During the months of January and February, keep an eye out for great gray and snowy owls, as well as snow buntings, lapland longspurs, hoary redpolls, and American tree sparrows. Open water areas along rivers are great to view Canada geese, trumpeter
swans, and mallards – if you look closely, you may also see common goldeneyes, American mergansers, and American black ducks. And the section of the Mississippi River between Red Wing and Wabasha in southeastern Minnesota offers an adundance of sites to view bald eagles. Anyone wanting more information on southeastern Minnesota phenology, should check out the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learing Center blog site.
The following is a list of significant sightings:
On January 9th, Kim Eckert reported two Spruce Grouse along State Highway 1 just southeast of Spruce Road in Lake County. This location is near Mile Marker 297.
A Snowy Owl has apparently been in Rice County since before Christmas. It is being seen west of the intersection of State Highway 19 and Dakota County Road 59. Another was reported on January 8th in Freeborn County, along Highway 46 near the town of Hayward.
On January 12th, Great Gray Owls were seen in the Sax-Zim Bog area of St. Louis County; one was along County Road 7, a mile and a half north of County Road 133, and two were along McDavitt Road about four miles north of Sax Road.
A Northern Hawk Owl was still in the Sax Zim Bog on the 5th. It could be seen along McDavitt Road, two miles north of Sax Road.
An American Three-Toed Woodpecker was found on the 8th in the Sax-Zim Bog along McDavitt Road, two and a half miles north of Sax Road.
On January 10th, Dave Johnson found a Townsend’s Solitaire in Duluth. It was feeding on crabapples in front of the St. Louis County Courthouse at 1st Street and 5th Ave West.
And finally, overwintering Hermit Thrushes were reported from St. Paul in Ramsey County on the 5th, and from Granite Falls in Yellow Medicine County on the 10th. The St. Paul bird was found by Dave Zumeta as it was feeding on berries on the east side of the Affinity Plus Credit Union building on Sherburne Avenue. By January 10th, the bird had moved about a block to the northwest quadrant of the State Capital Building near the parking lot.
“The information in this report is provided courtesy of the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union and Explore Minnesota Tourism.”