Minnesota Duluth/North Shore

Previous reports: December 28 , January 4 10 19 24 , February 10 15 22 .
Other Hotlines: Minnesota Statewide/Twin Cities
*Duluth/North Shore
*February 22, 1996

-Birds mentioned

Hotline: Minnesota Duluth/North Shore
Date: February 22, 1996
Sponsor: Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (MOU)
Reports: (218) 525-5952
Compiler: Kim Eckert
Transcriber: Sr. Pam Kern pkern@css1.css.edu

This is the Duluth birding report for Thursday, February 22 sponsored by the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union.

During the two weeks since the last update of this tape, this continues to be one of the best birding winters ever in Duluth and the vicinity. With continued sightings of a reliable GYRFALCON, a few SNOWY OWLS in the Duluth-Superior Harbor, some additional SPRUCE GROUSE and BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS in Lake County, and the continued presence of good numbers of GREAT GRAY OWLS, a few NORTHERN HAWK OWLS and several additional reports of BOREAL OWLS including one discovered just this morning in Tony Barret's yard located at 5554 Howard Gnesen Road just north of Duluth.

Howard Gnesen is the northern extension of Kenwood Avenue and 5554 is about three miles north of Martin Road on the east side of Howard Gnesen. Birders are free to come look for the owl as long as they park only on the shoulder of Howard Gnesen Road and they can then walk up the driveway and look in the vicinity of the bird feeders. However, if this BOREAL OWL is a typical individual, it will only be present for one day, today, as were the seven others reported to this tape in the last few weeks. Those were on the 2800 block of Park Point, on the 700 block of 60th Avenue East, near the medical school building on the campus of UMD, on the 6100 block of ____ Road, on the north Cloquet Road in Proctor, in the town of Knife River in Lake County, and a dead individual found on the 2900 block of Greysolon Road. Also one of these BOREAL OWLS had been in somebody's yard presumably looking for small mammals attracted to bird feeders. And all of them are having a hard time finding prey under the deep, hard crusted snow cover, as evidenced by those found dead, presumably from starvation. Steve Wilson of Tower is doing a study of these dead individuals and birders are asked to retrieve and save any dead BOREAL OWLS they know of so that they can be examined.

Four NORTHERN HAWK OWLS have been reported recently. Two of these which have been consistently seen in the Sax Zim bog area northwest of Duluth, one of these on County Road 319 about a mile east of County Road 7. And the other at the intersection of County Road 52 and 207 which is three miles west of County Road 7. Again a map of the Sax Zim Bog area can be found on page 220 of A Birder's Guide to Minnesota. Another HAWK OWL, interestingly enough was seen February 11 and 17 in Duluth at the intersection of Highway 53 and Haines Road just beyond the Miller Hill Mall, where this or another individual had last been seen in early February or rather early January. And the fourth HAWK OWL was found February 20 in southwestern St. Louis County, along Minnesota Highway 73 four miles south of Floodwood.

Lots of GREAT GRAY OWLS are still being seen, especially in the Sax Zim Bog, where they had been temporarily harder to find during that severe cold snap in early February. Look especially along County Roads 133 near the intersection of County Road 7 and two to three miles both east and west of this intersection. Along County Road 7 between Sax and County Road 319 and along 319 itself.

GREAT GRAYS have also been seen last weekend in and near Duluth, at Stoney Point at the intersection of Scenic Highway 61 and Alseth Road, along the Lester River Road two miles north of Superior Street, near the intersection of Maxwell Road and Oak Street, on the 4400 block of ?__eagull Street, and in the Duluth harbor area near the Port Terminal west of Interstate 535.

Other GREAT GRAY OWLS have recently been reported in Lake County along Highway 61 just northeast of Castle Danger, and along Minnesota Highway 1 near milepost 300, which is about 11 miles northwest of the County Road 2 intersection. And several are still being seen in Aitkin County west of Duluth, and for more information on these it would be best to call Warren Nelson in Aitkin at 218-927-2458. Aitkin County would also be the best place to currently look for SHARP-TAILED GROUSE.

A few SNOWY OWLS are still wintering in the Duluth-Superior Harbor Area look for them especially in the vicinity of the Port Terminal or on the Bay ice south of the Port Terminal or west of the Park Point Recreational Area.

And speaking of the harbor area, that adult female grey morph GYRFALCON continues to be relatively easy to find on the Duluth side of the harbor. Look especially on or near the Cargill grain elevator. And almost all the sightings have been around noon or 1:00 p.m.. A few RED-TAILED HAWKS and an adult BALD EAGLE are also wintering there.

SPRUCE GROUSE have been reported again recently in there traditional area along Lake County 2 one-and-a-half miles north of the Sand River which is about 43 miles north of Two Harbors or three miles south of the Highway 1 intersection. Look especially for them in the road at dawn.

BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS have also been seen recently in the same general area. One of these on County Road 2 four tenths of a mile south of Highway 1 and the other location to look would be three and a half to four miles up the Spruce Road which turns north off of Highway 1 about fourteen miles northwest of County Road 2. There were at least three other BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER sightings there earlier this winter. Also note that a THREE-TOED WOODPECKER had also been seen four tenths of a mile up the Spruce Road in early February.

The only BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS reported recently were seen last weekend in Lake County in Two Harbors near the High School.

And finally that amazing blue morphed SNOW GOOSE which was first seen in Canal Park in Duluth in the fall of 1994 is still present. It was seen again February 19, with some MALLARDS and a lone CANADA GOOSE on the lake shore near the Park Inn Motel where someone has been providing food for these waterfowl.

Unless something unusual is seen in the meantime which needs to be reported on immediately, the next scheduled update of this tape will be on Thursday, February 29, and as always if you have birds to report, you may leave a message after the tone and also note for future reference that callers can leave a message if they wish without having to wait for this birding report to end. To do this, after the tape starts playing, push 5 on your touch tone phone, the tape will then stop, the message. BEEP

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