Hi all,

I've just returned from a successful trip north and promised a couple of
people I'd send a report. Before giving that I'll just add another plea
that folks going in that direction please, please respect the locals'
privacy and space. We met nothing but nice people and I'd like to see them
benefit from our invasion as much as we're benefiting from the owls'
invasion. I saw a request on the Minnesota list that even if they(locals)
have feeders up, you don't sit staring at their homes. The feeders are for
their enjoyment, not everyone elses. At least ask, or better, find a
likely spot and wait and listen for the finches away from their homes.
<stepping off soapbox>-

First our route: From I35 north we jumped on route 33 north to route 53.
We missed the turn onto 47 west, so took Route 133 west to 7. North on 7
through the now famous Sax and Zim to Forbes. East on 16 through the
forest to Hwy 2 south. From there down to Two Harbors and back to Duluth.

WOW! Any day with a lifer is a good day right? So if 1 Great gray is an
amazing thing to see, 46 in a day must be spectacular. Once in the right
habitat, the owls were best described as everywhere. Hotspots were the Sax-
Zim area, but the stretch of Hwy 16 provided some great views of numerous
owls and little traffic. We also had several Great-grays between
Gooseberry Falls (North of Two Harbors) and Duluth. N. Hawk owls (6) were
seen in the Sax-Zim area. We probably missed far more than we saw. Other
goodies included over 100 Common redpolls, numerous Pine grosbeaks, a
small flock of Evening grosbeaks, a half dozen or so Northern shrikes,
ravens… At Two Harbors, out by the lighthouse, we picked up a couple of
Harlequin ducks, and down along the bridges in Duluth we had a single
female Long-tailed duck among the golden-eyes. Also in Two Harbors, I saw
a distant large flock of what I believe to have been Bohemian waxwings,
but we couldn’t relocate them for a closer look. By the way there were at
least two GGOW’s hanging out in the lighthouse area of Two Harbors.

We stayed at a little place in Duluth… I don’t recall the name of it at
the moment. We checked three places in town and prices ranged from around
$40-60 or so. Better might be found.

I’m going to cut it short at that. If anyone has questions, contact me
([log in to unmask]) and I’ll be happy to give you any information I can.
This was an informal trip among friends and not planned out far in
advance. If you’ve never seen these birds, this is the year. One of our
group found a book suggesting that the largest recorded invasion of Great-
grays was around 170-175 birds. I’ve heard that they are tracking around
500 this year. This is as easy as it gets.

Shane Pruett
Columbia, MO

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