On Wednesday February 13th, a group of us met at the Wilbert Cafe in Cotton to begin a half day field trip into the bog. Most folks were familiar with Sax-Zim but wanted to get better acquainted with local landmarks, feeding stations. Mike and Leslie of Duluth were a couple minutes late meeting us…But with good reason. They arrived in the Bog a little early to drive some back roads and found a Great Gray Owl along Nichols Lake Road about a mile from MN53! It was a lifer for Leslie!
We started our trip along McDavitt. Ben Yokel took half the group out along the south logging road and Sparky took the other half out on the north logging road. It was very quiet and no owls or woodpeckers were found. The next stop was the Admiral Road feeder, and it did not disappoint. Boreal Chickadees were the stars, feasting on Sparky’s peanut butter laden spruce bough. A Brown Creeper made an appearance as did a shy Pileated Woodpecker. Gray Jays entertained for awhile and redpolls made a cameo.
Unfortunately we had to pass on a gorgeous eye-level Ruffed Grouse in beautiful light because it was on the north end of Stickney Road…and stopping here we would be adjacent to Mr Crabby’s house. Two or three Northern Shrikes were spotted but not one stuck around for us to get a good look.
Friend’s Owl Avenue site was a highlight with scope-looks at Pine Grosbeaks (males!) and two shy but visible Evening Grosbeaks (also males!). Two or three Hoary Redpolls also showed.
A distant deer down the railroad tracks did a good impression of a wolf. And speaking of railroad tracks, we had to turn the convoy around along Arkola as there was a “train accident.” Last feeder stop was the Bickford’s place along Kelsey Whiteface Road just east of CR7. Loretta has a wide variety of feeders and we saw Pine Grosbeaks, redpolls, woodpeckers and chickadees. We ended the trip with a stop at our 40 acre Peary Road bog.
Thanks to all for making the trek! We hope to have more of these events in coming months. Stay tuned to our e-newsletter and our Facebook page.