Minnesota Duluth/North Shore

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*Duluth/North Shore
*January 9, 1997

-Birds mentioned

Hotline: Minnesota Duluth/North Shore
Date: January 9, 1997
Sponsor: Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (MOU)
Reports: (218) 525-5952
Compiler: Kim Eckert
Transcriber: Rick Schroeder avsaxman@cp.duluth.mn.us
Re-transcriber: David Cahlander dac@skypoint.com

This is the Duluth Birding report for Thursday, January 9th, sponsored by the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union.

With this season's snowfall total in Duluth now approaching eighty inches, with three feet on the ground, we already have had an average amount of snow for an entire winter, with still three months to go. Fortunately last weekend's 18 inch snowfall apparently has had little effect on the birding in the area, with GREAT GRAY OWL, NORTHERN HAWK OWL, and SNOWY OWLS still being seen this week. And with other reports this week, in NE Minnesota, of OLDSQUAW, SPRUCE GROUSE, BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER, BOREAL CHICKADEE, TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, PINE GROSBEAKS, RED CROSSBILLS and lots of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS.

On the other hand, however, dead BOREAL OWLS are still turning up on occasion in Duluth, and it's possible now that GREAT GRAYS might also be having a difficult time in the deep snow. There have still been no reports this season of GYRFALCON and THREE-TOED WOODPECKER, and COMMON REDPOLLS continue to be scarce to non-existent.

Although only two GREAT GRAY OWLS were reported recently, one of these, on forest road 11, about two miles east of Hoyt Lakes in St. Louis County, and the other on MN highway 1 near the town of Isabella in Lake County, it is likely they can still be found in the Sax-Zim Bog area NW of Duluth, where there apparently weren't any birders last week, because of the snow storm. And in northern Aitkin County west of Duluth, and Warren Nelson of Aitkin can provide up to date information on not only GREAT GRAY OWLS, but also NORTHERN HAWK and SNOWY OWLS, which were still being seen there last week.

HAWK OWLS seem to be easier to find than GREAT GRAYS this week, since they were seen in the Sax/Zim Bog at the intersection of St. Louis County roads 52 and 7, which is 6 miles W of Cotton. Along C.R.s 12 and 121, just NW of Two Harbors, where two or three are still present, including a partial albino, with white patches on the wing coverts. Around the intersection of Ryan and Lismore Roads, which is three miles up Ryan Road from highway 61, just NE of Duluth. Just north of Duluth, on Howard Gnesen Road, three miles north of Martin Road. On the airport road between Rice Lake and Haines Roads, which may be the same HAWK OWL which has been seen NW of here, near the intersection of Martin and Stebner Roads. And in Superior, WI, near the intersection of Hammond Road and 28th Street.

Again, HAWK and SNOWY OWLS are both probably still present in Aitkin County, while in Duluth/Superior several SNOWYS are still being seen. Look especially on the Duluth side of the harbor, around the railroad yards and grain elevators. In Superior along 28th street, at the intersections of both Catland Avenue and Hill Avenue; near the Superior Municipal Hospital on Tower Avenue; also around the intersection of Hill and Stinson Avenues.

In non-owl news this week, OLDSQUAWS were seen near Five Mile Rock, east of Grand Marais in Cook County. SPRUCE GROUSE were at two locations along MN highway 1, both west and east of c.r. 2, although the observer did not note the exact locations. A BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER was unexpectedly seen just NW of Duluth along St. Louis C.R. 8, one mile west of MN highway 33. BOREAL CHICKADEES were seen in the Sax/Zim Bog in the vicinity of C.R. 52 and 203, which is 4.5 miles east of Toivola. A TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE was seen on Monday in Duluth in the 2900 block of Grayslon Road, but it is not known if it is still in the area. BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS were reported in Lake County in Isabella, and just north of Duluth on the 5500 block of Howard Gnesen Road, but this species continues to be difficult to find. And in Lake County yesterday, along C.R. 2 and MN highway 1, several PINE GROSBEAKS and RED CROSSBILLS were seen in various locations, and WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were literally being seen by the hundreds.

During the next few weeks several out of town birders will be in Duluth and NE Minnesota, so it would be appreciated if you continue to report any birds of interest that others would like to know about. Especially those which have been scarce to non-existent, like GYRFALCON, SPRUCE GROUSE, SHARP-TAILED GROUSE, GULLS (it is not known if they are still being seen at the Superior, WI, landfill), GREAT GRAY OWLS, BOREAL OWLS, BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS, THREE-TOED WOODPECKERS, VARIED THRUSH, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, RED CROSSBILL, COMMON REDPOLL.

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

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