With your help, we’ve protected 24,439 acres of Bog for future generations!

Virtually Live Field Trips

Leaping Bears, Courting Cranes, and a Woodcock lands ON BLAKE’S HEAD! Virtually Live 46 S5E1

Spring in Sax-Zim Bog filmed on April 25, 2024: Season FIVE of Virtually Live from Sax-Zim Bog begins with Sparky seeing what spring migrants have returned to northern Minnesota. Along McDavitt Road he finds TWO rarely seen behaviors…Mating Sandhill Cranes and two leaping Black Bears! We also see some crazy video clips of our 8-year old friend Blake who has an American Woodcock that has chosen him as a mate! Other avian highlights include cooperative Green-winged Teal, courtship display of the Broad-winged Hawk, and slow-motion Trumpeter Swans.

Sparky also encourages everyone to join Friends of Sax-Zim Bog’s big spring event called the Big Week. It runs from May 11-18.

CROSSBILLS with expert Matt Young & Spring Snowstorm Sax-Zim. Virtually Live 45 S4 E10

In this episode of Virtually Live from northern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog, Sparky goes out before the BIG SNOWSTORM and finds Hoary Redpolls and a Snowshoe Hare that runs up to greet him! Then after the storm that dumped 14″ of snow on the Bog, he returns to see what he can find. Flat tire? 20mph winds! We end up with an outing in search of Red Crossbills with national authority on winter finches, Matt Young of New York, formerly of Cornell…and we find some!

RIP Snowy Owl, Evening Grosbeak research & a Woodpecker with three toes – Sax-Zim Bog Virtually Live 44 S4E9

Lots of positive and exciting things going on in Sax-Zim Bog! Sparky spends some time with the Evening Grosbeak researchers David and Mallory as they track the birds with satellite transmitters.

We also enjoy one last look at the beautiful white male Snowy Owl that graced Sax-Zim with its presence for a few weeks before being hit and killed by a train.

Sparky interviews young brothers Ari & Asher from Tennessee about their trip, and also runs across Big Year birders Owen & Quentin whom share in a close Black-backed Woodpecker sighting.

And how about some hockey at the Zim Rec rink?

Patriotic Hawk Owl & Feasting Ermine-Sax-Zim February Virtually Live 43: S4E8

Early February in northern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog. Despite being nearly snowless, the birds and wildlife are here in abundance—Ermine darting about and feeding, an unusual red phase Ruffed Grouse doing its balancing act high in the birches, and a one very patriotic Northern Hawk Owl.

Sparky also meets a future “Bog Buddy,” 8-year old Blake.

He also shares the results of the Tiny Bird Art auction 2024.

Three Owls, a Marten, and Steve the Shrike-Virtually Live 42: S4E7

A typical birders’ day in northern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog. Highlights include THREE owl species—Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl, Barred Owl. Also Sparky joins other photographers for a photo shoot with a very personable Pine Marten. He then swings by the Sisu Feeders at the Zabin for some time with the world’s most hyperactive and tolerant Northern Shrike (named Steve). Oh, and Sparky falls through the ice.

Filmed on January 9 & 19, 2024

Sax-Zim Christmas Bird Count & BRRRRdathon 2024 Worlds Coldest! Virtually Live 41: S4E6

Have you ever wanted to virtually experience a Sax-Zim Christmas Bird Count or the BRRRRdathon (Worlds Coldest!)? 

In this episode of Virtually Live from northern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog, Sparky takes us along on the Christmas Bird Count on December 18, 2023 and then on his fat biking BRRRRdathon in Grand Marais, Minnesota. TWELVE teams participated. Results and photos of both events are shared. 

Video highlights include Boreal Chickadee, Long-tailed Ducks, Townsend’s Solitaire, hundreds of Bohemian Waxwings.

Also some Pine Marten footage from Sax-Zim’s Admiral Road feeders.

Short-tailed Weasel in snow, Pine Marten Sax-Zim NEW Boardwalk Virtually Live 40: S4E5 2023

A BROWN Short-tailed Weasel runs through fluffy October snow, while a WHITE Snowshoe Hare huddles down in a brown December landscape. Sparky also spends some time with a Pine Marten, and travels up to Mary Lou’s Feeders to enjoy some Evening Grosbeaks.

Also remiders of the upcoming Tiny Bird Art fundraiser, BRRRRdathon: World’s Coldest Birdathon, 2024 Bog Wild Calendar.

Virtually Live #40: Season 4 Episode 5

Hunting Great Gray Owl only feet away! Sax-Zim Bog Virtually Live 39: S4E4 

Sparky finds some cool things in this episode of Virtually Live from Sax-Zim Bog. Snow Buntings and Pine Siskins have arrived from the north. Then Sparky runs across a bizarre sight…A Muskrat is chasing a Wood Duck around a Beaver pond!. Later a Great Gray Owl flies over Sparky’s van and into the bog so he puts on his rubber boots and goes in after the owl. Amazingly he finds it and plops down in the Sphagnum moss to enjoy the show. Eventually the Great Grey comes within 30 feet or so and plunges into the moss for a vole. Wow! Birding and bird photography in Sax-Zim Bog in October.

Also remiders of the upcoming Tiny Bird Art fundraiser, BRRRRdathon: World’s Coldest Birdathon, 2024 Bog Wild Calendar, and Wrap up of Bog BioBlitz XI in Sax-Zim.

October 16, 2023

Warbler-palooza! How many warblers can we FILM in Sax-Zim? Virtually Live 38: S4 E3

Sparky tries to find and film as many breeding warbler species as he can in northern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog. June 21, 2023. Highlights include Connecticut Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Northern Parula and 14 other warbler species!

Sparky also shares about the upcoming Bog BioBlitz XI in Sax-Zim.

Encounter with a “CoyWolf” Great Grays in Summer? Virtually Live 37 S4E2

In Virtually Live 37 S4E2 Sparky shares findings and updates from the Sax-Zim Bog. We join him and Clinton on several Warbler Wednesday & Songbird Saturday field trips. And we find out the results of the First Greater Sax-Zim Bog Big Week!

Wildlife highlights include a huge boar Black Bear, CoyWolf, Cliff Swallows gathering mud, hunting Great Gray, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Flicker nest, dust-bathing Grouse and a variety of warblers.

Have Spring birds arrived in Sax-Zim Bog? Virtually Live 36 S4E1

Sparky makes two visits (April 21 and April 26) to find out. Highlights include a huge flock of ducks, a late Rough-legged Hawk, 8 species of ducks, Sandhill Cranes. We look for a Canada Jay nest, listen to overhead displaying Snipe and walk the Bob Russell Bogwalk. Sparky also shares about the Sax-Zim Bog connection to a new book about Dutchman Arjan Dwarshuis’s World Big Year record in 2016.

Plus, we find out about the new boardwalk and trail planned for Sax-Zim in 2023.

More at www.saxzim.org

Will we finally start to SOLVE THE PUZZLE as to where our winter HAWK OWLS come from? Virtually Live 35 S3E10

In this episode of Virtually Live we celebrate with UMD Biology grad student Hannah Tuotonghi as she finally is able to put a satellite transmitter on an elusive Sax-Zim Hawk Owl! We also check in with David Yeany III (Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program) and Matt Young (Finch Research Network) about their Road to Recovery Evening Grosbeak research project. David shares some very cool maps from the banded birds.

Sparky guides Bog Buddies, Warren Woessner and Iris Freeman on an eventful half day trip…Highlights include dancing Sharp-tailed Grouse, a rare Hoary Redpoll and a sleeping Barred Owl that wakes up and starts to hunt.

Spruce Grouse have returned to Sax-Zim and Sparky searches for them along Sax Road. And later he bushwacks in to a bog to search for a Canada Jay nest.

zWe stop by the Welcome Center where some “junior” naturalists are enjoying the Evening Grosbeaks, and listen in on Head Naturalist Clinton’s Minnesota Master Naturalist class. Sparky also enjoys a hike at the peaceful Fringed Gentian Bog and Auggie’s Bogwalk.

Sparky answers your questions…

“How do I get my photos in the Calendar?”

“What Research Projects are you funding?”

More at www.saxzim.org

Wolf Encounter! Sax-Zim Bog in February; Winter Finches; Birding; Virtually Live 34 S3E9

Wolves are not uncommon in Sax-Zim…but to see one is a very special event! In this episode Sparky runs across a semi-cooperative Timber Wolf. Plus we hike down Gray Jay Way to meet a Snowshoe Hare, find some Red Crossbills, meet volunteer Jim and find THREE signs of spring in early February. And Sparky shares the results of the Tiny Bird Art auction.

World’s Coldest Birdathon–Sax-Zim Bog XC Skiing Virtually Live 33 S3E8

Join Sparky in Grand Marais on the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog BRRRRdathon-World’s Coldest Birdathon. Long-tailed Ducks, Bohemian Waxwings.

We also answer some of your questions about Sax-Zim Bog including “Why aren’t there more owls this winter?”

And we cross-country ski on the only ski trails in the Sax-Zim Bog.

Sax-Zim Christmas Bird Count 2022: Three Great Gray Owls-one hunting; Virtually Live 32 S3E7

On a very cold December 19th day, a dozen intrepid birders go forth and find 35 species of birds in the Sax-Zim Christmas Bird Count 15-mile diameter circle. Winter finches were the heroes of the day, but a late afternoon Great Gray Owl (the third of the day) silently searched for voles as Sparky filmed the hunt.

Winter finches have arrived in the Sax-Zim Bog! Evening Grosbeaks are abundant with lesser amounts of Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls. Sparky goes on an early winter jaunt in the snowy Sax-Zim Bog in search of winter birds. A junco is an unexpected find at the Sisu feeders at the Zabin. We also stop by the Welcome Center and find a Pileated Woodpecker feasting on a deer rib cage. A flock of Bohemian Waxwings make a cameo along Nichols Lake Road. Sparky also shares details about the upcoming Tiny Bird Art online auction AND the BRRRRdathon-World’s Coldest Birdathon. Come on along!

Late Fall Sax-Zim Bog Red Fox Close Encounter: Virtually Live 30 S3E5

Early November in Sax-Zim Bog; Snow Buntings, Northern Shrike, and a close encounter with a Red Fox!

Updates on our 2023 Bog Wild calendar, Lois King Education Center Dedication & Open House, and Give to the Max Day.

Give to the Max Day is Thursday November 17

And Meet Starflower Bog! Our new 120 acre parcel named for our only heptandric flower species.

Early Fall Birding Sax-Zim Bog Virtually Live 29: S3E4 September 13 2022

Join Friends of Sax-Zim Bog founder and executive director, Sparky Stensaas, on an early fall birding trip in Sax-Zim. He stumbles upon a huge warbler and vireo wave including Philadelphia and Blue-headed vireos, Nashville, Palm, Black-throated Green and Golden-winged warblers. A very cooperative Sedge Wren along Sax Road allows for some close looks. 

Sparky also updates us on the new Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center addition. This is the Lois King Education Center and will be a place of learning for school groups, workshops, talks, and bioblitzes. The Open House will be Saturday October 22 from Noon to 3pm.

And we flashback to see the very cool highlights of our August Bog BioBlitz X. The 11 field trips turned up 681 species including some great finds! Thanks to all our volunteer experts who led these forays!

Warblers R’ Us! 18 species Sax-Zim Bog: Early June Northern Minnesota: Virtually Live 28 S3 E3

Warblers, warblers and more warblers! 18 species June 1-2 in Sax-Zim Bog. Ten  species videoed (is that a word) and another 8 species heard/seen. We also enjoy a cooperative LeConte’s Sparrow, find a drumming (!) female Black-backed Woodpecker, and watch in awe as a Great Gray Owl hunts voles close to the road. We also meet Greg from California. Greg is a brand new Bog Buddy and had an amazing trip to Sax-Zim where he saw 8 lifers!

Early May in Sax-Zim Bog: 3,200 acres SAVED? YES! Virtually Live 27 S3 E2: May 4, 2022

Early May in Sax-Zim Bog reveals some signs of spring and a few cool mammals. Sparky has a close up encounter with a pair of charismatic Beaver, and also finds a roadside Snowshoe Hare. A Wilson’s Snipe is discovered wandering around a wetland. Over 40 butterflies are found! All are adult hibernating species (Mourning Cloak, Eastern Comma, Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, Compton Tortoiseshell). Sparky also shares some exciting news…Friends of Sax-Zim Bog has added 3, 200 acres to its Acres for Owls!

VIRTUALLY LIVE 26: Season 3 Episode 1, April 8 2022 Sax-Zim Bog in April: Spring? or Winter?

Sax-Zim Bog in April: Spring? or Winter? Harriers perform “sky dance,” Kestrels mating, Shrike update AND BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Is there life after winter in the Sax-Zim Bog? Sparky goes birding on April 8, 2022 in a very white landscape. 

But there is life! American Kestrels mating, Rough-legged Hawks migrating, a Northern Harrier male doing its “sky dance” courtship. Sparky also finds a late-to-depart Northern Shrike that was banded by researcher Abbie Valine…and we get the update on this bird from her.

AND BIG NEWS! Friends of Sax-Zim Bog is putting an addition on its Welcome Center! This will be the Lois King Education Space, and you can see how you can help…AND get your name on a bird tile by artist Nancy Hausle-Johnson of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Virtually Live 25 S2E10: FIVE OWL SPECIES Mink Bobcat Ermine Wolf 

In this episode of Virtually Live from the Sax-Zim Bog, Sparky Stensaas shares his favorite sightings from the last month, including FIVE SPECIES OF OWLS, MINK, BOBCAT, ERMINE & WOLF! All in the Sax-Zim Bog of northern Minnesota from early February through early March.

Encounters with FIVE different owl species in Sax-Zim are highlighted… An adorable Northern Saw-whet Owl hunts below a feeder; A Great Gray plunges into the snow and pulls up a vole; chickadees help him find a Barred Owl soaking up the sun at Fringed Gentian Bog; a Snowy Owl NOT on a power pole!; and a Northern Hawk Owl returns to the Bog and performs and preens for the camera.

Sparky also shares some ETIQUETTE for watching and enjoying Great Grays without disturbing them.

In additIon, we watch a Mink hunt for fish, see an Ermine in hunting mode and enjoy a Bobcat just sitting there.

We also make a stop at the Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center to see what’s happening there: Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls in slow motion.

And lots more!

Virtually Live 24: S2 E9; Brutally Cold! How do birds survive at MINUS-38F? Sax-Zim Bog Minnesota

HOW DO BIRDS SURVIVE AT MINUS-38F? Sax-Zim Bog Minnesota Virtually Live 24.

On this BRUTALLY COLD episode of Virtually Live Sparky will share some tricks our boreal birds use to not only SURVIVE, but THRIVE in these temperatures. 

He films and shares winter natural history for White-winged Crossbills (3,000 seeds per day!), Common Redpolls (a metabolism trick “down their throat”), Pine Grosbeaks, Sharp-tailed Grouse (warmer in the subnivean world!) and Great Gray Owl (super powers of hearing).

Witness the incredible sounds of spruces “popping” at Minus-38 degrees when the first rays of sun hit them and their cells explode.

Sparky also visits our NEW LITTLE FREE LIBRARY at the Bob Russell Bogwalk at Winterberry Bog and finds some interesting titles!

Virtually Live 23 S2 E8, World’s Coldest Birdathon—BRRRRdathon 12: Over 1000 Bohemian waxwings!

Join Friends of Sax-Zim Bog executive director as he fat bikes around Grand Marais Minnesota competing in the 12th annual BRRRRdathon—World’s Coldest Birdathon. This is an annual competition and fun event to raise money for the non-profit.

Sparky finds over 1000 birds in the Grand Marais harbor including 835 Bohemian waxwings!

Virtually Live 22 S2 E7, Sax-Zim Bog Christmas Bird Count 2021 & Sparky meets his BIGGEST FAN!

Join Sparky, Lori and Dave on the 36th Annual Sax-Zim Bog Christmas Bird Count of December 20, 2021.

You’ll also meet Sparky’s biggest female fan and see (hear?) the “interview” with her.

Northern Shrikes, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Common Redpolls and more.

Centered around a beautiful late October day when the Tamaracks were golden yellow this video gives updates on many topics…

  • This winter’s bird research including Hawk Owls, Evening Grosbeaks and Northern Shrikes.
  • We “find” a “new” SEVEN-MILE long hiking trail along the St. Louis River
  • Outhouse updates, pollinator native garden, electric lawn mower, gratitude gathering, and our bi-annual litter clean up
  • And the first winter finches of the season.

Oh, and of course a tour of the World’s only Outhouse Art Gallery!

Bog BioBlitz 20 in Sax-Zim Bog Virtually Live 20 S2E5July 17 2021

Come along and experience the amazing Bog Diversity of northern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog! It is our NINTH Bog BioBlitz and 9 field trip leaders took folks in the field to discover a wide range of fascinating organisms—fish, aquatic critters, birds, dragonflies, moths, galls, mammals, butterflies, bees, flowers and much more. We tag along on several of the field trips and highlight some of their very cool finds. Please join us for the TENTH Bog BioBlitz in 2022!

Kestrel chick banding in Sax-Zim Bog Virtually Live 19 S2E4 June 29 2021

Have you ever peeked inside a Kestrel nest box? We check in on our American Kestrel box program with head bander Frank Nicoletti. Then we go band some chicks with Frank, Sarah and Hannah. Also get an update on this weekend’s upcoming Bog BioBlitz IX. And Sparky runs into a couple birders with whom he has a connection with. Plus some unique grassland birds including a bit about this summer’s Dickcissel irruption.

“Warblers & Warren” in Sax-Zim Bog Virtually Live 18 S2E3 May 28 2021

Even 25 degree temps in late May couldn’t put a damper on the breeding warblers of Sax-Zim Bog. Sparky sees Canada’s, Magnolias, Ovenbirds, Blackburnians, Nashvilles, Black-and-whites and several other warbler species. 

On May 28 he goes birding with Warren Woessner and Iris Freeman who made our boardwalk at the Warren Nelson Bog possible. They tell you about a warbler that we didn’t see, but heard very well…the premiere warbler of Sax-Zim.

We also eavesdrop on one of Head Naturalist Clinton’s school field trips, learn about an upcoming pollinator garden expansion, do some chores around the Welcome Center and tally the final numbers from our NINE Warbler Wednesday/Saturday field trips, including photos of the most rare species found on those excursions.

Virtually Live 17: May Birding in Sax-Zim: S2E2 May 8 2021

Sparky takes you along on an “early” spring birding trip in northeastern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog. Only 25 degrees at the start, but the good birds warm things up…stunning male Black-and-white Warbler, lingering Evening Grosbeaks, Yellow Warbler, cooperative Merlin, and a very unexpected Great Gray Owl.

We also check in on the highlights from the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog “Things that Go Buzz, Croak, Hoot & Bump in the Night” field trip (can you say “cooperative Great Gray”!). Also a cacophony of frogs (4 species), displaying Snipe and more.

And we see how we discovered a $500 bill and a blond woman’s wig in the Bog. What?!!

You never know what surprises might accompany an episode of Virtually Live!

Sponsored by Friends of Sax-Zim Bog

NEW SEASON OF VIRTUALLY LIVE FROM SAX-ZIM BOG! Virtually Live 16: Sax-Zim Bog in early Spring: Birding—S2E1 April 2021

Birding in the Sax-Zim Bog in April can often mean birding in snow…and we had snow on both mornings of shooting…April 14 & 19….but the birds are returning! In Virtually Live 16 (Season 2, Episode 1)  we search for Sandhill Cranes in the hopes of capturing video of them performing their courtship dance. Sparky finds a cooperative and cute Porcupine along Nichols Lake Road, Ring-necked Ducks on Nichols Lake, and he shares some very cool sightings from this past winter and early April—Great Gray Owl, Porcupine, River Otter, Mink.

Virtually Live 15 Polar Vortex & The Wolf: Birding Sax-Zim Bog Feb 2021

Put another log on the fire and enjoy this bitterly cool “Polar Vortex” episode of Virtually Live from Sax-Zim Bog!

Filmed over several days including the morning of February 11 with a record cold Minus-46F start to the day. Yikes! How do our boreal birds survive this brutal weather? Sparky shares some physiological tricks our feathered fluffballs employ.

Then we flashback to warmer days and snowshoe with Sparky in Yellow-bellied Bog where he discovers an avian excavation. He then flashesback within the flashback to tell the tale of his wolf encounter in the woods.

We also visit the Welcome Center, Admiral Road feeders, Auggie’s Bogwalk at Fringed Gentian to see what birds and mammals are out and about in the below zero temps. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Cameos by Boreal Chickadees, Pine Grosbeaks, Northern Hawk Owl, Evening Grosbeak, redpolls and even an Ermine.

We know that not everybody can make the trip to Sax-Zim Bog. It is a remote place in a vast country. But these “Virtually Live” birding/nature videos allow the viewer to experience the birds and wildlife of this precious area. Join Executive Director and Founder Sparky Stensaas on these adventures in the field! Ready? Let’s go birding in the Sax-Zim Bog!

Virtually Live 14 BRRRRdathon 2021 Moose! Birding & Wildlife Photography Grand Marais Minnesota

The BRRRRdathon—World’s Coldest Birdathon episode of Virtually Live. This week we are birding in Grand Marais, Minnesota on Lake Superior just south of the Canadian Border. Sparky is participating in the Wintergreen non-motorized division. We go along with his fat bike birding. But he takes an early morning detour inland into the Superior National Forest where he finds an amorous bull and cow Moose! During the BRRRRdathon we see Long-tailed Ducks, White-winged Crossbills and more. Find out who won this year’s event.

Virtually Live 13 Christmas Bird Count Sax-Zim Bog: Great Gray Owl, Fisher, Short-eared Owl Dec 2020

Sparky’s 35th year as compiler of the Sax-Zim Christmas Bird Count turns out to be a record-breaker despite teams having to social distance. 13 hardy participants brave -10 below zero F windchills to turn up 39 species!

We also find a species NEVER recorded on the count before (revealed in the video). And Sparky finds several owls and gets some crazy cool images of a Great Gray Owl plummeting and pouncing on suspected vole victims.

We find Boreal Chickadees, accidentally film some Black-billed Magpies at the “Bison Farm,” make a visit to Loretta’s grosbeak-rich feeders and have a yummy lunch at the Wilbert Cafe.

Sparky also shares some exciting recent sightings of a Fisher chasing Snowshoe Hare and a Short-eared Owl on Stone Lake Road.

(The Sax-Zim Christmas Bird Count is not affiliated with Friends of Sax-Zim Bog)

Thanks to all CBC Participants: Bill Tefft, Lori Williams, Frank Nicoletti, Abbie Valine, Dave David Benson, Lars Benson, John Ellis, Sparky Stensaas, Sarah Beaster, Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus, Kristina Dexter-Nienhaus, Tony Anthony Hertzel, Tommy Hertzel

Virtually Live 12 Give to the Max Day episode: November 17, 2020

A frosty cold morning in Sax-Zim Bog turns up a few goodies…including a dawn Ruffed Grouse, a flock of Pine Grosbeaks (away from a feeder!), a Black-billed Magpie on a deer carcass and cooperative Rough-legged Hawk. We hike Auggie’s Bogwalk at Fringed Gentian and find an unexpected critter! Sparky also shares what your donation on today’s Give to the Max Day campaign goes to.


Snowy day in Sax-Zim Bog; October 24 2020

A rare (for Minnesota) Mountain Bluebird is seen, as well as a very late Palm Warbler. We drop by Mary Lou’s amazing feeders to see if the Evening Grosbeaks are around…and we check out her photo blind. Sparky will also take us to the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog’s newest preserved land…41 acres on the Whiteface River called Wood Thrush Woods. We also take a loop on the newly-completed Bob Russell Bogwalk.


This August 2020 episode explores Northern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog in late summer. Executive Director and Founder of Friends of Sax-Zim Bog, Sparky Stensaas, takes you birding in the “slow” time of year. But a couple cooperative LeConte’s Sparrows in a flower-filled field steal the show. We also stop by Nichols Lake/Lake Nichols and bird the bog stretch of Admiral Road where we find Boreal Chickadees, Palm Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Canada jays and more.

Sparky also shows us the new platform and bench on Gray Jay Way trail north of the Welcome Center. And we go on a kayak journey on the Whiteface River where a pair of shy River Otters briefly make an appearance. Stunning emerald green and black Ebony Jewelwing damselflies perch along the riverbank.


Join Sparky in his Bog BioBlitz VIII exploration in the Sax-Zim Bog! Not just birds in this episode. We find some exotic insects, wildflowers and other exciting finds.


This is the “triathlon” edition of Virtually Live. Sparky kayaks, fat bikes and even walks a little in the Sax-Zim Bog during this June 2nd episode. We begin the field trip by kayaking from Stone Lake to East Stone Lake and find one of our latest migrants, the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (amongst many other cool finds), then fat bike to the Whiteface River and discover some unique birds and flowers in the floodplain forest on a parcel that we are in the process of purchasing. A cooperative Mourning Warbler rounds out our adventure.


It’s the Virtually Live edition of Waffles & Warblers! Except Sparky has Grape Nuts for breakfast instead. Twelve species of colorful warblers are found in the Sax-Zim Bog…and all are on breeding territory. Golden-winged Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Mourning Warbler, and more. Plus Bobolink heaven along Arkola Road. And Sparky makes an announcement about a new video series. Will this be the last Virtually Live birding field trip? Stay tuned!


Join Sparky Stensaas on a virtual birding field trip to the Sax-Zim Bog. Highlights include a hunting Great Gray Owl, a dirt-eating Porcupine, breeding White-winged Crossbills, juvenile Canada jays and 10 species of warblers including Magnolia, Northern Waterthrush, Black and white Warbler, tour of the new MOTUS tower and more. Sponsored by Friends of Sax-Zim Bog


In this week’s installment of Virtually Live in Sax-Zim Bog, Sparky takes us on a fly-over of the little-explored Blue Dasher Bog where he searches for Trumpeter Swans. We also bird Stone Lake Road and Zim Road. Great looks at a gorgeous drake Blue-winged Teal, singing Yellow-rumped Warbler, flapping Sandhill Crane, nest-building Trumpeter Swans and more. Three FOY (first-of-year) species are found including two iconic Sax-Zim Bog breeding birds…LeConte’s Sparrow and Sedge Wren.


The day started out promising with sunny skies, calm winds and a very cooperative drake Wood Duck, and then it gets even better with some RARE BIRDS for Sax-Zim: the Meadowlark of the prairies, a sparrow not normally found in northeast Minnesota, a surprising warbler on territory, and a pair of grassland-loving shorebirds (Thanks to FOSZB Head Naturalist Clinton and his eagle-eyed wife Kristina!). A very FAT and cooperative “quill pig” is the “Superstar Mammal of the Day,” but what will be the Superstar Bird? Stick around for the surprise procreative ending to Sparky’s Virtually Live field trip!


Join Executive Director Sparky Stensaas on a 5 hour birding, photography, video tour in northeastern Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog. We visit Nichols Lake, the Warren Woessner Bog Boardwalk, Admiral Road willow flats and the Welcome Center. Wild Turkeys in full display, slow motion video of Wilson’s Snipe doing their aerial courtship display, Porcupine eating willow catkins.


Our second Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Virtually Live birding field trip. April 21, 2020. On this outing Sparky Stensaas nearly drives right by a Great Gray Owl, finds cooperative pairs of Sandhill Cranes, photographs late Snow Buntings and Northern Shrikes and more. We wind our way around the Sax-Zim Bog from 6:20 am to 11:15 am with stops at Stone Lake, Sax Road, St. Louis River, Arkola and more. Superstar bird of the day is ????


Birding the Bog April 14, 2020