Festival Field Trips

2018 Field Trips

HAPPY DISCLAIMER: Each winter blesses us with a varied cast of “avian characters” from the boreal north. But we never know who’s going to show up! Some winters we have many owls but few finches. Other winters we may have a blizzard of redpolls and Snow Buntings but no crossbills. Then the very next winter we will have ZERO redpolls but an abundance of Pine Grosbeaks, crossbills, etc. All boreal birds are “boom-bust” species, and if food crops (voles, spruce cones, pine cones, birch seeds, mountain ash berries) are abundant farther north, then they stay home. Fortunately, these food crops are not synchronous, and we always have a variety of boreal birds in the “Arctic Riviera” of the Sax-Zim Bog. Of course, several species are year-round residents including Great Gray Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Evening Grosbeak, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, etc. Bottom line…Not every species listed in the field trip descriptions below will be seen each winter

Friday, February 16th Field Trips

Pre – Festival Field Trip to Sax-Zim Bog
Meet field trip leaders at the Meadowlands Community Center at 6:30am. School buses will depart at 7:00 am. Field trip ends at the Meadowlands Community Center at 2:00 p.m.

This is great field trip for those who are arriving early for the festival and want to do some serious birding before registering for the festival in the town of Meadowlands.  This field trip will focus on some great winter specialties like Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Hoary and Common Redpolls, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, Gray Jay, Northern Shrike.  Keep an eye out for the elusive Great Gray Owl that can be found in the Sax-Zim Bog area, hunting along the roadside for small rodents.  Another possibility is the Northern Hawk Owl that has been observed many times during the winter months hunting for food in the open areas such as logged out areas or along the roadsides.  Besides birds there are mammals in this area that could be found on this field trip, such as Moose, Timber Wolf, Bobcat, Pine Marten or a Fisher.  Overall this is a great field trip to experience.

MEAL OPTION
Friday Meal at McDavitt Township Hall served by Riverside Chapel ladies.
$8.00
Includes Chili, Vegan soup, Bun, Crackers, Coffee and Water.

Saturday, February 17th Field Trips

*All field trips ( except the pre-festival trip to Sax-Zim Bog) will include a box lunch of 6-inch sub sandwich, chips, sweet snack and bottled water.

Sax-Zim Bog Field Trip
• Board the bus at 6:30 a.m. at the Meadowlands Community Center.
• Leave parking lot by 7:00 a.m.
• Trip ends at Meadowlands Community Center at 3:30 p.m.

The Sax Zim Bog is on most birders’ list of places to go to see northern birds. On this trip, the leaders will take you on several back roads in search of northern birds and Minnesota specialties. We will bird in the early morning hours to look for Great Gray Owls hunting for voles and mice along the roadsides. We’ll also stop at local feeding stations to look for Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls, Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, and possibly Gray Jays, Boreal Chickadee or a Hoary Redpoll. We’ll also stop at various places in the bog to look for Black-backed Woodpeckers working the trunks of tamarack and black spruce trees. If there are any stake-out locations for Northern Hawk Owls or Snowy Owls, the bus will visit these location as well. Other birds such as White-winged Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Black-billed Magpie, Northern Shrike, and Snow Bunting are all good possibilities to see on this trip.

There will a portable bathrooms at one of the feeding stations and along the Zim Road on the north end of “Bog”.

Duluth Field Trip
• Board the bus at 6:00 a.m. at the Meadowlands Community Center.
• Leave parking lot by 6:30 a.m.
• Pick up participants at the Perkins Restaurant at the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth at 7:15 a.m.
• Arrive at Perkins Restaurant at 3:00 p.m. to drop off participants who boarded the bus at this location. The bus will return at the Meadowlands Community Center by 3:45 p.m.

This trip heads right to Duluth to look for Snowy Owls in the harbor areas where we will also look for Thayer’s Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, and possibly find a Great Black-backed Gull or a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  We will search the harbors in the event a Gyrfalcon is spending the winter near the grain elevators. If there are any stake-out Varied Thrushes or Townsend Solitaires in the Duluth area we will make sure to stop to find these casual western visitors. We’ll stop at the Canal Park area to see if any gulls are loafing on the break walls and scan through all the Common Goldeneyes for anything different such as a Long-tailed Duck, scoter species, or possibly a Harlequin Duck. We’ll stop at a feeder outside of Duluth to look for northern finches.

If you are lodging in Duluth and would rather not drive to Meadowlands to board the bus for this trip, note that the bus will stop at the Miller Hill Mall Perkins Restaurant parking lot to pick birders at 7:15 a.m., and returning there at 3:00 p.m. Please park your car in the mall parking lot and walk over to the restaurant. Directions to Perkins Restaurant if you are lodging along I-35, London Road, or in the Canal Park area in Duluth: Take I-35 to 21st Avenue West and exit on 21st Avenue West/U.S. Highway 53. Go north through 3 stoplights. When you come to the 4th stoplight (near the Home Depot) take a left turn toward the Miller Hill Mall and look to your right and you will see Perkins Restaurant. If you are lodging up near the Miller Hill Mall area (along U.S. Highway 53) you can walk to Perkins and leave your car at the hotel.

North Shore of Lake Superior Field Trip
• Board the bus at 5:30 am at the Meadowlands Community Center
• Leave parking lot by 6:00 am
• Pick up participants at the Perkins Restaurant at the Miller Hill Mall at 6:45 am
• Arrive at Perkins Restaurant at 3:15 pm to drop off participants who boarded the bus at this location.  The bus will return at the Meadowlands Community Center by 4:00 pm

The North Shore of Lake Superior is known not only for its stunning beauty, but also for it’s ability to attract a variety of rare species, given the right season….and winter is no exception! On this trip, we hope to track down some wintering waterfowl: Possibilities include Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, or one or more of 3 species of Scoter. There is a potential for lingering loons, such as Pacific Loon, or even a surprise Eider! Winter gulls, such as Glaucous or Thayer’s Gulls are possible near water on this trip. Further away from the water, Bohemian Waxwings, both Crossbills, and rarities like Townsend’s Solitaire may frequent one of the many overlooks or parks along the drive north along Lake Superior. Other species that could be encountered along the drive north would be Snow Bunting, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Shrike, and possibly one of our northern owls (during irruption winters). During the trip, we will also talk about the unique geology of the region, with some natural history of the boreal forest scattered throughout the trip.

Spruce Grouse Field TripFULL
Limit: 10
Extra Fee: $20
Small van and car will be used for this trip. This is NOT a “bus” trip, it is a CARPOOL trip.
No snack lunch provided for this trip.

“Spruce grouse is one of the most enigmatic northwoods species and one of the most difficult to find, even if you know where to look! This field trip will be specifically targeting Spruce Grouse in northern Minnesota. These birds are difficult to find and if they are not found, there will still be a number of northern specialties to be had, such as Pine Grosbeak, Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, and crossbills.

We will stop at a few locations along Minnesota Birding’s most famous winter highway, Lake County Road 2 on the look out for Spruce Grouse. The Spruce Grouse field trip will venture along forest roads and through old growth pine and spruce forest in search of the grouse and other northern specialties.”

Trip Leader: Clinton Nienhaus
Date: Saturday, February 17
Loading Location: From Perkins (near the Mall) in Duluth
Leaving Time: 5:00 am
Arrival Time: 4:00 pm
What to Bring: Binoculars, cameras, winter gear

Winter Birding Photography Workshop: Frozen Flight
With Heidi Pinkerton

Pinkerton_ListeningPoint_IMG_3393-copy

Registration 7:30 AM
Session begins at 8:00 AM
Estimated ending time 3:00 -3:30 PM

At a time that everything feels frozen, wildlife abounds in the Bog. Join us for a day of winter bird photography where we’ll focus on our feathered friends hunting in this winter range.

With over a decade of experience, photographer Heidi Pinkerton will lead this workshop and help you gain great captures of all the things the Bog has to offer.

This is a hands-on experience, so dress warm and plan to have a day of fun!

We will be out in the field in the morning and afternoon with some indoor time to warm up and go over some photography basics. This is a CARPOOL Trip

What to bring:
Camera
Camera Manual
Tripod, if you have one
Batteries/ extra batteries, if you have them
CF/SD Cards
Dress warm for being outdoors. Layering your clothes to shed a few while indoors will be ideal.

Bio-Photo-Sharp-copyPhotographer Heidi Pinkerton sees wonder in the world around her and she’s determined to share that vision through her art. Based on the edge of true wilderness in northern Minnesota, Heidi uses more than a decade of professional experience and a lifetime of intuition to create indelible images of wildlife and the night sky. “The camera is more of an extension of me: my way of capturing moments in time. Glimpses into the lives of animals I encounter. I do not feel like I am behind the camera at all, but actually sharing a natural space with the critter,” remarks Heidi when asked how she feels about the tool of her trade.

Heidi lives in Babbitt, Minnesota, where she is the owner of Root River Photography. Her images can be found in the Northern Lights Gallery at the International Wolf Center, a number of Ely gift shops, in a variety of publications and her fine art prints hang in homes and around the world.

Sunday, February 18th

Sunday Morning Critter Walk
Learn how Northern Animals Survive and Thrive in the Winter.
This will use car caravan as a mode of transportation.
– Meet at Meadowlands Community Center at 7:30AM
– Nature Hike will depart at 8AM
– Nature Hike will end at 12PM at the Community Center

Sax-Zim Bog Field Trip
• Board the bus at 6:30 a.m. at the Meadowlands Community Center.
• Leave parking lot by 7:00 a.m.
• Trip ends at Meadowlands Community Center at 3:30 p.m.

The Sax Zim Bog is on most birders’ list of places to go to see northern birds. On this trip, the leaders will take you on several back roads in search of northern birds and Minnesota specialties. We will bird in the early morning hours to look for Great Gray Owls hunting along the roadside for voles and mice. We’ll also stop at local feeding stations for Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls, Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, and possibly Gray Jays, Boreal Chickadee or a Hoary Redpoll. We’ll also stop at a few known spots to look for Black-backed Woodpeckers and Three-toed Woodpeckers working the trunks of tamarack and black spruce trees. If there are any stake-out locations for Northern Hawk Owls or Snowy Owls, the trip will visit these location as well. Other birds such as White-winged Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Black-billed Magpie, Northern Shrike, and Snow Bunting are all good possibilities to see on this trip.

There will a portable bathrooms at one of the feeding stations and along the Zim Road on the north end of “bog”.

Duluth Field Trip
• Board the bus at 6:00 a.m. at the Meadowlands Community Center.
• Leave parking lot by 6:30 a.m.
• Pick up participants at the Perkins Restaurant at the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth at 7:15 a.m.
• Arrive at Perkins Restaurant at 3:00 p.m. to drop off participants who boarded the bus at this location. The bus will return at the Meadowlands Community Center by 3:45 p.m.

This trip heads right to Duluth to look for Snowy Owls at the International Airport and down in the harbor areas to look for Thayer’s Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, and possibly find a Great Black-backed Gull or a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  We will search the harbors in the event a Gyrfalcon is spending the winter near the grain elevators. If there are any stake-out Varied Thrushes or Townsend Solitaires in the Duluth area we will make sure to stop to find these casual western visitors. We’ll stop at the Canal Park area to see if any gulls are loafing on the break walls and scan through all the Common Goldeneyes for anything different such as a Long-tailed Duck, scoter species, or possibly a Harlequin Duck. We’ll stop at a feeder outside of Duluth to look for northern finches.

If you are lodging in Duluth and would rather not drive to Meadowlands to board the bus for this trip, note that the bus will stop at the Miller Hill Mall Perkins Restaurant parking lot to pick birders at 7:15 a.m., and returning there at 3:00 p.m. Please park your car in the mall parking lot and walk over to the restaurant. Directions to Perkins Restaurant if you are lodging along I-35, London Road, or in the Canal Park area in Duluth: Take I-35 to 21st Avenue West and exit on 21st Avenue West/U.S. Highway 53. Go north through 3 stoplights. When you come to the 4th stoplight (near the Home Depot) take a left turn toward the Miller Hill Mall and look to your right and you will see Perkins Restaurant. If you are lodging up near the Miller Hill Mall area (along U.S. Highway 53) you can walk to Perkins and leave your car at the hotel.

North Shore of Lake Superior Field Trip
• Board the bus at 5:30 am at the Meadowlands Community Center
• Leave parking lot by 6:00 am
• Pick up participants at the Perkins Restaurant at the Miller Hill Mall at 6:45 am
• Arrive at Perkins Restaurant at 3:15 pm to drop off participants who boarded the bus at this location.  The bus will return at the Meadowlands Community Center by 4:00 pm

The North Shore of Lake Superior is known not only for its stunning beauty, but also for it’s ability to attract a variety of rare species, given the right season….and winter is no exception! On this trip, we hope to track down some wintering waterfowl: Possibilities include Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, or one or more of 3 species of Scoter. There is a potential for lingering loons, such as Pacific Loon, or even a surprise Eider! Winter gulls, such as Glaucous or Thayer’s Gulls are possible near water on this trip. Further away from the water, Bohemian Waxwings, both Crossbills, and rarities like Townsend’s Solitaire may frequent one of the many overlooks or parks along the drive north along Lake Superior. Other species that could be encountered along the drive north would be Snow Bunting, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Shrike, and possibly one of our northern owls (during irruption winters). During the trip, we will also talk about the unique geology of the region, with some natural history of the boreal forest scattered throughout the trip.