Minnesota Duluth/North Shore

Previous reports: November 16 24 30 , December 7 13 28 , January 4 10 .
Other Hotlines: Minnesota Statewide/Twin Cities
*Duluth/North Shore
*January 19, 1996

-Birds mentioned

Hotline: Minnesota Duluth/North Shore
Date: January 19, 1996
Sponsor: Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (MOU)
Reports: (218) 525-5952
Compiler: Kim Eckert
Transcriber: Joan Morrison

This is the Duluth Birding Report for Thursday, Jan. 18.

First I want to update callers on last week's BOREAL OWL, which now is unfortunately gone and on that illusive GYRFALCON in the Duluth-Superior harbor which was not only seen yesterday but banded by Dave Evans.

However, since I've received no other birding news since last weekend, today's tape will be a general repeat of that Jan 15 tape and the sightings this weekend of THAYER'S GULLS, BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, SNOW BUNTINGS and continued sightings of GREAT GRAY OWLS, NORTHERN HAWK OWLS and SNOWY OWLS. But also there will be additional information on a consistent HOARY REDPOLL location and places in the Sax Zim Bog where BOREAL CHICKADEES were found last week, and SHARP-TAILED GROUSE location in Aiken County and a few unexpected sightings last weekend of a few late lingering waterfowl in the Duluth harbor area.

First of all though is the news that the Gyrfalcon, which showed up in the Duluth harbor area last week is still present even though no one could find it last weekend. Dave Evans banded it yesterday morning near the Interstate 535 bridge, and it is an adult female grey morph individual, not an immature as previously thought. Hopefully this bird will continue to winter here and perhaps be easier to find. It's been only seen a few times in the area last week so it could be anywhere, but Dave now believes that the best place to look for it would be around downtown Superior and just west of there in the railroad yards.

Again a reminder that RED-TAIL HAWKS are also present in the same area and that they are sometimes near the bay and sometimes in the Gyrfalcon area. Also note that three Snowy Owls were also seen in the bay area last week, including an adult male on the bay ice between the Port Terminal and Park Point. There were also two female Snowy Owls hunting in late afternoon. One along Interstate 535 and the other along Interstate 35 at the Mesaba Ave. exit.

To repeat the birding information from last Monday's tape--against all odds, that Boreal Owl mentioned on last week's tape was uncharacteristically seen in the same yard for five consecutive days, Jan.8-12, but unfortunately, it could not be re-located by anyone this past weekend and it has probably moved on,.

Whether or not you were able to see this bird, we all appreciate the hospitality of the resident, Florence Doll, who was more than willing to allow birders to visit her yard. I'm also happy to report that as far as we know, there were no incidences of anyone parking or walking in the wrong places or disturbing either the owl or Florence. It's nice to know that in Duluth, all birders acted responsibily.

SPRUCE GROUSE were seen at dawn last weekend by a couple of birding groups along Lake County Rd. 2 at two locations in their traditional area just north of the Sand River. This area is between 42 and 44 miles north of Two Harbors or 2 to 4 miles south of the Minnesota Highway 1 intersection.

A female immature HARLEQUIN DUCK was relocated in the main harbor at Two Harbors on Jan. 13. But subsequent birders looking for it have been unsuccessful.

Also up the Northshore, a couple hundred HERRING GULLS were seen last Sunday in mid-afternoon and among them were at least 10 GLAUCOUS GULLS and one adult THAYER'S GULL. Location is about 1/2 mile SW of French River or 1 mile beyond the Lakeviw Castle restaurant. But these gulls only come in on an irregular basis and none were spotted there yesterday afternoon.

On both Saturday and Sunday last weekend a flock of Bohemian Waxwings were seen by several observers on Knife River in Lake County across from Emily's General Store. However, it's unknown if this flock will still be present. This species continues to be more elusive than normal this winter. Also last weekend, a large flock of SNOW BUNTINGS was found in the Sax Zim Bog area along St.Louis County Rd 5, 2 1/2 miles west and 1/2 mile north of Meadowlands.

GREAT GRAY and NORTHERN HAWK OWLS are still consistently being seen in Duluth and vicinity. The most recent and reliable Great Grays were seen last weekend on Lester River Road in Duluth in an open area 1 1/2 miles to 2 miles north of Superior St.

Also in Duluth along Arlington Rd near the intersection with Trinity Rd, up the Northshore along the Homestead Rd, about 1/2 mile of Highway 61and, as usual, in the Sax Zim Bog area, especially along County Rd 133, between US Highway 53 and Meadowlands. Look especially within the first mile east of the county road 7 intersection, also 2 to 4 miles west of 7. And there's been two Hawk Owls that were easy to find in the Sac Zim area, one of these along County Road 7, 3 miles northof Sax andthe other on County Rd 29, 1/2 mile south and 4 miles west of Kelsey. It will be interesting to see, however, if the status of these northern owls changes as a result of last night's snowstorm.

In newer birding news this week, one or possibly two Hoary Redpolls have been coming into Kathy Nelson's feeder in Duluth on most days this week and last, among a flock of Common RedPolls. Kathy does not mind if birders come to look for them. Her address is 5384 Jean Duluth Road, which is on the east side of Jean Duluth Road, just beyond the Beyer Road Intersection. Prk on the shoulder of the road, and it's OK to walk a few yards up the driveway to see the feeder.

Those birders looking for Boreal Chickadees, there are two traditional sites in the Sax Zim Bog area. AlongSt. Louis County Rd 203, 1/2 mile south of County Rd 52, 203 turns south off 52, 5 1/2 miles west of the County Rd 7 intersection. The other spot is on County Rd 211, 1/2 mile north of County Rd. 133. 211 turns north off of 133, 3 miles west of County Rd 7. These roads are also good places to look for WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, sighted in various locations last weekend.

The traditional location for Sharp-Tailed Grouse in Aiken County was productive last weekend. This area is along the unmarked road which turns west off of Aiken County Rd 5, 4 1/2 miles north of Minnesota Highway 210, . Look especially in the area 3 miles west of 5 where the road turns south. And adult blue morph SNOW GOOSE along with a CANADA GOOSE and a few AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS were seen last weekend in the Duluth harbor along with a wintering MALLARD Flock. This Snow Goose is especially signficant, not only because there are so few winter records of the species in southern Minnesota, but also because it's undoutedly the same individual which has been present here intermittently since the fall of 1994.

Unless something unusual is seen in the meantime, the next update will be Thursday, Jan. 25. But if you have birds to report, leave a message after the tone at end of this tape or call me at 525-6930.

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