Minnesota Duluth/North Shore

Previous reports: October 31 , November 7 14 21 , December 5 12 13 20 24 .
Other Hotlines: Minnesota Statewide/Twin Cities
*Duluth/North Shore
*December 25, 1996

-Birds mentioned

Hotline: Minnesota Duluth/North Shore
Date: December 25, 1996
Sponsor: Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (MOU)
Reports: (218) 525-5952
Compiler: Kim Eckert
Transcriber: Roger Schroeder
Re-transcriber: David Cahlander dac@skypoint.com

This is the Duluth birding report for Wednesday, December 25th, sponsored by the MOU.

In Duluth itself, little has changed in the birding situation since last Sunday, which included the 56 species we tallied on the December 21st Christmas Bird Count. And that count included HARLEQUIN DUCK, OLDSQUAW, NORTHERN HAWK OWL, SNOWY OWL, BOREAL CHICKADEE, and HARRIS' SPARROW. But elsewhere in northeastern Minnesota there have been a number of birds of interest reported this week including a possible GYRFALCON in Aitkin County, along with the continued presence of SNOWY OWLS and two new HAWK OWLS in that county, two GREAT GRAY OWLS in Carlton County, and both GREAT GRAY and NORTHERN HAWK OWL seen on the Sax-Zim bog area Christmas Bird Count.

Warren Nelson reports that a possible GYRFALCON was reported last Sunday along Aitkin County Road 1, 5.7 miles north of Aitkin. The observers apparently had a good look at the bird and Warren was going to check to see if the bird could be relocated in the area. For updates on this, and other birding news in that county, you can contact Warren.

Several SNOWY OWLS are also still being seen along County Road 1 north of Aitkin, and Warren also reports that two new HAWK OWLS were seen last weekend. One of these on County Road 1, 10.5 miles north of Aitkin, and the other on MN Highway 47, 3.5 miles northeast of Aitkin.

Also last Sunday, the Carlton County Christmas Bird Count was held, and their two best birds were the two GREAT GRAY OWLS on Carlton County Road 6, 2 to 3 miles west of the County Road 3 intersection, or 11 to 12 miles east of Barnum.

The Sax-Zim bog CBC was on the following day, December 23, and one GREAT GRAY was reported about a half mile up St. Louis County Road 211, and 211 turns north off County Road 133, 3.5 miles east of Meadowlands. One NORTHERN HAWK OWL was also found on the count on County Road 7 about halfway between Sax and Zim, where one had been reported earlier in December. The Sax-Zim count also recorded BOREAL CHICKADEES, both 0.5 mile east and 0.5 mile south of the intersection of County Roads 52 and 203, which is 4.5 miles east of Toivola.

Also noteworthy on the Sax-Zim count was the impressive tally of over 450 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, although this contrasts with the relatively low numbers of 33 PINE GROSBEAKS and only 12 COMMON REDPOLLS.

As previously reported the best finds on the December 21st Duluth CBC were the male HARLEQUIN DUCK at the mouth of the Lester River, the 2 OLDSQUAW on Lake Superior both at the French River and along Lakewood Road. A NORTHERN HAWK OWL on Jean Duluth Road at the intersection with Riley Road which is just north of the city limits, the 4 SNOWY OWLS in the harbor area, the two BOREAL CHICKADEES near Judy Gibbs yard on Eagle Lake, and an unexpected HARRIS' SPARROW at a feeder on Lakewood Road between Highway 61 and Superior Street.

Also of note were the 7 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 9 BROWN CREEPERS, 5 NORTHERN CARDINALS, and 131 PURPLE FINCH, which were all record high numbers for the Duluth count. And several late lingering species which are not found on most Duluth counts, including AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, AMERICAN KESTREL, NORTHERN FLICKER, RING-BILLED GULL, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, BROWN THRASHER, AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD.

On the other hand it was disappointing on Saturday to have missed BOREAL OWL since three were seen on Friday the 20th. Two of these dying of apparent starvation. We also did not record VARIED THRUSH which was seen a few miles outside the count circle on Saturday on the 6200 block of Ryan Road, although this individual is now apparently gone.

On Sunday the 22nd, a thrush identified as a possible GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH was seen in the woodland neighborhood of Duluth. It was not present on count day. And on count day a GRAY CATBIRD was reported but the caller did not leave her name or phone number, and the location is in question as it was only reported as 9th Avenue north. It is hoped that this person will call back to clarify the sighting.

It is also hoped that we might get a belated report of an additional species or two which was actually seen in Duluth in the 21st, which would add to our total of 56 species. For example, no one last Saturday reported seeing NORTHERN GOSHAWK, MERLIN, RING-NECKED PHEASANT, GLAUCOUS GULL, GREAT HORNED OWL, GREAT GRAY OWL, BLACK-BACKED or RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS, GRAY JAY, TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, FOX or SONG or WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, SNOW BUNTING, or RUSTY BLACKBIRD.

And if you know of any of these or other rarities which were seen on the 21st, please give me a call or, as always, you can leave a message at the end of this tape. after the tone.

This tape is normally updated on every Thursday unless something unusual is seen, so the next scheduled update is Thursday, January 2nd. And callers are also reminded that they can leave a message without listening to the complete birding report. To do this, after the tape starts playing, press 5 on your touch tone phone. The tape will then stop, the tone will sound, and you can leave you message.

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