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Steve Foss

Four great gray owls at Sax-Zim Bog

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This winter doesn't appear to be a big invasion/irruption year, but four GGOs in one day means the odds are getting pretty good for seeing this amazing species.

Here's a report from a Minnesota birding e-mail net.

Nichols Lake Rd: 2 birds between 2 and 2.3 miles East of Hwy 7

Highway 7: one bird, 4 miles South of Arkola Rd (52)

McDavitt Rd: one bird, 3.7 miles South of Zim Rd.

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Just got back Steve...I made the "rounds"....My neck is sore from crankin it back and forth trying to spot both sides of the roads grin....I saw abazillion rough-leggeds,all over the place!...man those guys are on the poles, in the trees...if you're into hawks,they certainly are there this year...but...no owls...nada! cry....but then again I never went down to the Nickols Lake road this time...apparently they are in the vacinity but not in "my" vacinity! grin...I ran into Jmalm and we shot the breeze for half an hour...just saw gray Jays and chickadees....went to both areas and checked the "treats"....admiral had the most "usage" from what I could see...They will come...it's early yet!.......I snapped a couple chickadee images while at the weasel site(like I don't have enough chicadee images! grin)....anyways...the camera was there,the bird was there...gotta take a pic! grin

chickadee77.jpg

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Jonny, unless the GGOs are stressed/starving, they don't hunt much during the day, and usually only are active until shortly after sunrise, roosting in cover all day and coming out again a bit before sunset.

That big invasion/irruption winter a few years ago brought so many starving owls down from Canada that it was easy to see and approach them as they hunted the whole day through to stay alive.

Probably not as likely to see that behavior this winter. If the mouse/vole population had crashed in Canada, we'd know it by now because we'd have a lot more GGOs than we do.

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I have a feeling Jim is going to regret not turning around. He saw the owl too but it flew into the woods before we got pictures. I drove pack as he headed home and there she was again.

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I forgot to mention, a handsome little downy has found ribs2.

I know Jim has some picture of him as well that he will probably post later.

downy.jpg

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Jay I am so jealous but glad you were able to get some nice shots. It almost looks like he went back to the original tree. The info says that 2 were spotted so it make me wonder if you did see both of them. I will post my pics of the day down in photosharing.

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Jim it did end up back on the original snag it was sitting on when I first saw it. These owls are residents and spotted fairly often through out the year so I am sure they will show up again.

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Thats great info so if I get a chance I can run up during the week and see if I can get a shot or 2 in. Did the birders get a chance to see it ? It would have been nice if the 2 could have filled there list.

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yeah, they were actually jumping up and down waving at me when I came around the corner. They had relocated it and we actually watched it for a good 10-15 minutes.

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Here is what you need to look for in those cedar swamps just before dark. We lost this guy more then once as he flew from tree to tree. They really blend in with the cedar trunks.

darkowl.jpg

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