A group of thirteen individuals from Lawrence, Kansas City, and St Louis areas visited northern Minnesota between June 15th and June 18th. After traveling most of Saturday the group had a short walk at Hawk Ridge to see the terrain and get a look at Lake Superior. Not many birds were seen in the late afternoon heat and the trail required hiking boots and let us know we weren’t on flat land anymore. We spent Sunday with Clinton Nienhaus, the head naturalist at Sax-Zim Bog, and explored the many different habitats available in this birding hotspot. A trip in June allowed us to focus on nesting birds that we don’t see in Kansas and Missouri or only see in migration.
The many highlights from this overcast day include Sharp-tailed Grouse, Black-backed Woodpeckers, LeConte’s Sparrows, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Canada Jay, Bobolinks, Blue-headed Vireos, Common Raven, Veery, and many Warblers! Connecticut Warblers were heard only and were one of only a few species that didn’t offer looks in the open to everyone. https://saxzim.org/ Clinton is an amazing trip leader, naturalist, and educator that comes highly recommended as a guide for any group visiting the area. Reach out to him and see if he is available for your visit! A group of us stayed quite close to the Bog and visited the area at dusk and had fleeting looks at a Great Gray Owl and supper visits from a male Evening Grosbeak at an Airbnb.
Monday included many couple hour drives to find specialty species spread out across northern Minnesota. We started the day early with a hike at Oberg Mountain and found many singing Black-throated Blue Warblers among others.
After lunch, we drove to Cook Minnesota where Spruce Grouse and Black-backed Woodpeckers highlighted a short section of a dirt road where the many species were only seen or heard by a couple of people in the group. Yellow Rails started to call at McGregor Marsh around dusk. Along the way, we donated blood to the robust MN mosquito population. Overall we ended with 108 species including 3 Grouse species (Sharp-tailed, Ruffed, and Spruce) and 20 species of Warblers. Photos by Steve Johnson, Micky Louis, and Malcolm Gold.