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MINNESOTA February 2013

Sheridan Coffey and I made a last-minute decision to try to cash in on the "northern owl" invasion in the area around Duluth, Minnesota in the winter of 2012/2013. We chose to rent a 4WD in San Antonio and drive up! it was much cheaper than flying, but took two days in each direction to do the drive. We drove north on February 23, arriving in the Duluth area on February 24, and departed February 28, arriving home on March 01. We were very lucky with the weather, dodging storms in Kansas and Iowa just before our northbound trip, during our time in the Duluth area, and soon after our return drive! The weather in the Duluth area for our three-plus-a-bit days of birding was also excellent, being mostly calm, sunny and "warm" (mostly 19 - 37 degrees F; one early morning near Ely got down to -3). I must mention the local birders, who to a man/woman were friendly and very helpful with information - thanks guys! Here are photos of some of the birds we enjoyed:

Boreal Chickadee Poecile hudsonicus: Our first full day was spent at Sax-Zim Bog, mostly looking for Hawk Owls, but in-between we hit the various feeders scattered throughout the area, and in particular the one on Admiral Road since this was THE spot to see Boreal Chickadee - and we were not disappointed! This first day we saw a minimum of two individuals among the large numbers of Black-capped Chickadees, while on the last day we saw only one individual at a time (but they could have been different birds). The intervals between visits by Boreals varied significantly, and you may have to wait quite a time before they sneak in at the suet feeders (almost never seen taking seed - ?):