Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Sax Zim Bog Birding Festival

Hello Friends! I wasn't sure if I remembered how to put a post together with photos, it's been a while. I've been reading all of your blogs and occasionally commenting, but it's taken a bit to find the energy to write a post. But now I have something to tell you all that I'm really excited about. I'm signed up for a birding festival in northern Minnesota in February. It's the Sax Zim Bog Birding Festival. This is its first year for a formal festival and it sounds terrific. The dates are February 14-16. I'm especially excited that Ruthie, the Nature Knitter will be driving up here from Rochester to the Twin Cities to pick me up and we'll be carpooling on up to Duluth. There will be two evening programs that sound wonderful. One of the speakers is Laura Erickson, an ornithologist and a gifted birder from here in Minnesota. I had the honor of meeting her last January when I went on a birding trip with the Duluth Audubon group. I'll be bringing along my copies of the books that she has written 101 Ways to Help Birds and For the Birds: An Uncommon Guide (Appointment With Nature) - I'd love to have them signed.

I'll be hoping to see another Great Gray Owl. This is one of the many GGO's I was fortunate to see in northern Minnesota during the irruption winter in 2004/2005. I wrote about it in this post Great Gray Owls for Susan. I wrote it trying to entice her and Laura up here to the frozen northland to see these amazing birds.

Maybe we'll be lucky and see another Northern Hawk Owl like this one biting the head off a vole.

I might wish to see another Snowy Owl, but even if I don't, seeing this one last winter in Duluth was pure magic.

The other evening speaker is Dave Benson, a naturalist and writer from Duluth who is the author of a new book Owls of the North: a Naturalist's Handbook. The book looks great and I hope to buy it there.

Here's the brochure description of the field trip Ruthie and I have signed up for:

Sax-Zim Bog/Duluth Harbor Area: We will meet in the parking lot at 6:00 a.m. to get organized and leave by 6:30 a.m. We will start the day by looking for Great Gray Owls at dawn and then concentrate on Sharp-tailed Grouse, Northern Hawk Owl, American Three-toed & Black-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Shrike, Boreal Chickadee, Red & White-winged Crossbills, Common & Hoary Redpolls, Evening & Pine Grosbeaks, Snow Bunting and other winter bird residents. After lunch we will head down to the Duluth harbor to look for some possibilities like Harlequin Duck, Gyrfalcon, Thayer’s Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, and Snowy Owl. If there is time look for Bohemian Waxwings.

I'll be happy with any or all of these birds listed. I'd like to add a Gray Jay to the list. As many times as I've been Up North in the winter, I've never seen a Gray Jay.

Any of the rest of you want to come up? I'll pick you up at the airport and provide trasportation to the winter wonderland of northern Minnesota!

Will there be life birds that you won't find anywhere else? YES!!!

Will it be fun? YES!!! (maybe even too much fun!)

Will it be cold? Well, OK, it will be cold- but- you CAN handle it! I'll even provide the hand warmers and hot drinks. And cookies. And banana bread- I make really good banana bread with and without mini-chocolate chips.
I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Hendrickson who worked very hard with the people of the Sax Zim Bog area to get this festival up and running.


MojoMan said...

It's so good to see you posting again. I certainly understand how the wind can get knocked out of the blogging sails.

Your trip sounds wonderful, if cold! There's something exciting and mysterious about these birds dropping in from the far north. I hope you have a great time and get to enjoy some good company. You deserve it.

Linda @ Erie's Argonaut said...

OH, it's great to have you back blogging! That sounds like such a fun time and I wish I could come. But we will be coming up to the twin cities this summer for my husband's work conference and then take a several days of vacation and will go on up to see Mil Lacs Lake and Duluth. I hope birding is still good in the summer up there.

Lynne said...

Mojoman- Thanks, it was hard getting out of the flatness. I hope it's mostly done. I've been to the Bog area in winter a few times, but it's great to be going with Ruthie and some terrific guides.

Linda- It's great you're coming to Minnesota! Be sure to wave when you drive from Mille Lacs to Duluth. Hasty Brook is just north of Cromwell (west of Cloquet) so if you drive across on Hwy 210...
If you have any free time for birding, call me!

mon@rch said...

So glad to see you posting again and you start off throwing Great Grays and Hawk Owls! Such stunning birds and both would be lifers for me!

Mary said...

Yay! I'd love to be there with you and Ruthie. What a grand time you will have. I remember when you saw your first Snowy Owl and you cried :o)

Glad you are back, Linne. May was missing you...

Susan Gets Native said...

Argggghhh. You are tempting me, girl.
Minnesota in February. I don't know if I own a coat warm enough.

Lynne said...

Mon@rch- come on to Minnesota for those lifers!

May- I did cry when I saw that snowy. It was my magic bird. I missed you too.

Susan- COME ON!!! You don't need a 50 pound coat- it's all about layers! :)

Jayne said...

So sweet to see you back Lynne. :c) Sounds like a wonderful festival indeed!

RuthieJ said...

Wow, Lynne, it's going to be a great trip! If I wasn't already signed up, you know I would after reading your post. I hope to see Bohemian waxwings, pine & evening grosbeaks, boreal chickadee, red crossbill, and three-toed woodpecker.

Hey, my spousal unit might even let me "borrow" his SUV....that holds 5 people plus plenty of gear and the essential *winter survival* food and I'm really good at getting to the MSP airport too!

So who's with us???

Anonymous said...

You are back, our internet wasn't working yesterday so I didn't find your blog 'til this morning and I do check everyday. The good part of the internet not working was now that's back on it so much faster even if we do have DSL.
Your trip with Ruthie J sounds so exciting, hope you both enjoy it have lot's of fun, maybe just maybe you can get Deb to go to, even for just a day. I'll be the mouse in the corner [TEE HEE].
Prayers are still coming your way I sincerely hope you can feel them.
Ruthie J shared your note to her with me.
Nature Knitter's Mom [Betty K]

Patrick Belardo said...

I visited Minnesota in 2005 for the owls and it was an amazing experience. It's one of the most spontaneous trips I've ever planned. I'm sure you'll have an awesome time at the festival.

Note: I don't recall seeing a Gray Jay there either!

Deb said...

You're convincing me, Lynne! I think it would be a blast birding with you and RuthieJ, and I've always wanted to see a boreal chickadee. I have NO idea what my life or schedule will be like by then, hopefully back to normal, but maybe it's time to be proactive and make plans. :)

NatureWoman said...

Well hello Lynne! It's so nice to see you posting again, and that you're excited about this festival. I've heard that MN in the winter is actually not as bad here, because it is drier there.

LauraHinNJ said...

Oh Lynne - those owls!!!

I wanna go!

dguzman said...

Oh man.... I think we might all have to go! Magee Marsh trip, I just realized, is on Kat's birthday, so I can't go! (I feel a little like Guliani breaking up with his wife via press conference, as I'm hoping to inform Susan Gets Native and Laura H and Mary F of the fact that Magee is off for me now.) Anyway--brrrrr, but holy crap, all those owls and stuff!

Flock and potential Flockers--what do you think? This sounds awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hey Lynne!! Welcome to the world of blogging, Thanks so much for posting about the Sax Zim Festival. Last night we had another meeting in Meadowlands and the mayor, a sweet elderly woman, informed me she bought street banners with birds on them. They will go up after Christmas. She told me waaayy back in spring when I first presented the festival to them that she always wanted to afford new banners for the street lights and now she has them!

Its little things like this that warms my heart. This festival means so much to these people.

Also I remember the Snowy Owl and your tears. I remember how you thanked me several times for spotting this owl. Again that is why I bird and why I love guiding people! Its not about the money but its about seeing people get excited!!

Merry Christmas!

Mike H.

Lynne said...

Jayne- It DOES feel good to be back!

Ruthie- I would love a Bohemian Waxwing and Red Crossbill too! Do you think we can get others to come? We might need a bus!

Betty- I do love you for your support and prayers. It means the world to me. I sure hope I can come to Rochester to bird with Ruth AND to meet you! You are a dear heart.

Patrick- That was an awesome year here. Come on back!

Deb- COME ON!! Take the plunge!

Pam- Minnesota winters aren't really THAT bad. Really! You should come and check us out.

LauraH- COME ON!!! You know you really need those owls! And you really need that new owl book and a chance to meet the author too.

Delia- COME ON!! This promises to be a FABULOUS festival with wonderful speakers and trip leaders and LIFERS that you won't find anywhere else! Put the screws to the rest!

Mike- Thanks, it's nice to be back to blogging. I still get goose bumps thinking about that snowy owl. It was THE bird I'd wanted to see since I was a little kid. Can't wait to see the banners! Merry Christmas to you too Mike.

Owlman said...

Welcome back from a new comer. I have noticed that MANY bird bloggers are from MN, wassup with that? WOW, your owl shots are awesome! I would LOVE to see a Hawk owl, primarily because it's such an unusual bird - much like the Pel's fishing owl that I would also love to see. Truth be told - I am honored to see any owl. Sounds like an awesome trip. Keep blogging and GO PACKERS!

Lynne said...

Owlman- Welcome! It really IS an honor to see any owl. I love them too. Now, about the Packers....


I'll try to not hold it against you.

Owlman said...

Lynne I have two sets of numbers for you to match: 11-2 & 7-6. These numbers are the win and loss records for the Packers and Vikings for the 2007 season. Hint: The 11-2 record is held by the team with Mr. Brett Favre a.k.a Mr. Incredible! By the way sorry about the 34-0 blow out, all of us Packers feel terrible.... Seriously though, I feel love for all NFL fans, especially those who are not doing as well as the Packers ;-)

This NFL moment was brought to you by [Insert sponsor name here].

birdchick said...

Hi Lynne,

Welcome back.

I wish I could see all you guys there, but I'm already booked at another festival.

Sounds like it will be a last chance to Laura Erickson in MN for awhile with her cool new job.

Lynne said...

Owlman- OK, so maybe the stats weigh in the Packers' favor, and the blowout game- that smarted, but each game also stands alone for the championship and the Vikings have been playing AWESOME football since the Pack knocked them down. (Maybe Green Bay did them a favor). How in the world did you wind up a Packer fan?

Sharon- Thanks- it's nice to be welcomed back to blogland. Too bad you're booked that weekend. I think it will be terrific. Aren't you thrilled for Laura? It's nice to see something good come her way.

Owlman said...

That's so funny Lynne I was telling a Cowboys' fan the same thing the other day. The loss against the Cowboys will only make us stronger. I guess the playoffs will tell...

Lynee: How in the world did you wind up a Packer fan?

As a new settler [legal ;-)] in '99 I looked around the league and I was initially drawn to the Packers because they have the same colors as the South African national rugby team (Springboks). After watching a few of their games I admired their style of play and more specifically Favre's love of the game. I read up on him and admired him even more. Anyway, as they say the rest is history. The last few seasons have been tough to be a Packers fan, so I am enjoying the moments in the sun. I think this season is a just reward for Brett who has given a lot to the sport.

Susan Gets Native said...

I wanna go! But I don't think I can save approx $1000 for a trip to the Frozen North!
Crap! Crap, I say!

*now taking donations to the "Send Susan to See Some Silly Birds Fund"*

Lynne said...

Susan- You can do it for WAAYYY less than $1000. Check on-line but I'm sure Cinci to Mpls would be lots cheaper than that.

NatureWoman said...

Tag, you're it Lynne!

Laurie said...

That sounds wonderful! I know you will have a fantastic time.

Q said...

Dear Lynne,
I am so thrilled you have a birding adventure to look forward to! Owls! WOW! Whenever I see an owl I am awed.
You did see some wonderful ones too. Great photos!
The holidays may be a bit rough this year for you and your loved ones. Know I am sending blessings. So happy you have birds to bring joy to you.

Susan Gets Native said...

Ah, but it's not just the flight. It's the hotel...the car...

Larry said...

I would love to get that kind of look at owls some day.It is so rare that I actually get to see them.