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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:

Hoary Redpoll Acanthis hornemanni: the feeders scattered throughout the Sax-Zim Bog area drew in scores of redpolls, and we spent quite a bit of time scouring through them in the hope of finding "good" Hoary Redpolls. Here are some candidates for Hoary:




D): - this bird was first seen in the tree, then followed down to the feeder:


F): - the front-left bird:

- in the next two photos it is center-left facing away with part of its rump visible:

- in this image it is center-left in the back (with both feet off the ground!), showing its uppertail coverts: