Feb 14 2014

Call Me Crazy

Published by at 5:00 am under Birds of Prey,Travel

Great gray owl at Sax Zim Bog (photo by Jessica Botzan).

I am really tired of cold weather and the effort it takes to walk around in heavy clothes and boots.  I can hardly wait for spring and yet ... I flew north yesterday to the Arrowhead of Minnesota where the high temperatures are lower than Pittsburgh's lows, the lows have been -30F, and it snowed six inches yesterday.  What was I thinking?

Well, I have a list of northern birds I've never seen and my best chance to find them is at the Sax Zim Bog Birding Festival this weekend in Meadowlands, Minnesota.

Jess and Brian Botzan were here last month and saw all the birds on my wish list: great gray owl, northern hawk owl, boreal chickadee, black-billed magpie, gray jay and pine grosbeak.  Braving -50F wind chill Jess photographed this great gray owl at the very bog where I'll be looking for one today.  I hope to be so lucky.

So I've put on my long johns, corduroys, ski pants, turtleneck, thick wool sweater, polarlite cardigan, parka, Nordic earflap hat, two layers of mittens, wool socks, Sorel boots, face mask, bula and "Hot Hands" heat packets stuffed near my toes and fingers.  I look and feel like a purple Pillsbury dough-boy but I am not cold.

My husband, who is too nearsighted to enjoy birding, has wisely stayed home.

Call me crazy.  😉


(photo by Jessica Botzan)

p.s. Thanks to Jess Botzan who's providing photos from her trip to illustrate my expedition.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Call Me Crazy”

  1. Anne Marieon 14 Feb 2014 at 6:08 am

    Have fun Kate and good luck on your quest!

  2. Donnaon 14 Feb 2014 at 9:16 am

    Good luck Kate on your search & enjoy your trip!

  3. Kittyon 14 Feb 2014 at 11:26 am

    Good luck Kate! I hope you put together a slide show of the birds you get to see in Meadowlands! And, stay warm!!

  4. George Bercikon 14 Feb 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Kate, having spent significant time in the North Country over the last 50- years or so,
    I’m familiar with the places mentioned and have seen most of the birds listed. However,
    never have I been there in midwinter. My September– October experiences provided me with sufficient winter- like experiences to satisfy me. This calendar period could be
    called the pre- ice fishing period. Shortly thereafter EVERYBODY is an icefisherperson,
    until the ice is gone…….. about May 1st. The territory from Duluth to NW Ontario,via
    Virginia,Cook, Orr, International Falls,Sioux Falls,Kenora,and points north is truly magical where the majority of the “land” area is water. Lakes, streams & wetlands. It
    is all wonderful, and I salute you for taking it on in the dead of winter. You’ll need to devise a method to keep your hands warm while operating your optics. (hand warmers)Maybe you will consider Sept.- Oct. next time. Call if you need a good guide. Wishing you a wonderful and successful trip.

  5. kcon 14 Feb 2014 at 1:18 pm

    What a beautiful bird!

    Yes, weather is relative. I found this photo essay online and think of it when I feel the gloom of winter nagging at me. “Buck up,” I tell myself.



  6. Bethon 14 Feb 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Love the adventure! Hope you have good viewing. I was super lucky at little old North Park to stumble upon an incredible owl not 5 feet from me and at eyelevel. Of course I did not have a camera at the ready. He was about 18 inches and we were guessing a barred owl (though his face mask in my memory was much darker than photos). I got a good eye-to-eye for several minutes before he flew up into the trees. About 3-1/2 ft wingspan. We’ll be heading back to that trail (near the Latadomi nature center) again with hopes of seeing him!

  7. Janet Campagnaon 14 Feb 2014 at 6:10 pm

    You go, girl! Chase your dreams, rock that purple, and remember “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Good luck!

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