Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2: Evening Grosbeak!

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl 
I spent the day with Erik Bruhnke, first driving around Superior, where we saw our first bird of the day, a Snowy Owl, in quasi-darkness in the parking lot of the Superior High School. We headed to Wisconsin Point for a short while, where we had about 70 Common Redpolls and at least FIVE Hoary Redpolls! Then we headed out to the Sax-Zim Bog.

First bird photo of the year: Hoary Redpoll!
Hoary Redpoll
My most wanted bird of the day was Evening Grosbeak, a bird that has been dangerously declining for the past decade, and is the American Birding Association's Bird of the Year. I'm thrilled that we saw 8 of them at the Blue Spruce Road feeder this morning, making this the first bird of conservation concern that I've seen on my Conservation Big Year. Evening Grosbeaks have long been one of my favorite birds, and so their dramatic drop in numbers is particularly distressing for me. 

Evening Grosbeak
Evening Grosbeak
 Lots of cool birds, ending the day with a Great Gray Owl, I brought my year total to 29. I posted all my sightings on eBird, but in a number of different checklists.

Bird of the day: Hard to choose among Hoary Redpolls (so many!), Snowy Owl (Really cooperative, though the light was crappy), Great Gray Owl (how superb!)... but I'm going with Evening Grosbeak, the only one of the bunch that is suffering egregious declines and needs continent-wide research to elucidate the reasons for its decline. 

New species today:

  1. Common Goldeneye
  2. Bald Eagle
  3. Rough-legged Hawk
  4. Snowy Owl
  5. Great Gray Owl
  6. Northern Hawk Owl
  7. Pileated Woodpecker
  8. Hairy Woodpecker
  9. Northern Shrike
  10. Gray Jay
  11. Boreal Chickadee
  12. Snow Bunting
  13. White-winged Crossbill
  14. Pine Grosbeak
  15. American Goldfinch
  16. Evening Grosbeak
Total: 29 species

Great Gray Owl
Great Gray Owl
Erik and I carpooled, going 222 miles, for a year's total of 254 miles.


  1. I know nothing about birding, but my wife and I just watched the movie The Big Year and I wondered if anyone was going to do one this year. Anyway, I'm glad I found your site and Good Luck from Boston!!

  2. Love your owl pics :O) I'm doing a big year too! Haven't been out much as of yet, because it is crazy cold out right now!

  3. I'm really jealous of your list so far! Some cool birds. And to have the Snowy Owl first! I just recently had my first sighting back in November, and am hoping to see it again this new year. Good luck on your count!