Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival

Can you believe it's only 2 weeks until December 1st? I've been ignoring all those holiday ads on TV lately, but realized this morning after my every-other-Tuesday meeting at work that our next meeting will be in December. Yikes! where does the time go?

So what that really means is that we're that much closer to 2010 and the third annual Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival.......where you'll get the chance to see really cool birds like this Great Gray Owl!
(Photo taken by my Sissy!)

If you plan on attending this year's festival, you'll almost certainly see a Northern Hawk Owl as there are quite a number of them showing up in northern Minnesota already this year. (this is another photo taken by my Sissy)

The 2010 Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival will begin on Friday, February 12th and run through Sunday, February 14th. This year's festival will be limited to 150 participants and you can find out more information about the festival by clicking on this link.

I attended the first festival 2 years ago with my dear blogging friend Lynne (of Hasty Brook). Lynne and I had a great time at that festival and that was the only year I managed to check off EVERY woodpecker species on my Minnesota checklist when I saw the Black-Backed Woodpecker and this Three-Toed Woodpecker (both lifers!)

This year's program is a veritable "who's who" of well-known Minnesota birders including my friend John Hockema. The excellent selection of stops during the field trips will guarantee that you'll have a chance to see these beautiful (and declining) Evening Grosbeaks.

Not to mention Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls, and if you're really lucky, a Hoary Redpoll or two.

It looks like this year's festival is going to be the best yet. Great speakers, awesome meals, incredible birding, friends, and fun. Don't let the thought of February in Minnesota intimidate you......just dress in layers like us smart Minnesotans do (you won't be forced to stand outside all day anyway and the buses will be kept running for those folks who need a warm-up).

I'm hoping that I'll be able to attend the festival with Lynne again this year and you can help me -- just go to my Etsy shop in my sidebar link and make a purchase for yourself or a gift -- all purchases will help subsidize my trip to the 2010 Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival (hey, I'm not above a little shameless self-promotion to achieve my birding goals!)


Jayne said...

Oh, those Grosbeaks! I'd melt at the sight of them! Hope you and Lynne have a wonderful time together Ruthie. ;c)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a fun time it will be at the Birding festival. I wish I could go. A three-toed woodpecker would almost get me there. I have only seen one, in AK. Were you able to go for the Acorn Woodpecker that was in MN?

eileeninmd said...

Looks like a great time birding, I wish I could be there. Love the owls and the Grosbeaks.

RuthieJ said...

Oh Jayne, it was so cool to see the Evening Grosbeaks and they posed so nicely for me!
Thanks for your order too Dear Friend! (they're going out in today's mail)

Thanks Lisa. I'm really not a bird chaser, so didn't go for the Acorn Woodpecker in MN (checked them off my lifelist when I was in California).

Hi Eileen,
Hopefully someday you can attend too. It's a really fun festival--lots of rosy cheeks and messy hat hair. I'm sure plenty of knitting will get done too!

Chicken Mama said...

Hey, Ruthie! It was interesting to hear you mention that the population of Evening Grosbeaks is declining! Do you know any more about that (the whys)?

Each year, when the less-than-a-handful of them show up at the feeder, I moan to Tom that we used to have them ALL THE TIME when I was growing up. I was assuming that we are in a location now that just isn't as attractive to them (although we're less than 20 miles, as the crow flies, from where I grew up). But, maybe that's NOT it!??

Anonymous said...

The Sax-Zim sounds so nice and a lot of fun. Birds you only see in Northern Minn are very tempting to go and see, but I will have to let you take the pictures and I can look at them. Feb is a wonderful time to go, not many want to be out in Feb in Northern Minn. Like you say dress for the weather.


Kelly said...

...I would love to catch sight of those owls. I wish you weren't so far away! I'll have to drop by your site. It really didn't dawn on me that you sold your stuff! Cool...

RuthieJ said...

Hi Chicken Mama,
The cause of their decline is not totally clear yet, but if I remember correctly, it has much to do with their summer habitat and availability of food and nesting spots as northern pine forests are sprayed for insects and/or cut down altogether.

Hi Mom,
The last time I went the weather ended up being really decent -- sunny and not too cold (OK, well some people would think 20 is pretty cold, but there was no wind and we had a very nice time).

Hi Kelly,
I wish you weren't so far away too! I think you would have a great time at this festival. Just being around so many other birders is pretty neat (as you found out at the Midwest Birding Symposium this year)

troutbirder said...

I checked the program. It sure looks like fun and knowing two of the guides is cool as well. With family circumstances there is no way I could schedule but I am determined to head up that way sometime this winter. My brother and I used to fish a lake near Melrud (part of the bog) when he lived in Ely. I remember passing thru Cotton on the way there.

Meggie said...

Great bird photos, Ruthie! The festival sounds lke a good one. I know what you mean about time flying by. I, too, can't believe it's almost December.

RuthieJ said...

It's a fun festival Troutbirder and I think it's probably the only winter birding festival that's held in a wintery spot!

Thanks Meggie. I think because we've been enjoying October weather in November, it's been easy to ignore the actual date and how late in the year it's getting already!

Taos Sunflower said...

What a magnificent creature that owl is. The photograph looks almost like a beautiful painting...good score.

Birdsong said...

Oh, I certainly do wish it weren't so far away... I will go down to Grey Lodge Wildlife area (on the Sac Valley flyway) and pretend.. though not likely I will see that owl. I had noticed that Evening Grosbeaks were declining where I live... they were dependable spring/summer flocks when I first lived in the Sierra high country over 20 years ago, and now are only occasional sightings. We lived in piney woods, making me wonder about where they winter over...

Mel said...

Hi Ruthie,
There are no birding festivals over here. Distances are large and time/money very little. But I will find a way to see more birdies soon.
next weekend I'm traveling to Argentina to FINALLY defend my thesis, had a few problems related to that but decided to ignore them until after my defense ;)
I contacted some birders there, so hopefully I'mm manage to get some birding time!