Minnesota Fall Great Gray Owl and Northern Hawk Owl Report

This just in from Kim Eckert:

I recently received a couple of reports of northern owls from 2 northern Minnesota locations:

- Dee Kuder of Crane Lake observed a Great Gray Owl back on 12 October in N St Louis Co, along Minn Hwy 73 near the jct of Co Rd 22 and the town of Sturgeon.

- More recent and interesting were the 2 N Hawk Owls seen by visiting CA birders Frank & Susan Gilliland on 24 October in N Beltrami Co, at mile 42 on Minn Hwy 72, which is about 5 mi N of Waskish.

The question naturally comes to mind as to whether these will prove to be just isolated sightings or as harbingers of another irruption of northern owls this fall and winter. Such repeat irruptions are rare but possible: they occurred in 1990-91 & 1991-92 (primarily Great Grays) and in 1995-96 & 1996-97 (all 4 northern species).