Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Second Annual Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival

What a terrific weekend! Deb and I both took Friday off so I stopped by her house in the early afternoon. I got to have a tour of her new house and let me tell you, it's simply amazing. You can see that lots of thought went into every aspect of the design and lay-out. Ruthie and I stopped to see Deb last year after the festival when the house was still empty but now with their wonderful antique pieces and the wood stove in the center, it looks like a family home. I even got to meet Deb's husband the Hermit. Their yellow lab Sally is just a doll. I could have rubbed her ears forever but it was time to hit the road again. We made it to Meadowlands and got our registration packets. Once again, Mike Hendrickson the man behind the festival was there to greet us. I need to congratulate Mike on another hugely successful festival. In total there were 155 birders from 22 states and one man who came all the way from Australia to experience the Sax-Zim Bog. We had mostly sunny skies and high temps in the low twenties, great trip leaders, wonderful dinners and outstanding evening presentations. Friday night brought Larry Weber, a retired high school science teacher who talked about life outdoors during Minnesota's winters. He had a beautiful slide presentation ( 35 mm slides- not a power point!!) illustrating the diversity of tracks and other evidence of the presence of life. Larry's enthusiasm was contagious. He sat with Deb and I for dinner and I especially enjoyed our conversation about Bernd Heinrich- one of my favorite nature writers.
Deb and I boarded our bus Saturday morning at 630AM for our day-long trip through the Bog. I had a personal bird wish list of three: Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay and Sharp-tailed Grouse. I also wanted to get a better look at Hoary Redpolls. I saw a few in the Bog last year but I wasn't comfortable that I'd be able to pick one out of a flock of Commons. We did see a few throughout the day but I got my best look at the Admiral road feeding station. There was a Redpoll feeding frenzy going on but one of our guides pointed out this Hoary Redpoll perched a little away from the crowd.

An overall frosty appearance.
Beautiful.


I was able to follow it to the ground and watched as it fed with the rest. These are very cautious and jumpy little birds. The Hoary is in the top right of this picture.

Here, on the left you can see how little streaking there is and also how much finer it is. The rump is white on the Hoary, streaked on the Common. TINY, stubbier bill on the Hoary.

White under tail coverts, while the Common has streaked.

It was overcast when I took these pictures so the lighting isn't perfect, but my memory of this Hoary Redpoll is clear. You can bet that the next time I get up to Hasty I'll be watching the Redpoll flock with a keener eye, looking for the "frosty" one in the crowd.






26 comments:

Shellmo said...

I'm so glad you posted these 2 birdies together and explained the differences! Glad you had a great time w/ your friend Deb!

Linda in Erie said...

OH! What wonderful photos of the redpolls. I just read in our local sightings of a Hoary Redpoll and I never heard of it before and now you have gorgeous photos for me to see them. That is a beautiful bird! How fun to have a weekend to spend like that.

The Early Birder said...

Didn't you have a great time and the pics of Hoary Redpoll are FAB. Over here we know them as 'Arctic' & I have only ever had a very brief view of a single bird in Norfolk one winter a few years ago(a rarity tick for me).

Bird Girl said...

You sure had a great time - and getting to see the Hoary up close - that picture is so beautiful - such a bright spot in all that drab background - WOW!!! LOVE that bird!

mon@rch said...

Redpolls are a big WOW . . . and sounds like the Festival was a blast! Wish I could have been there!

dAwN said...

Very cool photos.. it was so nice to see and compare the birds...
thanks...I have never seen either bird.

Deb said...

Awww...Sally says thanks for the kind words! :)

I have been scanning my redpoll flocks here for Hoarys, now that I know what they look like. I may have seen one. And last night I heard a barred owl calling. Cool.

Richard said...

Thanks for the pictures....I can go back to looking again. Think I may have seen one but only once on the day I didn't take my camera out with me. Someday I'll learn.

Ruth said...

We have many, many Common Redpolls here and I have wondered if there were any Hoary RPs among them. Your pictures are great and really show the difference between the two birds.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

THat Hoary Redpoll is gorgeous.
BLessings,Ruth

Owlman said...

Wonderful shots Lynne, congrats!

Susan Gets Native said...

They DO look frosty! And sweet.
You could serve 'em on crackers.

Jayne said...

So glad to hear it was such a great time Lynne, and such a great post which really shows the differences in the Redpolls. :c)

RuthieJ said...

Oh Lynne, I'm glad you and Deb had such a good time. I can't wait to see more pictures and hear more stories!

NCmountainwoman said...

Great information and wonderful photographs. I'm so glad you all had a good time.

Marsha said...

Great shots and thanks for the tips on identifying the hoarys with the commons. Seeing both together and your narrative will make me watch my feeders much more closely now.

troutbirder said...

The Hoary Redpoll's are really neat. I had my first common at my feeders last week so seeing his cousin will in my sights for next year.

Larry said...

Nice detail with the Hoary.-The expert birders in CT are always contemplating if there is a Hoary mixed in with the commons-(they would be fairly rare to see in CT).You showed a nice comparison between the two that I can remember if I come across any redpolls-(hopefully soon).

Kelly said...

...enjoyed learning about the Hoary Redpolls and seeing the photos. We have a few Common Redpolls that have dropped down to Cincy, but have heard nothing of the Hoarys (very pretty).

Mary C said...

I guess I'll have to visit the far north in order to see redpolls, both common and hoary. They sure are cute. I'm sure glad you had such a great time. I'm looking forward to hearing more.

ivars krafts said...

GREAT photos Lynne! I haven't sorted throughout the redpoll shots I took Friday, but I'm not optimistic. Thank you also for the description of the event; I hope there will be more pictures.

Kathiesbirds said...

Guess I'll have to come next year because I want to see a hoary redpoll! What a sweetheart!

Floridacracker said...

Beautiful pics of a bird I never see!

Mary said...

Linne, that frosty Hoary is a keeper! Just beautiful.

You had a wonderful time, for sure. You really know your birds, girl.

Corey said...

Love the pics of the Hoary Redpolls, and your descriptions of the field marks are very helpful!

Leedra said...

I was glad to have the demo of the difference, just because I had heard some on other blogs, but had not really understand the differences. You pointed them out so well. Now, just if I could see either one of them. Love the first photo.

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