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Spring in Sax-Zim…And a nesting Great Gray Owl

May 30, 2012 Category: ,

On Memorial day, I got up very early to make a quick trip to the Sax-Zim Bog. It was a gray, misty morning but calm. And the resident birds seemed energized after several days of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Though  no “wolf whistles” of the Upland Sandpipers were heard, a very surprising Western Meadowlark was singing; Easterns are more common here. In the same field, a lone Sharp-tailed Grouse sat atop a wooden fence post near the lek just south of CR52 east of Stickney Road. Nobody told him the party was over three weeks ago! Magpies foraged in hay fields along CR229. Bobolinks had also arrived.

Deciduous Woods

Oddly I flushed a group of 6 American Woodcock from a clump of hazel…Family group? I wouldn’t think they would already have fledged and flying young yet.

Black Spruce Bog

Connecticut Warblers were found at several locations including where Stickney T’s with CR27 Sax Rd, and a couple of males singing on opposite sides of Admiral Road (N. of the old feeder site). Blue-headed Vireos were at several sites. Winter Wrens and Sedge Wrens were in full song. And Yellow-bellied Flycatchers have returned to their bog breeding forests. Lincoln’s Sparrows sang from the scrubby taiga-like Black Spruce bogs.

But at 9am I got a wonderful surprise…A Great Gray Owl was hunting voles along McDavitt Road. This probably means that this owl has a nest full of begging beaks somewhere in the vast Black Spruce/Tamarack bog. I was able to get some video and photos as he/she hunted the wet ditch sides. Not very concerned with me, she eventually flew deeper into the bog. I was able to get this photo from the car window.

So if you have some time, get up to the bog early in the morning and enjoy the cocauphony of spring bird songs…and maybe even a Great Gray Owl!

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