Winter Photo Roundup 2022-2023

March 22, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

It is hard to believe that spring is here. That does’t mean there aren’t a few more snowstorms on their way, or some bitterly cold mornings waiting for us. But according to the calendar, we have officially left winter. While I try to create these posts with some level of frequency, it has already been three months since my last post therefore it is time for the 2022/2023 winter photo roundup. It seems like just  yesterday I was putting together the “Fall Photo Round Up.” 

Winter is almost synonymous with owl season. Leafless trees make it easier to spot our feathered friends and winter is mating season for all of our local owl species. In addition, several other owl species migrate into Minnesota from Canada, making winter a prime opportunity to spot some unique owls. I was able to make two visits to a popular birding area in northern Minnesota that is known for great gray owls, northern hawk owls, and other unique bird species. Great gray owl numbers seemed to be down this year as sightings were few and far between, but I managed to get lucky and walked away with several photos of the “phantom of the north.” On my second visit, I was treated to views of a northern hawk owl that had taken up residence in the area. These little owls migrate from Canada and are unique in that they tend to be quite active during the day, finding tall perches from which to hunt. In addition to these two owl species, I was able to photograph several bird species that spend their winters in northern Minnesota including evening grosbeaks, pine grosbeaks, pine siskin, and more. 

DSC00887-Enhanced-NRDSC00887-Enhanced-NRGreat gray owl, Sax Zim Bog, MN DSC00736-Enhanced-NRDSC00736-Enhanced-NRGreat gray owl, Sax Zim Bog, MN DSC03399DSC03399Northern Hawk Owl, Sax Zim Bog, Minnesota DSC03017DSC03017Evening grosbeak, Sax Zim Bog, Minnesota DSC03063DSC03063Hairy woodpecker, Sax Zim Bog, Minnesota DSC03038DSC03038Pine Siskin, Sax Zim Bog, Minnesota

I even managed to get a photo of a snowy owl this winter. Although the struggle continues to photograph one on a natural perch. Nonetheless, the setting sun creating a beautiful pink sky and it was a treat to spend some time with this owl.

DSC01540DSC01540Snowy Owl, Superior, WI

Locally most of my efforts focused on owls. Early in the winter I was able to photograph some long eared owls following a snowstorm. Snow clung to the branches, creating a perfect wintry scene for framing these elusive owls. 

DSC09947DSC09947Long eared owl, Hennepin County, MN DSC00083DSC00083Long eared owl, Hennepin County, MN
 

WIth the help of some friends, I was able to locate barred, great horned, and eastern screech owls in some new locations. Finding owls this time of year in tree cavities is always exciting as the hope is these locations are nesting sites that will have owlets show up in them over the next few months.

DSC08460DSC08460Eastern screech owl, Minneapolis, MN DSC06507DSC06507Eastern screech owl, Minneapolis, MN DSC05146DSC05146Barred owl, Eden Prairie, MN DSC05989DSC05989Great horned owl, Minneapolis, MN DSC07572DSC07572Great horned owl, Minneapolis, MN

I can’t let winter come and go without at least one trip up the north shore. The icy landscapes offer unique and stunning views of Lake Superior. I was able to visit several of my favorite locations along the shore, capturing some of my favorite sunrise and sunset photos to date. Of course I made a valiant effort to find some moose as well, but came up short. At least I was looking in the right spots as evidenced by the numerous tracks we found. Unfortunately that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

DSC04706DSC04706Grand Marais lighthouse, Grand Marais, MN DSC04149DSC04149Horseshoe Bay, Hovland, MN DSC03553DSC03553Hollow Rock, Grand Portage, Minnesota DSC01091DSC01091Ice along Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls State Park, MN DSC04029DSC04029Horseshoe Bay, Hovland, MN

And last but not least, eagles are always a “must see” during the winter. As the water freezes throughout the state, eagles will gather along open stretches of the St. Croix, Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. Believe it or not, it was a warmer winter this year, leading to more open water and a lower concentration of eagles. Nonetheless, I was able to get some shots after a particularly cold stretch where approximately 30 eagles had gathered around some open water in Hastings.

DSC02403DSC02403Juvenile bald eagle, Hastings, MN DSC02209DSC02209Juvenile bald eagle, Hastings, MN

Hard to believe winter is already leaving us. I know it’s a relief for many, but personally I'm a little sad to see it go. As always, thank you for taking the time to read this and look through the images.

 


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