Minnesota - June, 2013
We entered Wyoming on the 26th of May and our first stop was at the spectacular Grand Teton National Park. From our CaWe entered Wyoming on the 26th of May and our first stop was at the spectacular Grand Teton National Park. From our Campground outside of Jackson we captured these looks of Black-billed Magpies and the abundant Yellow-rumped Warblers.mpground outside of Jackson we captured these looks of Black-billed Magpies and the abundant Yellow-rumped Warblers.
From our Campground outside of Jackson we captured these looks of Black-billed Magpies and the abundant Yellow-rumped Warblers.
Next up… Minnesota and the Great Lakes.
Our first stop was Itaska State Park beginning the 25th of June. While filling up with water at the dump station a bird suddenly caught my eye out the window. It turned out to be this cooperative Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
It’s a lifer!
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From the park the next day we went on a wonderful tour boat cruise of Itaska Lake. This Northern Parula saw us off near the dock.
Once on the water we saw Green Heron, Bald Eagles, and got some great looks of Common Loons.
On a wildlife loop in Itaska Park we viewed First-of-Year Hooded Mergansers, Veery, and Chestnut-sided Warblers, as well as getting great looks at a Ruffed Grouse with Chick.
This Eastern Phoebe was in disguise “Moustachioed-by-Dragonfly”
From our next stop at Schroeder, Minnesota on June 30th I ventured on a road trip all the way to the end of the Gunflint Trail in very northern Minnesota. On the trip I saw several nice birds including several Broad-winged Hawks and some skiddish Purple Finches.
Deborah and I then went on a great hike around Oberg Mountain on July 4th. Along the way we saw "FOY" Cerulian Warblers and a Black-backed Woodpecker. We also met several curious Ovenbirds.
As suggested by Russell Cannings our next stop was called Sax Zim Bog.
I love that name!
We arrived there late the afternoon of July 5th and parked in the location of the future visitor center so we could get an early start the next morning. White-throated Sparrows were abundant but the early stars were lifer Swamp Sparrows followed shortly by another lifer... a Black-billed Cukoo!
But we weren’t done yet. .. Sedge Wrens were calling along the road edges and finally showed for a 3rd lifer of the day.
Despite the early excitement the “biggest” target bird of the day was a Great Gray Owl. We cruised all around the bog seeing several other birds including Alder Flycatcher as well as a surprise Brown Thrasher… but alas, after several hours still no GGOW.
Tired and heading back to the rig I decided to focus hard into the woods all the way back. Miles went by… then suddenly I spied a large shape at about eye level 20-30’ in. Deborah stopped quickly then slowly backed up and… there it was, in all its majesty! A huge handsome Great Gray Owl. I crept out of the car and was able to capture several images including this one (now my screen saver) of it eyeballing me closely.
Wow! What a finale to a truly awesome day. It was the 4th lifer of the morning and because we had to work so hard for this wonderful bird it was the birding highlight of the year!
We left Minnesota with a total of 464 birds seen on our 2 year adventure with 15 lifers for 2013.
Great Gray Owl