I went up to a meeting in Sax Zim Bog with Amber Burnette, Mark Martell, and Carrol Henderson about how to make the area more birder friendly. It's very exciting to see the community start to realize that there's some economic potential for them in this. Also, the guys in charge of managing the area for timber are genuinely interested in helping to manage the area for birds! This place is really going to blossom in the next few years--I'm so jazzed.
Of course you can't have a meeting near the infamous bog without looking for owls. We got to the area around 10am and birded for an hour and a half. After the meeting we birded for another hour and a half and we saw 1 barred owl, 1 northern hawk owl and 19 great gray owls--what an amazing year!!!!! Photos of a couple of the great grays are below.
Again, if you have been reading this blog and have been thinking, "I've always wanted to see the owls in this area..." THIS IS THE YEAR TO DO IT! We always have a few or even some great grays in the area, but it will probably not be like this again in this lifetime. Do what you have to do and experience seeing over twenty owls of three different species in one day. For those interested boreals are starting to be reported. One was found in Duluth yesterday.
One other note, if you are visiting the bog, please practice common sense with traffic. Avoid parking your vehicle in the middle of the road, setting your scope up in the middle of the road, backing up along curves and hills, etc. This area is remote, however it is well traveled by the locals and things are a tad icy. We'd hate to lose anybody to owl watching under dangerous conitions.