Thursday
Mar132014

Grand Day for a Grand Opening!

Saturday March 8th could not have been a better day....The weather was glorious and the turnout for the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center Grand Opening was impressive, with over 200 folks attending. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves with much mingling, socializing, drinking (cider!), eating, birding, oohing and aaahing (at the cool building and beautiful bird tiles and amazing photos).

L-R: Heather-Marie Bloom (Welcome Center host), Kate Nicoletti (Board Member), Sarah Beaster (Development Director), Sparky Stensaas (Executive Director), Dave Steininger (Board Member), Lori Williams (Board Member), Kim Eckert (founding Board Member), Frank Nicoletti (Welcome Center host), Ben Yokel (Board Member). Not pictured: Dave Benson (Board Chair).

Sparky cuts the "ribbon" (scarves) with his loppers (the loppers he used to cut down about a thousand aspen saplings from the building site!)

Inside of the new Welcome Center. Note the Tamarack tongue-and-groove interior wood. This will be a seasonal winter building open from mid December to mid March (when all the birders/photographers visit).

Erin Shae from Silicon Energy warming up. We are buying our solar panels from them. Made in Minnesota! The entire building will be off-the-grid.

White Pine timbers from the ecologically responsible Raajala Lumber in Deer River, MN.

Troy, area forester for St. Louis County, visits with Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Board Members.

Bird tiles made by Alaska artist Nancy Hausle-Johnson for supporters who donated $400 or more during the building campaign. All species are specialties of the Sax-Zim Bog. Donors who gave $100-399 will be listed on a plaque on the main bird tile mural.

Even with all the people around, several Pine Grosbeaks, two Gray Jays and a lone White-winged Crossbill made an appearance at the Welcome Center.


A photo exhibit of Sax-Zim Bog flora and fauna from 21 different photographers was printed on a ten-foot long banner for all to enjoy. The images highlight the amazing biodiversity of the Bog. Bog Wild! will be on display in the Welcome Center next winter for all to enjoy.

Weather was perfect with temps in the 20s, calm and sunny.

Diane Millard shows her very cool Cardinal mitts.

Snowshoe hikes into the Bog were enjoyed by many. Deep snow (very deep snow!) kept us all to the trails. Gray Jays escorted us.

Hot cider, coffee and many delicious snacks kept everyone warm and happy.

This is only the beginning! This summer we will be completing the deluxe outhouse/shed combo, and putting the solar panels in place. We also hope to establish more hiking/snowshoeing trails and eventually a bog boardwalk. School groups are coming out this fall to learn about the bog's natural history. We are also buying more land. Stay tuned!

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

Tuesday
Nov192013

2014 BRRRRDathon/Photothon Registration open!

2014 BRRRRDathon/Photothon

November 19, 2013—Winter birds have arrived in the North Woods of Minnesota & Wisconsin—Northern Hawk Owl, Snow Bunting, Northern Shrike  and Rough-legged Hawk. Can winter be far behind? Time to prepare for the 2014 Friends of Sax-Zim Bog BRRRRDathon (Fri-Sat. Jan. 10-11, 2014) & Photothon (Dec 28-Jan. 8).

The Brrrrdathon is the coldest birdathon in the world! (at least that’s how we’re marketing it). It will take place in the coldest month of the year, in one of the coldest places in the Lower 48...northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

This is the 4th Annual event. Details here.  Teams of one to five members will scour the hinterlands (and urban wilds?) of the northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin (NOT JUST SAX-ZIM!) to see who can find the most bird species.

The two-day Brrrrdathon is the BIG EVENT...with the greatest prestige for the winning team. A one-day event is for those who can only go out on Saturday (and those with frostbite issues ).

We are also offering a PHOTOTHON…Your Best 10-image Bird Portfolio from the event days (all photos must be taken in the event "playing field") will be judged by a panel.

Winners will get their names memorialized on Gary the Granite Great Gray sculpture...and will be able to get their photo taken with Gary too! We will also have a slough of prizes...Including a pair of Eagle Optics Ranger ED binoculars...a $500 value!

**BRRRRDathon: Friday & Saturday January 10-11th, 2014    

**Photothon: Sat. Dec. 28 through Wed. January 8th, 2014

—Registration is $25 and includes a gift and a one-year membership

—Each participant will have their own web page Click here to register. 

—Now allowing 1-person teams in all events

—We are highly encouraging participants to get pledges per species

—Photothon Now a full 12 days! HOW MUCH?

—ALL EVENTS ARE $25 per person.

HOW to REGISTER?— Click here to register. All you have to do is register online and set up your own personal BRRRRDathon/PHotothon web page. Then set your BRRRRDathon/Photothon Goal (e.g. "I am hoping to see 35 species of birds during the 2-day BRRRRDathon") Now simply email, tweet or alert your facebook friends of your goals and link to your birdathon web page. Painless fundraising! You don't have to collect checks or cash. Your backers will just donate online or send a check to Friends after the event. Donations can be made either on a per-species basis or as a lump sum. Remember, this is a fundraiser for land purchase and ongoing operations of Friends of Sax-Zim Bog.

WHERE?—The “playing field” is all of NW Wisconsin and NE Minnesota...Not just Sax-Zim Bog! Teams will have to strategize to find the most species. They’ll have to coordinate searches for gulls in Duluth or Superior or Ashland...or decide where to look for boreal species...Sax-Zim or Aitkin County or ???...Maybe a jaunt to Lake County to search for Spruce Grouse... or chase reported rarities. Much strategizing needs to be done! See map here

CATEGORIES

Two-day Event: One to five members (all day Friday and Saturday)

One-day Event: One to five members (all day Friday OR Saturday)

Winter Green Event: One to five members (all day Friday OR Saturday) Non-motorized... Walk, snowshoe, ski, horseback...Must be in one continuous trip...You cannot walk then drive to a new spot and walk. But you can make limited use of a bus in an urban area.

Photothon: Best 10 Bird jpeg Portfolio of images taken Sat. Dec. 28 thru Wed. Jan. 8, 2014 IN CONTEST AREA (Individual only)

COMPILATION & AWARDS: Saturday Jan. 11th 5:30-7pm at Hartley Nature Center in Duluth (3001 Woodland Avenue, Duluth, phone: 218.724.6735). Awards, compilation and stories! BRRRRDathon

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: January 9, 2014 Photothon

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: January 4, 2014 Event details here

Wednesday
Jul242013

Big Half Year for the Bog Wrap-Up

FINALLY! ...a gorgeous day for an event planned and scheduled by Sparky! Sunny skies, warm temps. About 20 Big Half Year participants and supporters gathered at Jay Cooke State Park for a pot luck picnic and to share stories of their own Big Half Years. We also had a drawing for the prizes donated by our business sponsors [Eagle Optics, Duluth Pack, Epicurian, Loll, Kollath-Stensaas Publishing]

The 6-month event raised over $6,600 for Friends of Sax-Zim Bog! This is even more amazing in that we only had about 16 active participants.

Here are the TOP FUNDRAISERS (Pledges as of 7-23-13):

Kim Eckert $1,171.50

Elizabeth Closmore $950.00

Sharon Stiteler $711.00

Sparky Stensaas $633.00

Erik Bruhnke $595.00

Mike Hendrickson $591.00

Dave Benson $431.00

Jessica Dexter $365.00

Shawn Conrad $350.75

Lars Benson $286.00

Annemarie Geniusz & Stephen Bockhold $204.00

Grill Masters! L to R: Dave Steininger, Annemarie Geniusz, Stephen Bockhold

Jessica and Kristine Dexter....Both participated in the Big Half Year. The sisters are originally from Twig, MN and have recently discovered the wonders of the Bog.

Big Half Year picnic at Jay Cooke State Park...Good food, good Friends, good stories.

A HUGE THANKS TO ALL OUR PRIZE SPONSORS! Please visit their websites
Eagle Optics   www.eagleoptics.com
Duluth Pack   www.duluthpack.com
Epicurian   www.epicuriancs.com
Loll   www.lolldesigns.com
Kollath-Stensaas Publishing   www.kollathstensaas.com
Stone Ridge Press

Pam Benson is excited about her Epicurian Minnesota Cutting Board (actually her son's name was drawn—Lars Benson—but don't tell him...Mom's gonna keep it!)

Sarah Beaster put together a kids lesson on bird beak adaptations using household food and utensils. The kids had to match the type of 'beak' with the food it would be best suited to grab (e.g. pliers for hard nuts...tongs for gummy worms etc.) L to R: Grace Beaster, Birk Stensaas, Emelyn Beaster, Camilla Beaster.
The Big Winner! Jessica Dexter won the Eagle Optics 8x42 ED Ranger binoculars...a $500 value! Thanks Eagle Optics!

PRIZE DRAWING

Grand Prize: Eagle Optics 8x42 Ranger ED binoculars ($500 value)—Jessica Dexter

2nd Grand Prize: Duluth Pack Binocular Case ($125 value)—Sharon Stiteler

3rd Grand Prize: Epicurian Cutting Board ($35 value)—Elizabeth Closmore

4th Prize: Epicurian Minnesota Cutting Board ($25 value)—Lars Benson

5th Prize: Loll Modern Bird House ($79 value)—Kari Meyer

6th Prize: Epicurian Coaster Set ($25 value)—Shawn Conrad

7th Prize: Set of 3 Kollath-Stensaas Publishing North Woods Naturalist field guides ($57 value)—Mike Hendrickson

8th Prize: Set of 2 Kollath-Stensaas Publishing North Woods Naturalist field guides ($38 value)—Erik Bruhnke

9th Prize: Owls of the North by Dave Benson. Stone Ridge Press ($17 value)—Annemarie Geniusz & Stephen Bockhold

 

 

PARTICIPANTS TELL THEIR BIG HALF YEAR STORIES...

DAVE BENSON

I am doing my BHYFTB in the Mixed Laurentian Forest. One of my sons said, " So, you're going for the coveted Mixed Laurentian Forest Big Half Year record!" It's always fun to have a "birding game" going, and the BRRRRDathon and Hawk Ridge Birdathons both helped me rack up the species for this longer game.

It was a great owl winter (for birders, that is), and along with several owls, I had most of the Duluth winter birds by the end of January. Then we had April, the snowiest month in Duluth history. It made it hard to get around, and I spent a lot of time shoveling snow. The migration period, at least for non-neotropical migrants, was compressed. As a result, I missed a number of ducks and shorebirds on their way through. So, while I did see a Slaty-backed Gull in January and a King Eider in February, I still have no Green-winged Teal or Greater Yellowlegs!

The rest of the spring migration made up for April. We had several foggy fallouts at Park Point in May. The first few years we were in Duluth, this happened every spring, but in recent years, springs have been sunny and warm, and the migrants have sailed past at night on their way to Canada.

One of the best fallouts this spring was on May 19th, the day of the Hawk Ridge Birdathon. This was my 25th consecutive birdathon, and it ended up being one of the best. After looking at the weather on Friday night, my team members (Lars Benson and John Ellis) and I almost decided to sleep in—rain, rain, rain. We did get up, but we jettisoned our tried-and-true route and headed to the Bog first. That turned out to be a good move (no rain when we were there), as did returning to Duluth before a very thick fog enveloped the city. We ended up with 167 species, many of which also were new birds for the BHYFTB.

As usually seems to be the case, work really hampered my birding, but I did get out here-and-there in May. Some highlights included a Piping Plover, a Red Knot, a Connecticut Warbler in the fog, and Whimbrels (I tried twice for the Wilson's Plover found on Minnesota Point, was bridged by the Aerial Lift Bridge twice, and twice arrived to find other birders who had watched it fly into the distance.) I did have luck with the Lazuli Bunting coming to a feeder in Duluth on June 6th--a MN lifer, St. Louis County lifer, and an unexpected bird for the BHYFTB. I have had a few productive forays south of here in search of breeding birds too.

As of late June, I am at 252 species. Thanks to those of you who pledged support to the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog,

SHAWN CONRAD

My Big Half Year was entirely within Itasca County and I hoped to find many of the species on foot or by bicycle--but Itasca is a big county!  My goal was VERY ambitious...to find at least 200 species in the county between January 1st and June 30th!  After 10 years of intensive birding here, my previous best for that date range was 196 species in 2009 and I've exceeded 190 species by June 30th three times, so I went for a personal record. 

I found many of these species while surveying as a volunteer for the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas, so the birding benefited a second conservation objective simultaneously. 

I exceeded my goal on May 21st and ended day at 203 species. I managed to smash my previous records and tallied 223 species. Thanks!

[Shawn’s  exceptional species included—Boreal Chickadee, Varied Thrush, Hoary Redpoll, Eurasian Collared-Dove, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Boreal Owl, Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Spruce Grouse, Eared Grebe, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Whimbrel, Blue Grosbeak(!)—Sparky]

 

ERIK BRUHNKE

This year's Big Half-Year was the first half-year I've ever done, and it was an awesome time. Duluth's spring was rough on the birds migrating north, and many birds were seen later than usual. 

Throughout the spring and summer months, I led trips and spoke at four birding festivals; including The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival (Ohio), the Horicon Marsh Birding Festival (Wisconsin), the Detroit Lakes Birding Festival (Minnesota) and the Potholes and Prairies Birding Festival (North Dakota). Each of these festivals were located in considerably different habitat found throughout the upper Midwest. From seeing 24 species of warblers in a single hour at the Biggest Week in American Birding, to witnessing Sprague's Pipits, Baird's Sparrows, a colony of nesting Western Grebes (and so much more) in North Dakota, these festivals helped my big half-year's totals. 

By the end of June, my big half-year list hit 276 species.  Regular visits to the amazing Sax-Zim Bog hosted great views of boreal-breeding warblers, Great Gray Owls, Black-billed Cuckoos and more! In mid-spring I found a family of Gray Jays with a young, sooty-colored juvenile along with them. 

One of the most memorable highlights was earlier on in early spring, when I stumbled upon 83 Red-necked Grebes just up the North Shore from Duluth. 

Birding for a good cause is thrilling, and it's fun to go on an adventure like this, knowing that having fun is helping out a beautiful place such as Sax-Zim Bog. 

Good birding,

 

ANNEMARIE GENIUSZ/STEPHEN BOCKHOLD

We have completed our Big 1/14th Year!….Big 1/14 Year since we only counted birds we saw on Tuesdays!  

We spent our Big Half Year birding where ever we happened to be on Tuesday. This included the Sax Zim Bog, Roseau area, Duluth, S.E. Wisconsin, Memphis, Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Sedona, AZ, Volcano National Park and O'ahu, Hawaii. We ended the season with 208 species! A few bird highlights were: 

White-Tailed Tropicbird—Flying over the lava fields of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Mexican Whip-poor-will—Calling in the darkness of morning in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona.

Black Tern—Flying over Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

White-face Ibis—Hunting the water's edge in Sedona's sewage ponds. 

Various sparrow & warbler fallouts- Week after week after week!

Great Gray Owls—Large number of them hunting the farm fields of Roseau, Minnesota.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker—Drumming on a friend's metal roofed woodshed for most of the spring.

Common Loon—Hundreds of them on Lake Superior on a tuesday!

Wild Turkey—After seeing a flock of around 80 near Cedarburg, WI on every day except tuesday... Very happy to finally see 2 on a tuesday in June there! Finally!

Great Horned Owl—Waking us up on a tuesday morning, calling somewhere near our house.

Red-winged Blackbird—Aggressively chasing our car away from his territory in the Bog.

 

MIKE HENDRICKSON

St. Louis County total of 183 species (goal was 170 species) 

 

JESSICA DEXTER

Welcome to my Big Half Year!  I grew up outside of Duluth, about 30 miles from Sax-Zim Bog.  Although I only discovered it a few months ago, the Bog has really captivated me.  I am really excited to do anything I can to help Friends of Sax-Zim Bog protect and promote this magical place.  

My biggest personal goal for my Big Half Year was to become a better birder, and a better naturalist generally.  I have watched birds my whole life, but only really seriously started birding with my sister last fall (Kristina’s did the Big Half Year, too!). Now I am hopelessly hooked, and very much looking forward to building skills I’ve always wanted to learn!

I live in Chicago, so most of my birding will happen in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota.  I also picked up a few birds incidentally during work trips to Phoenix, Louisville, St. Louis and Portland.

I am especially enthralled by owls and got to see a Great Gray Owl at Sax-Zim. 

I ended up surpassing my goal and finished with 178 species.

 

ELIZABETH CLOSMORE

It was love at first sight. During February of 2011 on a MOU sponsored trip with Eric Bruhnke, guide extraordinaire, we saw or heard everything! No one even asked about a port-a-potty and we birded into the dusk after 8 hours in biting cold. Then a year later with Sparky Stensaas , another fantastic guide, we saw more than we hoped for but were treated to purple port-a-potties at a favored bird feeding station.  I jumped at the opportunity to raise funds for a modest visitor center to highlight the bog’s natural wonders.

My Big Half Year was restricted to all the birds I could see on foot or by ski from my door in Hugo, MN. The habitat is varied - many swamps, good sized ponds, fields, and mature woods. I was astonished to see 144 species!  Bonapart’s Gulls, Redheads, Winter Wren, Least Bittern, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and so many warblers delighted me. Migration was spectacular- a wave of Hermit Thrushes or Tundra Swans to admire. I could hardly sleep at night dreaming about what I might find the next day. 

As the season progressed I also learned the addresses of my resident birds—where the Yellow throated Vireos or Orchard Orioles lived. With these neighbors, I recognized I had a special address too.

My sponsors surprised me as well! Their generosity and support is more appreciated than they know.  Thank you all!  Come birding with me. Let’s go to THE bog.

 

SHARON STITELER

My goal was to see how many different species of birds I could digiscope between January 1 - June 30, 2013.  I ended up with 188 species from trips that took me to New York, Missouri, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Florida, South Texas and Ohio (and Austria, France, Canada and the Netherlands).

Boreal Owl—Duluth: I don’t often get a chance to celebrate a life bird–especially in Minnesota, but when I do, I do it with 16 year old scotch! What a treat to watch it fly, bob it’s head trying to listen for something small an furry tunneling beneath the fluffy snow, posing in fabulous light, I felt 15 years of searching ease right off my shoulders. 

See my digiscoped favorites here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/birdchick/sets/72157632416316853/

[Especially check out her Wood Pigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet, Tricolored Heron, Piping Plover, Pauraque, and Black Skimmer photos. Sharon is probably one of the only people who’s ever digiscoped a Bay-breasted Warbler too!—Sparky]

 

KIM ECKERT

On behalf of Friends of Sax-Zim, my Big Half-Year goal was a composite total of 450 species, which I considered a reasonable estimate of the number of different birds we hoped to find during the Minnesota Birding Weeks and Weekends (http://mbwbirds.com) scheduled from January through June in 2013.

These MBWs included out-of-state trips this winter to Florida, southern California, and South Texas, plus spring trips to Nebraska's Platte River and Colorado. In addition, there will be a winter MBWeekend in Duluth; spring trips to southwestern Minnesota, Rothsay W.M.A., Felton Prairie, and southeastern Minnesota; and two June weekends in the remote boglands of Koochiching County.

The combined species totals of these 12 MBWs was over 1,400, but our goal and your pledges is based on the number of different species we came up with during this half-year: 460 species, or 10 more than expected. Here is a list of the MBWs which have now been completed, along with a link to a complete summary of each one:

• Duluth MBWeekend (48 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/Duluth_III.html)

• South Florida MBWeek (158 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/Florida.html)

• Southern California MBWeek (197 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/California-Arizona.html)

• South Texas MBWeek (201 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/S_Texas.html)

• SW Minnesota MBWeekend (51 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/Southwestern_Minn.html)

• Platte River MBWeek (90 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/Platte_River.html)

• Colorado Grouse MBWeek (155 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/Colorado.html)

• Rothsay W.M.A. MBWeekend (123 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/Rothsay.html)

• Felton Prairie MBWeekend (128 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/Felton.html)

• SE Minnesota MBWeekend (146 species; see http://mbwbirds.com/Southeastern_Minn.html)

• Itasca-Koochiching MBWeekends I & II (155 species; seehttp://mbwbirds.com/Koochiching.html)

 This represents an overall total of 1,452 species, and, after subtracting the duplicates seen on more than one MBW, our final MBW's Big Half Year total is 460 species.

[Kim’s trips tallied some amazing birds including Mottled Duck, Black Rail, Wandering Tattler, Curlew Sandpiper, Flammulated Owl, Aplomodo Falcon, La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Le Conte’s Thrasher, Crimson-collared Grosbeak—Sparky]

 

LORI WILLIAMS/DAVE STEININGER

Our BIG HALF YEAR was spent  tallying species in two of our favorite places:  our yard at our house in Duluth and  our cabin (Kozy Wildernest) on Little Pequaywan Lake.  We hope to capture between 75 to 100 species.  We cannot guarantee that some of the species may be roosted on the neighbors tree!

The first yard bird of the year was a cardinal...a great bird for Duluth.  (Lori will not let me count the gray squirrel that flies from the tree to alight atop our feeders!).


FRANK BERDAN

187 species statewide. Picked up several good species while on a BirdingPal visit to Sax-Zim in early June with a grad student from North Carolina.  He referred to Sax-Zim as "world famous."

 

SPARKY STENSAAS

As executive director of Friends of Sax-Zim Bog, I want to thank all who participated or pledged to our Big Half Year for the Bog. The money raised will help protect, promote and preserve this unique corner of the world. A very important corner to birders and photographers visiting from all corners of the continent and world. Also important to the nesting boreal birds, resident mammals, rare orchids, and our beloved wintering northern owls.

My personal goal for the first half of 2013 was to photograph 100 species of birds.I ended January with 44 species of birds. Highlights included MANY photos of Boreal Owls (we had an irruption in N Minnesota this year), a diving Great Gray Owl, backlit flying Trumpeter Swans, and a sunrise backlit chickadee (even common birds can make great subjects!) 

Despite the record-breaking 48 inches of snow we had in April (!), I managed to surpass the 100-mark easily and ended May with 177 species photographed. A major fallout of warblers on Duluth's Park Point helped greatly and I ended up adding 20 species of warblers. I only needed 23 to reach 200 but was lacking many shorebirds and southern MN species.

The shorebirds never materialized in good numbers in Duluth, partly due to high water and lack of mudflats, and I was unable to “migrate” to southern Minnesota to add some southern birds.

I thought photographing 100 bird species would be challenging, but I ended June with 198 species photographed. Another exciting facet for me was that I improved on photos I already had for 83 species...and got images of 21 species that I’d never photographed!

You can see a gallery of my favorites PHOTOS from the Big Half Year here:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/111907221964958833473/albums/5835494865426053457

 

Thursday
Jul182013

BioBlitz Results (July 13, 2013)

Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies, Spiders and more!

Thanks to all who helped us out! See you at our next BioBlitz in August 2014!

Experts who attended: Kurt Mead, Jim Lind, Larry Weber, Sparky Stensaas, Mike Hendrickson Participants included Sarah Beaster, Julie King, Kari Meyer...Thanks for coming!

The predicted thunderstorms never materialized and we had a decent day with clouds, light winds and in the 80s...Not ideal but we'll take it.

LOCATIONS SURVEYED

Pine Warbler Woods (old Cotton School Forest): birds, spiders, butterflies, plants, fungus

Yellow-bellied Bog (Peary Rd and CR52): birds, butterflies, plants

Stone Lake Road & Stone Lake: dragonflies, birds

Admiral Road bog roadside: birds, insects, butterflies

Owl Avenue site: birds, butterflies, insects

Whiteface River at Kelsey: dragonflies, birds

Little Whiteface River at Pine Rd & Blue Spruce Rd: dragonflies, birds

**LISTS OF ALL SPECIES CAN BE FOUND BELOW THE PHOTOS

Very pale immature Red-tailed Hawk along CR29 (note central adult tail feather coming in)

Eyed Brown Satyrodes eurydice Yellow-bellied Bog

Aspen Scaberstalk Leccinium insigne Pine Warbler Woods

Kurt Mead shows participants how to ID male (front) and female Ebony Jewelwings.

Unidentified flatid leafhopper Probably Metcalfa pruinosa Yellow-bellied Bog 

Silver-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene Yellow-bellied Bog

Sharp-tailed Grouse (one of three) along Cranberry Rd

Dogwood Borer moth Synanthedon scitula Admiral Rd (A moth that mimics a wasp!)

Sandhill Crane pair along CR52/Arkola just west of CR7

Filmy Dome Spider Neriene radiata Pine Warbler Woods (note the "dome" web it hangs beneath)

Candy-striped Leafhopper Graphocephala coccinea Owl Ave

Cladonia species of lichen Pine Warbler Woods

Twinflower at Pine Warbler Woods

Peniophora rufa fungus on downed aspen branch Owl Ave

Long Dash Polites mystic on Wild Iris Pine Warbler Woods

Predatory Stink Bug nymph Apateticus cynicus Admiral Rd (specializes on capturing caterpillars)

TREES

Black Spruce White Spruce Balsam Fir Red Pine White Pine Jack Pine Balsam Poplar Big-toothed Aspen Quaking Aspen Red Maple (common at Owl Avenue feeder site) Silver Maple (Whiteface River banks at CR29 bridge) Basswood (Whiteface River banks at CR29 bridge) Northern Red Oak (Whiteface River banks at CR29 bridge)

FUNGUS Peniophora rufa fungus (orange buttons on aspen branches) (Owl Avenue feeder site) Aspen Scaberstalk fungus (Leccinium insigne) or Dark-stalked Bolete (Leccinium astrostipitatum) (Pine Warbler Woods) Bolete (either Bitter Bolete Tylopilus felleus) or King Bolete Boletus edulis) (Pine Warbler Woods) Hedgehog (old) Hydunum repandum or Bankera violascens (Pine Warbler Woods)

LICHEN Cladonia species (Pine Warbler Woods) Cladonia fimbriata Trumpet Lichen (Yellow-bellied Bog)

BUTTERFLIES Sparky Stensaas and Larry Weber (author of Butterflies of the North Woods) prowled several areas including Pine Warbler Woods (Cotton School Forest), Bug Creek Road (lots of blooming Spreading Dogbane), Owl Avenue, and Admiral Road (near winter feeders). The warm temps helped keep the “flutter-bys” active, but clouds and wind possibly hindered some species. Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Papilio canadensis (quite common) Harris’s Checkerspot Chlosyne harrisii (Mike Hendrickson) Silvery Checkerspot Chlosyne nycteis (Larry Weber) Silver-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene Eyed Brown Satyrodes eurydice (Yellow-bellied Bog roadside) Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa Monarch (only 2 (!) seen all day by Sparky (LOW) Northern Crescent Phyciodes selenis (dozens! Most common non-Skipper of the day) Long Dash Polites mystic (pair performing courtship (?) on Wild Iris at Pine Warbler Woods in wet meadow) European Skippers Thymelicus lineola (dozens along Bug Creek Rd nectaring on Spreading Dogbane) Least Skipper Ancyloxypha numitor

MOTHS Virginia Ctenucha Ctenucha virginica Dogwood Borer moth Synanthedon scitula (a wasp mimic...and lifer for Sparky!) Crocus Geometer Xanthotype sospeta probably

DRAGONFLIES Odonatists extraordinaire Kurt Mead (author of Dragonflies of the North Woods) and Jim Lind spent the day sweeping for winged dragons in six locations. The calm winds and warm temps helped but the sun did not make an appearance. The best location was along Stone Lake Road where the dynamic duo found 16 species (!) including Brush-tipped Emerald. Kurt says, “Kennedy's and Brush-tipped Emeralds are always exciting.  Also, the relatively high number of Prince Baskettails was exciting, which are not very common this far north.” Here is the list from the day:

Common Green Darner Anax junius Ashy Clubtail Gomphus lividus Racket-tailed Emerald Dorocordulia libera Prince Baskettail Epitheca princeps Common Baskettail Epitheca cynosura Spiny Baskettail Epitheca spinigera Kennedy's Emerald Somatochlora kennedyi Brush-tipped Emerald Somatochlora walshii Chalk-fronted Corporal Ladona julia Frosted Whiteface Leucorrhinia frigida Twelve-spotted Skimmer Libellula pulchella Four-spotted Skimmer Libellula quadrimaculata Common Whitetail Plathemis lydia Saffron-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum costiferum White-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum obtrusum River Jewelwing Calopteryx aequabilis Ebony Jewelwing Calopteryx maculata Emerald Spreadwing Lestes dryas Marsh Bluet Enallagma ebrium Hagen's Bluet Enallagma hageni Eastern Forktail Ischnura verticalis Sedge Sprite Nehalennia irene AMPHIBIANS Boreal Chorus Frog (PIne Warbler Woods)

SPIDERS Filmy Dome Spider Neriene radiata (Sparky at PIne Warbler Woods) Dewdrop Spider Neospintharus (Argyrodes) trigonum (Larry W. at Pine Warbler Woods) Harvestman/daddy longlegs species Wolf Spider Pardosa sp. possibly P. milvina (Owl Ave) Conical Trashline Orbweaver Cyclosa conica Tuftlegged Orbweaver Mangora placida Furrow Orbweaver Larinioides cornutus Humpbacked Orbweaver Eustala anastera Grass Spider Agelenopsis sp. Crab spider species Linyphid Cobweb Weaver species Theridion species Slender Running Crab Spider Tibellus oblongus Dwarf Spider species Erigone species

OTHER INSECTS Predatory Stink Bug nymph Apateticus cynicus (large and colorful! Predator of caterpillars) Stiletto Fly? white Citrus Flatid Planthopper Metcalfa pruinosa? (Yellow-bellied Bog) Deer Fly Orange-tailed Bumble Bee Bombus ternarius Scentless Plant Bug possibly Stictopleurus punctiventris bush katydid nymph Scudderia species (Owl Ave) grasshopper (Owl Ave) Diamond-backed Spittlebug Lepyronia spumarius (Owl Ave) Candy-striped Leafhopper Graphocephala coccinea (Owl Ave) Black Firefly Lucidota atra (Owl Ave) American Hover Fly Eupeodes americanus possibly (Owl Ave)

BIRDS Guide and Sax-Zim Bog Winter Bird Festival founder, Mike Hendrickson graciously donated his time, birding across the bog today. Additional species added by Sparky Stensaas and Jim Lind.

Mallard Sharp-tailed Grouse (3 on Cranberry just N of Sax Rd) American Bittern Northern Harrier (including one carrying food) Broad-winged Hawk Red-tailed Hawk (very pale immature) Sandhill Crane (family group just W of CR7 on CR52/Arkola) Killdeer Upland Sandpiper Wilson’s Snipe Mourning Dove Black-billed Cuckoo (1 singing in Meadowlands, 1 CR7 N of CR52 at curve) Great Gray Owl (2nd hand report. Location unknown) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Downy Woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker Northern Flicker American Kestrel Eastern Kingbird Eastern Wood-Pewee Alder Flycatcher Least Flycatcher Blue-headed Vireo Red-eyed Vireo Warbling Vireo Blue Jay Gray Jay Black-billed Magpie American Crow Common Raven Barn Swallow Cliff Swallow Tree Swallow Black-capped Chickadee Red-breasted Nuthatch House Wren Sedge Wren Winter Wren Golden-crowned Kinglet American Robin Hermit Thrush Veery Gray Catbird Brown Thrasher European Starling Cedar Waxwing American Redstart Black and White Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler Blackburnian Warbler Canada Warbler (2nd hand report) Chestnut-sided Warbler Common Yellowthroat Magnolia Warbler Mourning Warbler Nashville Warbler Ovenbird Palm Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler Chipping Sparrow Clay-colored Sparrow LeConte’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow Song Sparrow Savannah Sparrow Swamp Sparrow White-throated Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco Indigo Bunting Bobolink Red-winged Blackbird Eastern Meadowlark Common Grackle Brown-headed Cowbird Purple Finch House Finch American Goldfinch MAMMALS Snowshoe Hares (3 on Nichols Lk Rd., baby in Yellow-bellied Bog) Eastern Chipmunk Porcupine Red Squirrel Meadow Vole (in beak of Am. Kestrel!) White-tailed Deer

Saturday
Apr272013

Late April in the Bog—Winter Birds, Summer Birds

I spent half a day in the Bog on April 26th, a glorious sunny day and over 50 degrees...probably the first time since early November it had been that warm. Snow still covered most of the landscape but the willow flats were about half bare. Deep in the Black Spruce bogs it was "snowshoe-only" conditions with 24-30 inches of snow. Of course, I didn't bring my snowshoes so at one point off McDavitt Road I was thigh-deep in snow...A real slog. I checked our two "Great Gray Owl" nests but nothing was using them...yet. A few winter birds were still around. A late flock of Redpolls wheeled overhead before flying on. An Arctic-nesting Rough-legged Hawk was still hunting, soaring over Sax Rd. And a Northern Shrike was lingering along Cranberry. All three species will be heading back to Canada soon. But migrants were everywhere! Robins and juncos littered the roadsides, while in the fields I noted Killdeer, Kestrels and even a couple of Tree Swallows. Some small streams were open while the lakes and rivers were still mostly frozen. I surprised two Wood Duck pairs in a creek along McDavitt. A great day to be in the Sax-Zim Bog! Willows are in peak glory. Their bark is blazing reds and yellows now. Golden-crowned Kinglets were singing and actively defending territories already. This guy even threw up his red middle crest. A Rough-legged Hawk soars over Sax Road...They will be heading back to the Arctic soon. Is there a prettier duck? Wood Duck male spotted in a small creek along McDavitt. Love is in the air! Killdeer pair mating in a farmer's field along CR201 north of Meadowlands. Fox Sparrows were common at the Owl Avenue feeders. Though we quit filling the feeders a month ago, juncos and sparrows were still feeding on seed that is just now melting out of the snow.