Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Recent happenings in the midwest

Barred Ow

Hasn't been terribly much going on, or even very much to blog about lately.  Work has gone on as usual these past few months and birding has slowed down and sped up according to the season.

My work season ended this past weekend with a couple trips to see migrating waterfowl. Thousands of Swans and ducks populate pool 7-9 on the Mississippi River every fall on their migration south. Every year, we take people out among the ducks to view the passage of scores of birds.  The migration still goes on, but our work season is done. It has been another awesome year working out on the river, but now I must find other things to do until the season starts again.  Amazingly, my schedule has filled with trips, Christmas Bird Counts, guiding gigs, festivals, etc. It's amazing that I actually have time for any leisure birding anymore.  I'll be updating on the key events of the winter as they draw closer, but it should be a fun year.

This year, winter finches of every species have been reported in large numbers far to the south of their normal winter ranges.  Pine Siskins have become common lately and Redpolls are increasing in number.  Red Crossbills have been reported into mid-continent states and Evening Grosbeaks are currently experiencing a massive irruption year with reports as far south as Chicago.  Pine Grosbeaks also appear to be starting a large-scale incursion into the south with reports into central and southern Wisconsin and Minnesota.   The owl year is shaping up to be a good one with lots of Boreal Owls being banded in Duluth and at Whitefish Point and one caught last night at Linwood Springs in Stevens Point!  Reports of Great Grays have been farther south than usual and hopefully we'll get an influx of Hawk-owls soon.  A Gyrfalcon has already been seen in Northern Minnesota and it is my hope that one of these magnificent birds will hang around for the winter.  Bohemian Waxwings are another that have staged a massive irruption this year and are spreading far south of where they're normally found.

Hopefully, this winter will shape up to be an awesome one and hopefully I'll be able to pick up every one of these species on one of my several trips to Duluth this winter.  

Til then, I'll keep you updated on the happenings in the awesome world of birding.

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