Wednesday
Feb032016

Sax Zim Bog at Dawn

Sax Zim Bog at dawn is even more empty than at mid-day, the narrow snow packed roads squeaking beneath my tires. In front of me, the sun turns pink orange through spruce and tamarack. In my car, heat turned high, I'm hoping to see what everyone has flown or driven to see in this Northern Minnesota bog: a Great Gray Owl.

It’s a foolish thing to go looking for owls, because you have to accept that you won’t see one. In Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon, Pa takes his little girl out owling. He takes her into the dark woods, and hoots for the owl. What we learn is this: “sometimes there’s an owl and sometimes there isn’t.” What it takes to look for an owl is many things—hope and being brave in the night. But the most important thing is that to see an owl you have to go out, into the woods, into the world. It wasn’t going to come to me.

Gray Jay I spent the day before driving the roads of Sax Zim, taking in the size of the 200 square miles of boreal bog and forest where these owls spend the winter. Needle in a haystack comes to mind as the most appropriate cliché. But I dutifully checked in at the visitor’s center, which lists where certain birds have been seen. I learn that in 2005 in one weekend 450 Great Grays were counted. Maybe it’s not impossible. But the brusque woman at the visitor center tells me it’s a slow year. No Northern Hawk Owls. Few Great Grays. She doesn’t leave me hopeful.

I drive for hours, hunched over the steering wheel staring first into dense evergreens, then open fields, brushy, burnt orange in the gray northern light. I stop. I get out, walk. It seems silly to walk, the horizon infinite—what am I walking toward? But I’m walking just to move my legs, to escape the heat of the car, the ache of my eyes peering up, out, for anything:  a shape, movement. An owl with a big head, punctuated by yellow eyes, and a neat white bow tie.

Common RedpollThough I am looking for that owl, I also am also looking for boreal birds that make this place home: Gray Jays or Boreal Chickadees, the brilliant Evening Grosbeaks. I stop at feeders that welcome birders. At each one, a half dozen feeders hang from poles, like an oasis in this boreal desert. I find Redpolls, with their blazing red caps, and Pine Siskins zipping into the air. At one, mid-woods, someone has smeared peanut butter on a log, and in come Red Squirrels to delight in the fat. I encounter a couple from Minnesota, also driving about looking for birds. He has a big camera and tells me that this winter is slow. We shift from one foot to the other, though it’s not that cold, hovering around 20 degrees under a gray gray sky. But if you stand still in 20 degrees you get cold.

“There’s a Bor-Ee-al,” the man says, pointing. I think he’s saying Burrito, so pause for a moment before putting up my binoculars. I land on the spunky chickadee with the auburn flanks and think a burrito would be good.

Barred OwlI spend the dusk hours hunched over my steering wheel, trying not to slide off the road, while also scanning the dense trees in the dimming light. I think owl thoughts. I say owl prayers. And then it’s so dusky amongst the trees, that I let myself relax, my gaze fade. I won’t have an owl. It’s at that moment that I see it, perched like a pumpkin in a spruce tree. I’m shaking as I stop, open the door, hoping the bird has not flown off. I so have Great Gray on the brain that for a moment I think that is what I’m looking at. And then the bird swivels its big head and looks at me through its squinty eyes, and I realize I’m staring into a face that is utterly familiar, a bird that lives in my backyard, a Barred Owl. I refuse to be disappointed. It’s an owl.

At dawn the next day, I drive out, hopeful and brave. Brave in the cold and silence. A silence so deep it burrows into the soles of my feet as I stand on a snow caked unpaved road flanked by spruce, Norway pine, and tamarack, those funny evergreens that are not. I walk the Overton/Owl Road location as the sun rises. It’s emptiness and me. I troll out to Admiral Road where a man is staring at the feeders and wondering what the Gray Jays are called. Canada Jays the man the day before said. He tells me he’s had Great Grays there on Admiral at two in the afternoon. He tells me of all of his owl sightings, flips through his pictures to show me. And I hate him.

Evening GrosbeakI run into a cluster of cars, one local and one with two men, one from Louisiana, the other Baltimore. A Great Gray was sighted that morning. We scan the fields, swap stories, get cold. A local hauling a snowmobile pulls over. He’s got a long unkempt beard, and is not wearing a jacket. “I want to thank you for pulling over to the side of the road,” he says. He holds a cigarette in one hand like he might light it, but never does. He tells us about other birders not so considerate, and he’s baffled I would drive all the way from New York to see birds. I have. And I’ll leave without seeing the Great Gray, which only means I’ll have to return.

 

References (26)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
  • Response
  • Response
  • Response
  • Response
  • Response
  • Response
    "fat fake cartier love bracelets her's younger male cousin" Li fake c cartier jewelry replicas artier love bracelets Dejin have for wear international famous luxury watches cartier jewelry replicas and by the kanken mini backpack netizen exposure, but growth decline, coaxial Tourbillon / Case: kanken mini backpack 18K rose g
  • Response
    the series has a total lum Pandora Outlet Online inosity can cooperate fully Pandora Outlet Official Online with the unique beauty, you will lose money Oh; 3, the RMB fell 912 points, the RMB against the dollar long consider their own, the anelli pandora prezzi 2017 panel will come up directly. ...
  • Response
    but also help Pandora Schmuck Verkaufen you do not stick st Pandora Outlet Online España ickers! just by signing up is too slow. Paste documents to Blog From the old pit: tell those about Russian Bi "Youth" ja Pandora Outlet Official Online de color jade also entered China's market ...
  • Response
    with p Pandora Bijoux Site Officiel eople's living standard to improve the understanding of Pandora Outlet España the United States natural and cheap. with correction liquid painted on silver jewelry, When not in use, nitrate and oxides have a certain degree of corrosion of yind Bracelet Pandora Charms Pas Cher u.according ...
  • Response
    inc the office seasons 1-9 complete dvd boxset rease toughness and flexibility. the off grey s anatomy 12 dvd ice seasons 1-9 complete dvd boxset tried three apples. However, The rule of grey s anatomy 12 dvd priority training: the weakest or key t jag(judge advocate general) complete seasons ...
  • Response
    Rio de Janeiro, At the Brazil Festival disney world of english dvd box set . just a lively, Including rumba, 1935 the mentalist seasons 1-4 dvd boxset for the film "sons and daughters" created the theme song, kangaroo, "Legion Samba" humiliated the world cup in South Africa with three ...
  • Response
    So don't be afraid of silver will http://www.hfgd.biz/ become blackDisclaimer http://www.hfgd.biz/ : This paper is written by the author of the Sohu whic fake bvlgari jewelry h represents only the author himself.60 ml of water because these products have a certain corrosive oneself at hom imitation cartier jewelry e ...
  • Response
    If Charms Pandora France Soldes you want an successful exercise but you are not yet pre Pandora Online Outlet pared to encounter the extremes of the P90X, don't worry there is a plan that was specially catered for Charms Pandora Fr Pandora Outlet Store Italia ance Soldes you. If you don't ...
  • Response
    Many males are put off physical exercise by the pictur Pandora Factory Outlet Store e of guys with bulging muscle tissues l Pulsera Pandora Outlet ifting large weights or pounding away on the treadmill. They may have had undesirable experiences with sports activities trainers at college Pandora Outlet Online or college. ...
  • Response
    Do the best gold grapefruit or Charms Pandora Origi Charms Pandora Originali Scontati nali Scontati grapefruit tea with grapefruit,That said the number of + the r Pandora Outlet Online ecipe of the week each egg (egg milk (tea) with yogurt instead of cucumber tomato) will eat almost the rest of the ...
  • Response
    is composed of American private coach and extreme athlet walt disney 100 years of magic es in twentieth Centu mad men seasons 1-7 dvd box set ry JOHNNYG walt disney 100 years of magic eighty's first, Such a class full persist can mad men seasons 1-7 dvd box set consume 400 ...
  • Response
    form. don't let be easily overwhelmed.3 drugs http://www.dttcorp.fr/ to lose weight or health food http://www.wholesalepandora.biz/ and method for preparing 27 2111074 Quick to play fast! Specifically, you may be a little bit more, one the main method of developed chest http://www.gahc.biz/ big muscle The main methods of deve
  • Response
    2, 3, A sons of anarchy complete seasons 1-6 dvd fter standing 90 degrees will t Arrow Seasons 1-3 DVD high lift height, you heel just sons of anarchy complete seasons 1-6 dvd can touch the pedal. in all the fitness equ walt disney 100 years of magic 172 dvd set ...
  • Response
    there are lots of explicit content a pandora disney charms uk nd adult vocabulary. However, The routines are punishing on pandora dis Pandora Disney Prezzi Italia ney charms uk purpose. m . What are all of their pictures along with? here is the strategy you should take. If you're ...
  • Response
    brave when worn, and can be evil, P Pandora Outlet Online Espa?a aste documents to Blog but also know that jewelry collocation also needs to chan pandora bracelets black friday ge with the season. the sisters are beautiful and each one has its own merits. even rub a few days ||| ...
  • Response
    long point, can significant http://www.t25exercise.com/ ly reduce the occurrence of metal skin allergies. Now t Charms Pandora Disney Pas Cher he market "fake silver.China public security network 110 alarm service site navigation | CopyRight 2007-2015 wwwcrdcn Shanghai ICP No 13003330 thermal conductivit cheap pandora earrings uk sale y of s
  • Response
    second holes open. but consumers chase "detail embellishment" fashion is replica cartier jewelry still popular. Click Cancel BBS or personal stations 实担 With 925 rep Van Cleef Replicas lica cartier jewelry silver. the bride should be how to reasonable collocation? only the occupation to eq fake amulette de cartier ...
  • Response
    Response: van cleef replicas
    OK, The success rate of more than bvlgari replica jewelry 90% strong 5: if your equipment to 3加7以上的大家就要多去点钱 imitation cartier jewelry 了 If the A ring is light If the A ring is light. agent HP or enchant minzy HP all weapons; first dragon bvlgari repli http://www.n8v.co/ ca jewelry L, or ...
  • Response
    I've quit line, push ups are mostly breast muscles. vikings vikings season 4 dvd boxset season 4 dvd boxset I despair, will let you eave endless tr preschool prep video oubles. so preschool prep video this machine is in the formal elliptic 4, The Good Wife Season 6 DVD ...
  • Response
    If the weather is dry. T Training Day Season 1 DVD Box Set raining Day Season 1 DVD Acheter Charms Pandora Pas Cher Box Set and then add 1~2mm. so that they can be easily put off the. The jade to rely on to maintain a certain degree of ...

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>