February 2: Duluth Audubon field trip to the Sax-Zim Bog

Below zero temperatures tried to put the kibosh on Duluth Audubon’s annual Sax-Zim Bog field trip. The temperature in double digits below zero kept our bus from starting. While things were still in flux, we had a quick but delicious and hot breakfast at Perkins, and then decided to carpool. That was fun! I rode with a lovely couple named Charlie and Diana, with another fun birder, Elsa, along in our car as well. Elsa picked out our first bird of the day! Not quite a real one, but even an owl decoy can be fun to see.

First bird of day!
Our first bird of the day! Elsa spotted this owl. We didn’t even mind that it was fake.

The real birds we had in the bog were splendid! We started out at the community center, wandered up toward Owl Avenue and the large feeding station Sparky Stensaas and the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog set up. It’s become a great stop!! From there we worked up to the Admiral Road feeders, then back to the Community Center, on to the Little Whiteface Road feeders and the Blue Spruce feeders, and home. What a great day! No owls, but the temperature warmed from -19 degrees to a right balmy +10, and we had plenty of other birds:

  1. Ruffed Grouse
  2. Bald Eagle
  3. Rough-legged Hawk (people in some cars saw)
  4. Red-tailed Hawk (one along Highway 53 on the way home–I don’t know if people in other cars saw this one)
  5. Downy Woodpecker
  6. Hairy Woodpecker
  7. Northern Shrike (not everyone got a good look at this one)
  8. Gray Jay (Great looks for everyone! There were five at the Admiral Road feeders!)
  9. Blue Jay (two were all fluffed up and looking rather unhappy first thing this morning)
  10. Black-billed Magpie (this would have been my first sighting of the year if only I’d seen them! But some people got a quick but very nice look.)
  11. American Crow
  12. Common Raven
  13. Black-capped Chickadee
  14. Boreal Chickadee (two at the Admiral Road feeders)
  15. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  16. White-breasted Nuthatch (only at the Blue Spruce feeders)
  17. Brown Creeper (one in the trees and on the ground near the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog feeders)
  18. European Starling 
  19. Pine Grosbeak
  20. Common Redpoll
  21. Hoary Redpoll (ALL of my photos of these didn’t turn out! But we had great looks at three different feeding stations)
  22. American Goldfinch (at least one with the House Sparrows and redpolls in the trees across the street from the Community Center)
  23. Evening Grosbeak (the only place we saw these was first thing in the morning, in trees across the street from the Community Center)
  24. House Sparrow (Our hopes of a “clean count” were destroyed first thing in the morning at the Community Center)
Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse feed on aspen buds in winter. If you look carefully, you’ll see the little grippers on its toes–they help when branches are icy!
Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker feeding on a deer’s ribcage at what I call “Sparky’s feeding station” on Owl Avenue.
Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker at suet.
Gray Jay
Gray Jay! There were at least 5 visiting the Admiral Road feeders.
Gray Jay
Gray Jays look like chickadees on steroids.
Boreal Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee at the Admiral Road feeders
Boreal Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch–a pretty male
Brown Creeper
This Brown Creeper was feeding in this tree and on the ground at the Owl Avenue feeding station.
Red Squirrel
I love red squirrels!

One thought on “February 2: Duluth Audubon field trip to the Sax-Zim Bog

  1. Sherrie {Bird Lady}

    Your pictures are exquisite Laura! I can appreciate the decoy owl sighting, as one day I was so excited to see an owl perched along the roadway and then another… and another… by the 3rd one, I’m thinking something is up. Sure enough, they were decoys with decoy nests even to dismay the Red-tailed Hawks from nesting on the electric poles in the area along the river.

    ~ Sherrie (Bird Lady)



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