Ten years ago if someone told me they were heading off to the Duluth, MN area in early February to go birding I would have thought them crazy! Why would anyone want to go from the cold in Chicagoland to really cold way up there? Since then I’ve come to realize you need to go where the Lifers are, and today Birding Buddy Mark, Karen and I are off to Sax-Zim Bog, which is just west of Duluth.
Sax-Zim Bog is a 300 square mile area which not only includes bogs but also a variety of habitats that boreal (northern regions dominated by coniferous trees) birds are attracted to. According to their website, “Regular visitors include Gray Jays, Pine Grosbeaks*, Common Redpolls, Black-capped Chickadees, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Ravens, Blue Jays. Less regular species includes Evening Grosbeak, Brown Creeper, Ruffed Grouse*, Pileated Woodpecker. Rare species recorded here include Great Gray Owl*, Northern Hawk Owl*, Boreal Owl*, Hoary Redpoll, Black-billed Magpie*, Ermine*, Gray Fox*, Bobcat*, Red Fox, Snowshoe Hare* (those marked with an * would be lifers for us).
We asked some of our birding buddies that have been up there what to wear. Their response, “Bring everything that will keep you warm!” Temperatures up there can get to be -20° – in the daytime! The forecast for this week isn’t that cold but rest assured we have packed many layers, HotHands, sandwich fixings (not many restaurants out there in the wild), and some adult refreshments for apres birding! Super 8 here we come!
Yeah, we could stick around here and see the same birds we’ve been spotting for the last month or two. But just seven hours north of here there’s a whole new world with lots of different species to discover. My reports on Sax-Zim Bog will start next week.
That’s it for now. Lots more beautiful bird pictures in the Latest Pics section.
Stay safe. Go birding. Take pics. Post here. Repeat.
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