Gray Jay-Hulbert Bog
The second day of WPBO's field trip targeted the remaining winter species we had left to see. We started off driving from the Soo and west along M-28 until we reached 3139 (Dick Road). Roads were snow covered most of the way, but several vehicles didn't care what the conditions were, including a large Semi-truck we let blazingly pass us by. At 3139, we targeted trying to see some Crossbills. We piled into three cars, as the road was only drivable with 4 or all-wheel drive vehicles. We spent awhile along this road playing both species of Crossbills calls, but got no response. As we were starting to get into our individual vehicles again at the intersection of 3139 and M-28, we started hearing some Red Crossbills around! They called for a couple of minutes and some flew over the road, but, unfortunately, none landed in some trees within view of us. We went on to the Maple Ridge Restaurant, near the intersection of 123 and M-28, where most of us stopped for coffee. A few of us went on to the Bear Butt Bar to briefly check out the feeders. There wasn't anything at the feeders, but a single male Pine Grosbeak across the road on top of a tree was giving great views. We went back to the restaurant, gathered up again, and headed towards the Hulbert Bog, which is known for Gray Jays and occasionally Boreal Chickadees. Before we got to the East-West part of the road, some feeders were scanned which had 2 Pine Grosbeaks near it. Nice views were had and at least 4 additional Pine Grosbeaks were seen down this part of the road. At the East-West portion of the road, some seed was dropped and some of us walked from the west side of the road, while others walked from the east side. The Jays have the potential to be anywhere along this East-West part of the road. We played the calls of both our target species all along the road. We frequently heard a Pileated Woodpecker calling before it finally flew close by us along the road, a spectacular male. Over an hour was spent searching for our target birds, but we weren't getting any responses. We started heading back towards the cars when all of a sudden a Gray Jay came in out of nowhere! We had excellent views of it for a long time and brief views of a second Gray Jay. One of the Jays came within 12 feet of us! It was a life bird for quite a number of people. We got in our vehicles again and tried for the Boreal Chickadee some more without success. We headed up the northern portion of Basnau Road and some of us now saw 4 Evening Grosbeaks at the feeders we had checked out earlier. We went back to the Maple Ridge Restaurant for lunch and then headed north towards Whitefish Point. On the way to Whitefish Point we made brief stops at the Bear Butt Bar and Taquamenon Rivermouth, but were unable to connect with any winter bird species. At Whitefish Point we went to the feeders to try and find a Hoary Redpoll. There were at least 30 Common Redpolls around, but we were unable to pick out a Hoary. Lake Superior was scanned for waterfowl, but we were only able to find a Red-breasted Merganser. From Whitefish Point we went down to Vermillion Road, but were unable to find anything of note. It started snowing heavily again and it was getting late, so we called an end to our fabulous trip. It was an excellent 2 days of birding, with almost all of our target species seen.
Again, if you're interested in joining on a WPBO Sault Ste. Marie winter field trip, there's still room in our 2nd, and final, trip on February 19-20, 2011. The more eyes and ears, the better! You can register here:
Here's the entire list of species seen on this Sault Ste. Marie field trip.
American Tree Sparrow