure to leave a message or call me [Kim Eckert] directly at (218) 525-6930.

Besides owls, we could especially use reports of Spruce Grouse, Black-backed or Three-toed Woodpeckers, Varied Thrush, Bohemian Waxwing, Snow Bunting, both Crossbills, and Hoary Redpoll.

The next update of this tape will be on Thursday, January 18th.

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