Duluth RBA

Duluth RBA phone number: 218-525-5952

Previous reports: November 9 16 23 30 , December 7 14 21 28 , January 4 .
Other Hotlines: Minnesota Statewide | Detroit Lakes

*Duluth/North Shore
*January 11, 2001

-Birds mentioned

Hotline: Minnesota, Duluth/North Shore
Date: January 11, 2001
Sponsor: Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (MOU)
Reports: (218) 525-5952
Compiler: Kim Eckert (kreckert@cp.duluth.mn.us)
Transcriber: Kim Eckert (kreckert@cp.duluth.mn.us)

This is the Duluth Birding Report for Thursday, January 11, sponsored by the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union.

The birding in Duluth and N E Minn continues to be excellent this week for northern winter specialties, with a few unseasonal rarities present as well. Although no new species were reported, a GYRFALCON was seen today in Virginia, a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE reappeared in Knife River after a few weeks' absence, and the first SPRUCE GROUSE of the winter on Lake Co Rd 2 was seen. Meanwhile, the GYR in the Duluth harbor, a HARLEQUIN DUCK along Duluth's North Shore, the KING EIDER and WESTERN GREBE in Two Harbors, and several GREAT GRAY OWL, NORTHERN HAWK OWL, and SNOWY OWLS are all still present.

In addition to that Gyr which is still being seen in Duluth, Ben Yokel called to report another adult gray-morph Gyrfalcon seen today along the shore of Silver L near downtown Virginia in central St Louis Co. It is not known how long this bird has been in that area and it is difficult to predict how long it might remain. It is also difficult to say whether or not that Gyr will make an appearance in the Duluth harbor on any given day. When present, it is almost always seen in the afternoon at the Cargill grain elevator east of Garfield Ave: it was reported about noon on Jan 5; at 1:00, 1:15, 2:00 and 3:45 on Jan 7; and at 1:15 on Jan 9. However, there were apparently no sightings of it on Jan 6 or 8 despite several birders looking for it, and I have not heard if anyone saw it yesterday or today.

Note that an adult PEREGRINE FALCON and several RED-TAILED HAWKS are also wintering in the same area, and a few SNOWY OWLS are still present in the harbor as well. The best place to look for these owls recently has been near the sewage treatment plant at 27th Ave West, and in Superior between the I-535 bridge and Perkins Restaurant. Other Snowys have been seen recently in Virginia along U S Hwy 169 between Hwy 53 and St Louis Co Rd 7; and in Aitkin Co along Co Rd 1, 3 mi N of Aitkin.

The adult male Harlequin Duck found in late Dec along the N Shore just NE of the Lakeview Castle Restaurant, was relocated on Jan 6 and 7 just NE of the Lakewood Pumping Station a few miles away. This duck, however, keeps moving around and cannot always be found at this new location.

Farther up the N Shore in Lake Co, a Townsend's Solitaire was relocated Jan 6 in Knife River near Emily's Cafe; this bird had not been seen here since mid-Dec. Also in Knife River, 3 HORNED GREBES were present the same day on L Superior near the marina.

And in Two Harbors, that female-plumaged King Eider is still present in the main harbor. Unfortunately, it is difficult to see and only present on the far W side of the harbor to the left of the farthest ore dock; a spotting scope is a necessity and a somewhat closer view is often possible by walking out to the end of the breakwater. On the E side of Two Harbors in Burlington Bay, the Western Grebe was still being seen last weekend.

Also last weekend, a lone Spruce Grouse was present on Lake Co Rd 2 just N of the Sand R, which is about 42 mi N of Two Harbors. Spruce Grouse were also spotted in Lake Co Jan 7 on the Lankinen Rd near the cemetery just E of Isabella. On the same day 2 BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS were seen here, and another Black-backed was on Co Rd 2 just S of Hwy 1 (there had been reports at both these locations of Three-toed Woodpeckers on the Dec 30 Isabella CBC). BOREAL CHICKADEES, COMMON REDPOLLS, and both RED CROSSBILLS and WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were seen as well in this general area.

A small flock of SNOW BUNTINGS was seen Jan 6 in Superior just W of the I-535 bridge, and another flock was seen the same day in the Sax-Zim Bog in the large field at the jct of Co Rds 52 and 208; this species has been mostly absent from N E Minn this season. Also relatively uncommon this winter have been BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, the only flock reported recently was last weekend near the Lakeview Castle.

Gulls have also been in small numbers this winter, but an ad THAYER'S GULL was at Canal Park in Duluth Jan 7.

N Hawk Owls are still present at many locations, but most often observed in the Sax-Zim Bog, especially along Co Rds 319, 7 (between Sax and Zim), and 133 W of 7. Recent hawk owl reports also come from U S Hwy 53, 2.5 mi N of Cotton; on St Louis Co Rd 16 just W of Makinen; in Virginia at the jct of Hwys 53 and 169; and in Lake Co at the jct of Co Rd 2 and Forest Rd 11.

And while Great Gray Owls are still being reported in Sax-Zim and other places, the most impressive numbers last weekend were along Lake Co Rd 2 where at least 10 individuals were counted in about an 8-mi stretch between Greenwood L and Hwy 1.

Unless something unusual is seen in the meantime which needs to be reported immediately, this report is normally updated once a week on Thursdays, so that the next scheduled update will be on January 18. The phone number for the Duluth Birding Report is (218) 525-5952, and callers can report bird sightings if they wish after the tone at the end of each tape. Messages can also be left without having to wait for the report to end: to do this, after the tape starts playing push 5 on a touch-tone phone, the tape will stop, the tone will sound, and you can then leave your message.

The Duluth Birding Report is sponsored and funded by the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (MOU) as a service to its members. For more information on the MOU, either write us c/o the Bell Museum of Natural History,10 Church Street SE, Minneapolis MN 55455; or send an e-mail to ; or visit the MOU web site at .

Return to Home Page