11-30-07 Website Update
Made some major changes to the site, mostly behind-the-scenes. It will make it much easier for me to add photos. There are also more pages under the 'Other' tab, and a new Index to make looking up birds simple.
3-10-07 Central Minnesota
I couldn't resist making one more winter pass through Sax-Zim Bog. It was a beautiful day,  very warm & sunny. I drove up Highway 169 again, this time via Sherburne NWR. Highlights:

* Trumpeter Swans in Sherburne NWR
* Rough-Legged Hawk in Aitkin County Hwys 169 & 68
* Flock of tame Pine Grosbeaks north of Aitkin, just off Hwy 169 on 435th Lane. Glad I decided to turn there for a pit-stop! There were about 12, all female & pished to within a couple of feet of me. Pics are on my home page.
* I got skunked on Blue Spruce Rd. Couldn't find any of the cool birds that had been sighted there lately. But I did run into a Striped Skunk! Recent St Louis county trips have yielded some neat animals (Moose, Porcupine.)
* Gray Jays on Admiral Rd (Hwy 788.) Two groups of three birds... that seems to be a trend in the Sax-Zim Bog. I parked when I saw the first 3. After flying past a few times, they warmed up to me & gave me my second great photo-op of the day.
* Juvenile Bald-Eagle was eating on the road & took off, gliding over the road in front of me for a minute & then swooping up to a Pine Tree. Saw 5 Eagles today.
Overall, 19 different species, 5 new 2007 birds, but no lifers. Added 2 more year birds on  3-11 on a couple loops through Sherburne County. There were several large flocks of American  Tree Sparrows as well as Ring-Necked Pheasants in several locations & plenty of Horned Larks singing  very nicely.
3-3-07 Mountain Lake
I started the day driving by the house in Minnetonka hosting a Red-Phase Eastern Screech Owl.  Nothing was going on there, apparently the Owl wasn't even there at that time. Feeling spontaneous  as I often do, I decided to attempt to see the famous Green-Tailed Towhee that has been wintering  in Mountain Lake. I could have picked a much better day as the roads to that city were still in very  bad shape following 2 massive snowstorms in the past week & a half. But I plodded on, very slowly  and the trip to Cottonwood County took about 3 1/2 hours. The directions provided on the MOU are excellent  and I found the house & feeder very easily. There was plenty of activity at the feeder, with House Sparrows,  Blue Jays, American Goldfinches, White-Breasted & Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Chickadees, Juncos,  a Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal & an entertaining Red-Breasted Woodpecker. But the Towhee was  nowhere in sight. After an hour of waiting patiently, I was starting to get impatient, hopefully this  wouldn't be another Varied Thrush or Gyrfalcon failure. Then I saw a different looking bird hopping around  with a group of House Sparrows. It was gone quickly & pictures I took were too grainy to confirm.  Then it appeared under the feeder in clear daylight, noticeably larger than the sparrows & through my camera the bright  red crown & green colored features were easily seen. I watched the bird for another half hour, most of the time  it was perched in a bush near the feeder, occasionaly coming out to feed & was still there when I left.  Since I had never birded Southern Minnesota before, this trip yielded 25 new Records for Cottonwood,  Watonwan, Steele, Nicollet & Waseca Counties. The last bird I saw was a possible Golden Eagle just north  of Mankato on Highway 169. Would have been a lifer for me & for that reason I'm holding off positively identifying it.
2-21-07 Golden Valley
Stopped at Glenwood Ave & Idaho Ave N in Golden Valley this morning to see the Carolina Wrens. They were active  at 10:20, one feeding under & on the feeder with a pair of Northern Cardinals. There was another in the tree  chattering. I didn't have time to stick around & get good pictures but I got a few from a distance I should  be able to post soon.
2-17-07 Highland Park
Stopped by Edgcumbe & Eleanor in St Paul again. The Varied Thrush hadn't been seen since the previous day.  Things looked promising until a Sharp-Shinned Hawk quickly dispersed the House Sparrows. Apparently the  Sharp-Shinners have been hunting right from the residence's porch, and had caught a Cardinal the night before.
2-17-07 Highland Park, Dakota County
Stopped by Edgcumbe & Eleanor in St Paul to try to see the Varied Thrush that has been feeding there.  I got there just in time to miss it & left just in time to miss it. Did see the first Red-Breasted Nuthatch  of the Year though. I headed down to 170th Street in Dakota County & waited along side a huge flock of Canada Geese.  After about an hour the entire flock took off at once. While an incredible sight, I would have preferred seeing the Gyr!  LESSON LEARNED: Get there later! Most sightings occur in the 3:00p-4:00p range!
2-10-07 Sax-Zim, Hedbom Part II
I got an early start this time. Got to Hedbom Logging Trail by 9:30am. Saw many flocks of birds that were gone too quick to identify.  Of the bird's I did identify I found:
* Common Redpolls (lifer bird)
* Pine Siskins (lifer bird)
* Northern Shrike
Encountered a Woodpecker in flight just outside the West gate of the trail, lost site of it so I couldn't identify, but looked different than ones I have seen.  I also saw several foxes. There weren't any good birds in Sax-Zim, but when I turned the corner from Correction Line Road to Owl Ave,  I found a Porcupine in a tree close to the road. Find pics of that & others now on the Latest Pics page.
2-3-07 Nothing Much in Sax-Zim, Hedbom
I was in Zimmerman & decided at the last minute to go up to Sax-Zim via Hwy 169 and cut across some new territory for me.  I didn't see many birds (apart from Ravens at nearly every turn in St Louis County) and I'm sure it's due to the fact that I got such a late start,  entering Sax-Zim area at about 2:00p & Hedbom Trail at about 4:30p (after getting sidetracked several times.)

Aitkin County - Common Raven
St Louis County - Common Raven (15+)
St Louis County - Sharp-Tailed Grouse (SW of Meadowlands, a welcome Life Bird on such a slow day.)
St Louis County - Pileated Woodpecker

I didn't see a single bird along Hedbom Logging Trail (the Pileated was just outside of it.)  I did however encounter a very cold Moose on the trail.
1-27-07 Another Dakota County Miss
No Gyrfalcon spotted this morning along 180th Street between Donelly & Emery in Dakota County.  There was almost continuous Goose / Duck landings the 1/2 hour I was there, but no elusive Gyr flyover.  I didn't see any birds up close in the area, with high winds blowing light snow almost horizontal.  Hopefully, one of these days I'll have enough time to sit on 180th Street for a couple hours, giving me a much better chance to site this Raptor.
1-20-07 Dakota County / Airport
Drove the area of 180th St & Emery in Dakota county for about an hour this morning.  I didn't see the popular Gyrfalcon wintering in the area.  I did see a Male Kestrel with the brightest red crown that I've ever seen (see pics on Raptors Page.)  Also saw a couple Horned Larks & a Male Ring-Necked Pheasant.  On the way home I also missed the Snowy Owl at the airport.  I did, however, get to see my first Snowy Owl on the 21st. There had been one admitted to The Raptor Center clinic, where I volunteer on Sundays.

All photos taken using a Canon EOS 30D
with a Canon 75-300mm Zoom
All Photos Copyright 2006/2007 Jason Bolish