*          *          *


(including Sax-Zim Bog and Lake County pre-MBWs)

May 30-May 31-June 1 & June 6-7-8, 2014

Both MBWeekends were slowed down somewhat by rain (Saturday p.m. & Sunday a.m. on MBW I; Saturday a.m. on MBW II) and by too many mosquitoes (especially on II), and the temperature extremes were certainly entertaining: both Fridays were first too warm in the mid-80s inland and then surprisingly cool down to the high 40s by the lake, while on MBW II it dropped to 33 degrees at dawn along the Gunflint on Sunday! Still, we found more birds than I thought we would with an impressive total of 142 species in all with both MBWs combined.

On the earlier MBW, we had no fewer than 129 species, primarily due to more varied habitats at Sax-Zim and several late-lingering waterbirds (especially at Castle Danger's sewage ponds). Besides those two visible baby N Hawk Owls at their nest (four young were later reported) and a half-grown Great Gray on the ground apparently near an unseen nest, especially noteworthy in Sax-Zim on Friday were the still-active Sharp-tailed Grouse lek, a Sandhill Crane trying to hide its chick in the grass, a highly unusual Loggerhead Shrike (accidental/casual even in migration in NE Minn!), a nice selection of warblers (especially Golden-wingeds), plus a couple of interesting mammals – two Gray Wolves carrying off unknown prey (a cat?), and a Porcupine in a roadside ditch.

Our day in Sax-Zim was followed by several late Long-tailed Ducks and a pair of Red-necked Grebes at Grand Marais; Wilson's Warbler and heard-only Bay-breasted (both uncommon/rare in summer in Minn) among a nice selection of nesting passerines along the Gunflint Trail and connecting side roads; Am Woodcock and N Saw-whet Owl both vocalizing at dusk on the outskirts of Grand Marais; Sunday's two Black-throated Blues singing on Oberg Mountain (bringing our weekend's warbler total to 21 species, all presumably on territory); and our final stop on Sunday at Castle Danger with a Canvasback (county bird!) among other ducks and some late migrant shorebirds, featuring Black-bellied Plover and Dunlin.

The second MBW may have had fewer species (101) without Sax-Zim or any migrants to enhance the total, but there were still certainly lots of highlights. On Friday in Lake Co there were a group of Trumpeter Swans (another county bird!), Ruffed Grouse drumming almost everywhere, a teed-up Olive-sided Flycatcher on the Whyte Rd, a family of Boreal Chickadees (first heard by Herb; missed on MBW I), Tennessee Warblers singing almost everywhere (still migrating?), a cooperative Connecticut singing from a jack pine, and singing Cape Mays (also missed on MBW I) at two locations. 

Then back up in Cook Co: a group of pelicans unexpectedly flew around Grand Marais Friday evening; a rainy Saturday morning was salvaged by an Evening Grosbeak in the pine grove along the Gunflint, and two Horned Grebes lingering along the Croftville Rd; Saturday evening was highlighted by a N Mockingbird spotted by Herb behind the Spruceglen Motel and the same woodcock peenting at the Pincushion Overlook; our cool and successful Sunday morning along the South Brule and Lima Grade roads featuring a Cape May Warbler and a quite unexpected Black-throated Blue (for a total of 20 warbler species on MBW II); and Ken Hoffman (along with Irish & Duffy!) led us to a pair of Philadelphia Vireos at a nest.            


I - S = MBW I in St Louis Co, May 30 (mostly Sax-Zim Bog)

I - L = MBW I in Lake Co, June 1 (partial list only)  

I - C = MBW I in Cook Co, May 31-June 1

II - L = MBW II in Lake Co, mostly June 6

II - C = MBW II in Cook Co, June 7-8

Canada Goose     I - S,C  /  II - L,C

Trumpeter Swan     I - S (Stone L)  /  II - L (county bird at Greenwood L)

Wood Duck     I - C,L  /  II - L (Sunday)

American Black Duck     I - L 

Mallard     I - S,C  /  II - L,C  

Blue-winged Teal     I - C,L 

Green-winged Teal     I - S 

Canvasback     I - L (county bird at Castle Danger) 

Ring-necked Duck     I - S,C  /  II - L,C

Lesser Scaup     I - C,L 

Long-tailed Duck     I - C 

Common Goldeneye     I - C 

Hooded Merganser     I - L  /  II - L,C     

Common Merganser     I - C 

Red-breasted Merganser     I - S,C  /  II - C

Ruffed Grouse     I - S,C  /  II - L,C          

Sharp-tailed Grouse     I - S 

Common Loon     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Horned Grebe     II - C

Red-necked Grebe     I - C 

American White Pelican     II - C (Grand Marais on Friday)

American Bittern     I - S  /  II - L (Sunday)

Great Blue Heron     I - C (only if you showed up on time at 5:30) 

Turkey Vulture     I - S  /  II - L,C

Osprey     I - S,C  

Bald Eagle     I - C  /  II - C

Broad-winged Hawk     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Red-tailed Hawk     II - C

Sandhill Crane     I - S 

Black-bellied Plover     I - L (first of 5 migrant shorebirds at Castle Danger)   

Killdeer     I - S,C,L  /  II - C 

Spotted Sandpiper     I - C,L  /  II - C

Lesser Yellowlegs     I - L  

Upland Sandpiper     I - S (along the shrike road) 

Dunlin     I - L  

Least Sandpiper     I - L  

Semipalmated Sandpiper     I - L  

Wilson's Snipe     I - S  /  II - L (Sunday)

American Woodcock     I - C  /  II - C (Pincushion Overlook on both MBWs)

Ring-billed Gull     I - S,C  /  II - C 

Herring Gull     I - C  /  II - L,C

Rock Pigeon     II - L,C

Mourning Dove     I - S,C  /  II - C 

Northern Hawk Owl     I - S 

Great Gray Owl     I - S  /  (II? - possibly Sunday on Lake CR 3) 

Northern Saw-whet Owl     I - C 

Chimney Swift     I - C  /  II - C

Ruby-throated Hummingbird     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Belted Kingfisher     I - C 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     I - S,C  /  II - C  

Downy Woodpecker     I - C  /  II - L,C

Hairy Woodpecker     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Northern Flicker     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Pileated Woodpecker     I - C  /  II - L,C

American Kestrel     I - C  /  II - L,C

Merlin     I - C  /  II - C

Peregrine Falcon     I - L 

Olive-sided Flycatcher     I - C (heard-only by a few)  /  II - L,C

Eastern Wood-Pewee     I - C   /  II - L,C

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher     I - S,C  /  II - C 

Alder Flycatcher     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Least Flycatcher     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Eastern Phoebe     I - C 

Great Crested Flycatcher     I - S 

Eastern Kingbird     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Loggerhead Shrike     I - S 

Blue-headed Vireo     I - C  /  II - L,C

Philadelphia Vireo     I - C (call notes heard by Mary)  /  II - C (pair at a nest by the Hoffmans')

Red-eyed Vireo     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Gray Jay     II - C (why so few?)

Blue Jay     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Black-billed Magpie     I - S 

American Crow     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Common Raven     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Tree Swallow     I - S,C,L  /  II - L 

Bank Swallow     II - L (Sunday)

Cliff Swallow     I - S 

Barn Swallow     I - S,L  /  II - L,C

Black-capped Chickadee     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Boreal Chickadee     II - L

Red-breasted Nuthatch     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Brown Creeper     II - L,C

House Wren     I - S 

Winter Wren     I - C  /  II - L,C (heard-only both MBWs)

Sedge Wren     I - S 

Golden-crowned Kinglet     I - S,C  /  II - C 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Eastern Bluebird     II - L (Sunday)

Veery     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Swainson's Thrush     I - C  /  II - L,C

Hermit Thrush     I - C  /  II - L,C

American Robin     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Gray Catbird     I - S,C  /  II - C 

Brown Thrasher     I - S 

Northern Mockingbird     II - C

European Starling     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Cedar Waxwing     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Ovenbird     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Northern Waterthrush     I - C  /  II - L,C

Golden-winged Warbler     I - S 

Black-and-white Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Tennessee Warbler     I - C (only 1)  /  II - L,C (several in Lake, 1 in Cook)

Nashville Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Connecticut Warbler     I - S (heard-only twice)  /  II - L (heard & seen by all)

Mourning Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Common Yellowthroat     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

American Redstart     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Cape May Warbler     II - L,C (total of 3 seen)

Northern Parula     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Magnolia Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Bay-breasted Warbler     I - C (heard-only) 

Blackburnian Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Yellow Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Chestnut-sided Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Black-throated Blue Warbler     I - C  /  II - C

Pine Warbler     II - L

Yellow-rumped Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Black-throated Green Warbler     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Canada Warbler     I - C  /  II - L,C

Wilson's Warbler     I - C 

Chipping Sparrow     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Clay-colored Sparrow     I - S,L  /  II - L

Savannah Sparrow     I - S  /  II - L (Sunday)

Song Sparrow     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Lincoln's Sparrow     I - C  /  II - L,C

Swamp Sparrow     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

White-throated Sparrow     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Dark-eyed Junco     I - C (Grand Marais migrant)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Indigo Bunting     II - L (Sunday)

Bobolink     I - S /  II - L (Sunday)

Red-winged Blackbird     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Eastern Meadowlark     I - L (Beaver Bay on Friday) 

Western Meadowlark     I - S (along the shrike road)

Brewer's Blackbird     I - S

Common Grackle     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Brown-headed Cowbird     I - C  / II - L,C (county birds for some?) 

Baltimore Oriole     I - C (seen by ? in Grand Marais)   

Purple Finch     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

American Goldfinch     I - S,C  /  II - L,C 

Evening Grosbeak     I - C (seen by Deb)  /  II - C (pair seen by all)

House Sparrow     I - S

*          *          *

Sax-Zim Bog pre-MBW ~ July 3, 2009 

Lake County MBW ~ July 4-5, 2009


I would like to thank you all for joining me on this combined Minnesota Birding Weekend. It was great that most of the group were able experience both the Sax-Zim Bog and Lake County in the summer time. Except for the Connecticut Warblers and the flycatchers, it seemed that most of the birds were still singing strongly throughout the day. The maps and advanced scouting that Kim had done in the area was a great help and I think most of the group got to see some parts of the state that they had never been in before.  


Some of the highlights from the Sax-Zim Bog were the pair of Sandhill Cranes along CR 7, all the birds found on CR 133 east of Highway 53, the silent Yellow-bellied Flycatcher found along Owl Ave., the pair of Boreal Chickadees, especially the one that hung around on the tops of the conifers along the road, all 12 species of warblers observed that day, the singing Le Conte's Sparrow in downtown Zim, and the Bobolinks observed feeding young.


The highlights from the Lake County portion of the trip included the Timber Wolf; unfortunately, it was only seen by Ron. But if you count heard-only birds on your list, I think everyone can put down a heard-only Timber Wolf, which was heard by the entire group as it crashed through the forest taking the shortcut down Oberg Mountain. Also on that note was the unauthorized excursion into Cook County on Sunday to pick up the Black-throated Blue Warbler, which we had missed at Tettegouche State Park on Saturday. And the Black-throated Blues did not let us down, giving us some of the best looks that I have ever had, and by the end of the loop no less than 5 males had been heard singing. Other highlights were found at Crosby-Manitou State Park, along CR 7, and CR 2, in addition to the birds that were observed at Tettegouche State Park. 


Many of the birds were life birds, and there were many new county birds for those who track birds by the county. It was very exciting to be with Ron when he became only the fourth birder that I am aware of to see 150 different species of birds in all 87 counties.

–Craig Mandel


BIRD LIST (97 species)

Cook County = Co (19 species) 

Lake County = La (73 species)

St. Louis County = St (74 species)


Canada Goose - La

Wood Duck - La

Mallard - St, La

Ring-necked Duck - La

Ruffed Grouse - St

Common Loon - St, La

Double-crested Cormorant - La

Great Blue Heron - St

Turkey Vulture - St, La, Co

Osprey - La

Bald Eagle - La

Northern Harrier - St

Northern Goshawk - La

Broad-winged Hawk - La, Co

Red-tailed Hawk - St

American Kestrel - St, La

Merlin - La

Virginia Rail - La

Sandhill Crane - St

Killdeer - St

Wilson's Snipe - St

Herring Gull - La

Mourning Dove - St

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - La

Belted Kingfisher - La

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - St, La 

Downy Woodpecker - St, La, Co

Hairy Woodpecker - St, La

Northern Flicker - St, La

Pileated Woodpecker - St, La

Eastern Wood-Pewee - St

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - St

Alder Flycatcher - St, La

Least Flycatcher - St, La, Co

Eastern Phoebe - St, La

Eastern Kingbird - St

Blue-headed Vireo - St, La

Red-eyed Vireo - St, La, Co

Blue Jay - St, La

American Crow - St, La

Common Raven - St, La

Tree Swallow - St, La, Co

Bank Swallow - La

Barn Swallow - St

Cliff Swallow - St

Black-capped Chickadee - St, La

Boreal Chickadee - St

Red-breasted Nuthatch - St, La

White-breasted Nuthatch - St, La

House Wren - La

Winter Wren - St, La, Co

Sedge Wren - St

Golden-crowned Kinglet - St, La

Ruby-crowned Kinglet - La

Eastern Bluebird - St

Veery - St, La

Hermit Thrush - St, La, Co

American Robin - St, La, Co

Gray Catbird - St, La

European Starling - St, La

Cedar Waxwing - St, La

Golden-winged Warbler - La (heard-only by Lee at Tettegouche State Park)

Nashville Warbler - St, La

Northern Parula - St, La

Yellow Warbler - St, La

Chestnut-sided Warbler - St, La

Magnolia Warbler - St, La

Black-throated Blue Warbler - Co (Oberg Mountain)

Yellow-rumped Warbler - St, La

Black-throated Green Warbler - La, Co 

Blackburnian Warbler - La

Pine Warbler - La

Palm Warbler - St

Black-and-white Warbler - St, La

American Redstart - La, Co 

Ovenbird - St, La, Co

Northern Waterthrush - La (heard-only along CR 7)

Mourning Warbler - St, La, Co

Common Yellowthroat - St, La

Canada Warbler - St, La, Co

Chipping Sparrow - St, La

Savannah Sparrow - St, La

Le Conte's Sparrow - St

Song Sparrow - St, La

Lincoln's Sparrow - St

Swamp Sparrow - St, La 

White-throated Sparrow - St, La, Co

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - St, La

Bobolink - St

Red-winged Blackbird - St, La

Brewer's Blackbird - St

Common Grackle - St

Brown-headed Cowbird - St, La

Baltimore Oriole - St, Co

Purple Finch - St, La, Co

Pine Siskin - La

American Goldfinch - St, La, Co


Gray Wolf - Co

Red Squirrel - St, La, Co

Snowshoe Hare - La

Eastern Cottontail - La

Red Fox - ?

White-tailed Deer - St, La

Eastern Chipmunk - St

Gray Squirrel - St

The 2014 and 2009 MBW summaries

follow the summary of the 2016 MBWeekend.

The species in June in central & northern St. Louis County  

are similar to those in Lake County.  



JUNE 10 - 11 - 12, 2016

Well, at least we’re consistent. This was our fourth MBWeekend of the 2016-17 season, and for the fourth time we experienced uncooperative weather. Even when it wasn’t raining in the Bog on Friday morning, it was still cool and overcast enough to discourage birds from singing, and it was too late in the day for full bird activity when things brightened up around noon. Then high winds plagued us for most of the day on Saturday in Lake County, not only making it hard to hear vocalizations but also to spot anything in the windblown branches. And it was windy and too cool once again on Sunday.

Still, we managed to find a nice variety of species – a composite total of 119 in all, with over 90 species on both the Sax-Zim pre-MBW and the main Lake County MBW. Considering that almost all our birding was concentrated in the boreal forest with very little time spent looking for wetlands and grasslands birds, I’d say these numbers are pretty respectable. There was certainly quality as well among all this quantity, though some of our best birds were not as cooperative as we would have liked.

A calling Black-billed Cuckoo at our meeting place Friday morning was about the first species of the entire weekend, but it refused to show itself. Also heard-only that day was a Great Gray giving intermittent calls from posted private land along Owl Ave, our only Connecticut Warbler singing endlessly from somewhere in the tamaracks away from the same road, and an invisible Boreal Chickadee calling only once along Arkola that never showed itself.

Then in Lake Co, another uncooperative Black-backed briefly appeared for only a few of us to see near the Sand River (and the one scouted out on the Whyte Rd a few days earlier failed to reappear), yet another Boreal Chickadee called only once and was never visible, and only Lon and a few others were able to see/hear the Black-throated Blue at Tettegouche that never reappeared for the rest of the group.

Despite these few disappointments, though, there were several highlights. In Sax-Zim there were the surprising Sharp-tailed Grouse flying by us on Racek Rd in late morning, a completely unexpected Red-shouldered Hawk circling over Admiral Rd, and both Black-backed Woodpecker on McDavitt Rd and Le Conte’s Sparrow on Stone Lake Rd cooperating for Jim’s group. And in Lake Co – the very obliging E Whip-poor-will (with orange eyeballs!) posing in the open close by in our flashlight beam in Silver Bay, a calling Olive-sided Flycatcher offering extended views near the Sand River, and that Scarlet Tanager in full sunlight on a snag in Tettegouche.

And there were plenty of warblers, everyone’s favorite group. Of the 24 species which breed in NE Minnesota, we saw 22 of them, with only Bay-breasted (hard to hear their soft song in the wind and detect their movements in the swaying trees) and Wilson’s (uncommon and quite local) eluding us. We heard at least 15 Cape Mays (all but 2 of these on Stoney River Forest Rd) and probably 15-20 Tennessees – both species are normally scarce to absent in summer when an average day’s total is 0 or 1. Also noteworthy were Golden-wingeds along McDavitt in Sax-Zim and at the park in Finland, a few cooperative and visible Mournings, the hard-to-find Palm singing in Sax-Zim, and especially great looks at a Canada in Tettegouche.

Bird List (composite total = 119 species)

S = June 10 Sax-Zim Bog pre-MBW, St Louis Co (96 species)

L = June 11-12 Lake County MBW (93 species)

Canada Goose        S,L

Trumpeter Swan        S

Wood Duck        S,L

Mallard        S,L

Blue-winged Teal        L

Northern Shoveler        L

Ring-necked Duck        S,L

Lesser Scaup        S

Common Goldeneye        L

Hooded Merganser        S

Ruffed Grouse        L

Sharp-tailed Grouse        S

Common Loon        S,L

American Bittern        L (heard-only)

Great Blue Heron        S,L

Turkey Vulture        S,L

Osprey        S

Bald Eagle        S,L

Northern Harrier        S,L

Sharp-shinned Hawk        S,L

Red-shouldered Hawk        S

Broad-winged Hawk        S,L

Red-tailed Hawk        S

Sandhill Crane        S

Killdeer        S

Spotted Sandpiper        S,L

Wilson's Snipe        S,L

Herring Gull        L

Mourning Dove        S,L

Black-billed Cuckoo        S (heard-only)

Great Gray Owl        S (heard-only)

Common Nighthawk        L

Eastern Whip-poor-will        L

Chimney Swift        S,L

Ruby-throated Hummingbird        S,L

Belted Kingfisher        S,L

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker        S,L

Downy Woodpecker        L

Hairy Woodpecker        S,L

Black-backed Woodpecker        S,L

Northern Flicker        S,L

Pileated Woodpecker        L

American Kestrel        S,L

Olive-sided Flycatcher        S,L

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher        S,L

Alder Flycatcher        S,L

Least Flycatcher        S,L

Eastern Phoebe        S,L

Great Crested Flycatcher        S

Eastern Kingbird        S

Blue-headed Vireo        L

Red-eyed Vireo        S,L

Gray Jay        S,L

Blue Jay        S,L

Black-billed Magpie        S

American Crow        S,L

Common Raven        S,L

Tree Swallow        S,L

Cliff Swallow        S

Barn Swallow        S,L

Black-capped Chickadee        S,L

Boreal Chickadee        S,L (heard-only)

Red-breasted Nuthatch        S,L

White-breasted Nuthatch        S

Brown Creeper        L (heard-only)

Winter Wren        L (heard-only)

Sedge Wren        S

Golden-crowned Kinglet        S,L

Ruby-crowned Kinglet        S,L

Eastern Bluebird        S,L

Veery        S,L

Swainson's Thrush        L

Hermit Thrush        S,L (heard-only)

American Robin        S,L

Gray Catbird        S

European Starling        S,L

Cedar Waxwing        S,L

Ovenbird        S,L

Northern Waterthrush        S,L

Golden-winged Warbler        S,L

Black-and-white Warbler        S,L

Tennessee Warbler        L

Nashville Warbler        S,L

Connecticut Warbler        S (heard-only)

Mourning Warbler        S,L

Common Yellowthroat        S,L

American Redstart        S,L

Cape May Warbler        L

Northern Parula        L

Magnolia Warbler        S,L

Blackburnian Warbler        S,L

Yellow Warbler        S,L

Chestnut-sided Warbler        S,L

Black-throated Blue Warbler        L

Palm Warbler        S

Pine Warbler        L

Yellow-rumped Warbler        S,L

Black-throated Green Warbler        S,L

Canada Warbler        L

Chipping Sparrow        S,L

Clay-colored Sparrow        S

Savannah Sparrow        S,L

Le Conte's Sparrow        S

Song Sparrow        S,L

Lincoln's Sparrow        S,L

Swamp Sparrow        S,L (heard-only)

White-throated Sparrow        S,L

Dark-eyed Junco        L

Scarlet Tanager        L

Rose-breasted Grosbeak        L

Bobolink        S,L

Red-winged Blackbird        S,L

Eastern Meadowlark        S

Brewer's Blackbird        S

Common Grackle        S,L

Brown-headed Cowbird        S

Baltimore Oriole        S

Purple Finch        S,L

American Goldfinch