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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 Owl Aegolius funereus: As we approached Minneapolis on our northward drive we got a call (thanks Mike for calling and Jim for finding it!) about a Boreal Owl that was roosting in a Lilac bush in a residential area of Two Harbors, on the North Shore about 30 miles northwest of Duluth. The right foot got heavier after this point, and we made it to Two Harbors at about 3.20pm and enjoyed our life looks at this lovely owl for about an hour. No other Boreal Owls were found (alive) in Minnesota during the remainder of our trip...: