Tuesday, August 11, 2009

June 19 - Sax and Zim
We met Kim in Floodwood, MN before heading to the Sax/Zim roads; primarily dirt roads through farm lands, outstanding grasslands, and prime tamarack spruce forest.

Our first Mourning Warbler delighted all. The day included much searching for Great Gray Owl (none allowing a visit) and short hikes into bogs and long the dirt roads. Olive-sided Flycatcher, Lincoln's Sparrow, Boreal Chickadee, Palm Warbler, Alder Flycatcher, a spectacularly plumaged Blue-headed Vireo, and the impressive wildflowers and plants all made for a fabulous north woods experience.

Oh...and I forgot to mention the close encounters with Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Leconte's Sparrow, Sedge Wren, and more.

Kim was an unequalled source of information on the local plants, geology, history, and of course bird ecology. We vowed to keep in touch.

June 18 - Minnesota Forests

Just got airborne before the weather arrived on our way from Houghton Lake, MI to Grand Rapids, MN (forgot the Magnolia Warbler at breakfast!). Nice flight with a stop in Rhinelander, MN for refueling. Horned Lark and Savanna Sparrows graced the tarmac.
Arrived in Grand Rapids and checked into the very nice Timberlake Lodge and were joined for lunch by John and Doug.

Headed off after to meet-up with Kim Risen, clearly one of MN's top two birders. He showed us a Connecticut Warbler in the first hour of birding near Savanna Portage State Park.

The afternoon included many warblers and superb habitat for Great Gray Owl along a road I had visited on the 2005 MN/ND trip.

We stopped at Minnesota National Golf Club for dinner before heading out for an attempt at Yellow Rail. Lightning and heavy rain ended any chances at seeing the bird. The King Air spent the night in the hanger to stay out of the way of any hail.