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11/24/08 - Carlos Avery WMA and O'Brien State Park

Posted Tuesday 25th November 2008 at 04:46 by bkrownd
Updated Tuesday 25th November 2008 at 04:49 by bkrownd
The forecast was bad, so I didn't make any big trip plans, but the weather was actually frustratingly nice. I wanted to go North to St. Croix State Park, but the bad forecast scared me off. I took a look at nearby Carlos Avery WMA, near Forest Lake. It's a large wetland complex, with a network of open wooded islands and ridges among the bogs. It could be a good area to visit in the summer. Unfortunately these habitats are abandoned in the winter. After lunch I went down to the St. Croix River to see if I could find a conifer forest near the river that might be more active. There were stands of pines with a lot of cones at O'Brien State Park, but they were very quiet. I should have just gone back to Lake Vadnais instead.

Well, the Minnesota leg of the trip did get off to a good start fast, with wonderful weather. I got most of my target list very quickly. Common redpoll, pine siskin, American tree sparrow and white-winged crossbill. After the fast start I became a wimp in the face of the bad forecasts of the last couple of mornings and slept in, so I'm disappointed I didn't get back up near Duluth again to try to find black-backed woodpeckers. Would have got up there if I were feeling 100%.

I am now in La Crosse, WI for a week. Unfortunately I'm without wheels here, so I'll be confined to a suburban area. I think I've seen just about every winter bird to be seen here in the previous two years, so I'm not expecting much, but I'll be wandering the patch of forest down the block just to get out of the house as much as possible. The weather is supposed to be spectacular. :) Last year the only new species I managed were tufted titmouse and cooper's hawk.
Total Comments 3


Winter birding in the northern U.S. is not terribly exciting. I was in Janesville, WI last March and was happy to find a good spot with some birds of any kind. You might try contacting a local Wild Birds Unlimited store or Audubon Society to get tips on where to find stuff in town. I was in Duluth in winter on business and had one morning for birding. I went into WBU and explained that I was a Californian who needed to see a Redpoll. They directed me to the feeders of a local resident.
Posted Tuesday 25th November 2008 at 17:28 by emupilot emupilot is offline
bkrownd's Avatar
Ah, but winter is when all the mystical boreal tweeters come to visit us! What could be more exciting than that? :)
Posted Tuesday 25th November 2008 at 20:51 by bkrownd bkrownd is offline
Dale Forbes's Avatar
... and surely you also get some of those crazy cold-loving ducks and geese
Posted Friday 28th November 2008 at 12:39 by Dale Forbes Dale Forbes is offline
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