Friday, January 1, 2010

Sax Zim Raptors

January and February can be awfully long months here in Minnesota but if you are willing to brave the cold and work a little bit harder winter birding can be very rewarding. Last winter I made several trips up to the Sax Zim Bog area in northern Minnesota to do a little winter birding.
Besides all of the cool passerines that I had the chance photographed, which includes gray jay, common and hoary redpoll, white-winged crossbill, boreal chickadee, pine and evening grosbeak, black-backed and three-toed woodpeckers, and more, there were also quite a few raptors around. I was surprised to find a few eagles up on the bog when all of the water around was frozen. I assumed that they were able to remain because of a constant supply of roadkill which kept them fed.
The winter owls are a main reason why people come to this area. Especially after the eruption of 2004 and 2005 when great gray, boreal, and northern hawk owls came down to the area in the thousands from Canada in search of food. This eruption drew national attention and people from all over the country, as well as some from other countries, came to northern Minnesota to see all of the owls. That eruption was most likely a once in a life time occurrence however we do have owls that come down from Canada and winter in the area every year. Last year I spotted this great gray owl out on the hunt at dusk. I also spotted several northern hawk owls, one of the northern hawk owl pictures is in my 2010 calendar, and while at the 2009 Sax Zim Bog Birding Festival last year someone spotted a boreal owl. Unfortunately I was somewhere else at the time but I am still trying to get that boreal pic.


In Three Rivers, Michigan said...

The eagles are wonderful and an amazing catch of the great grey. Worth living through the long cold months for. My best eagle sightings were in northern Minn. (saw one hit a huge fish practically in front of me!)

Three Rivers Daily Photo

eileeninmd said...

Cool shots of the Eagles. I really love the Great Gray, I would love to see it someday.

Pamela said...

I love the "in flight" shot. very cool

great shots!


Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Beautiful shot of the grey owl - gorgeous.

Michael said...

Fab birds. All great pictures.

ellen said...

What a great entry you have! Wishing you all the best this year. God Bless you and your family.

Mine is up! Hope to see you. Your comment is much appreciated.

Done following you. Really hope that you can follow me too in google friend connect. Hoping for your kind response. Thank you in advance.

Tes said...

You're very good! Clear in-flight shot! :)

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