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I just returned from a brief weekend fling in Minnesota to search for the previously missed Boreal Owl and Hoary Redpoll from my Christmas trip.  Both on Friday were reported as being found at a consistent location for several days.  I found the owl, but I am not sure about the Redpoll.  I saw one that showed some characteristics of the Hoary among the flock of commons, but I had my National Geographic with me and did not see enough features listed there to call it a Hoary.  Now that I am home I have looked at my Sibley's and the bird that caught my attention much more resembles the Hoary than the Common.
 
Since so many MO birders this year made the trip to Minnesota or in the past had seen Hoarys, could you tell me (or the list) what you saw that me you say "That is Hoary Redpoll" Vs the Commons they were probably with.  When you saw it, did it stand out from the commons or were the differences very subtle?  My bird looked a little whiter than the others, had finer streaks on the side, a pink on the breast that seemed pale compared to a few others, and had a lighter rump.
 
On another note, it has been reported that the Sax-Zim bog area is not a good place to have car trouble as it is far from help.  I learned this first hand as my rental car failed (broken ignition) right in the middle of the bog.  Fortunately I was within cell phone range and got help, but it took 9 hours for the rental company to bring another car.  With only a day and half on this trip available to bird, losing an entire day to car trouble sure did smart.  At least the locals I met during my hour hour stay at the local diner were very friendly.
 
Also watched a car in front of me going 75 mph on the interstate hit black ice and lose control.  Despite bouncing on the guard rail and smashing up their car they were unhurt.  Just a reminder though that if anyone is still going up there watch the roads.  North of there it was snowing but in this area the road looked fine.
 
Did not get much birding done but sure was an interesting trip.
 
Thanks,
Steve Griffaw
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St Charles  

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