2025 Minnesota – Sax-Zim Bog, Boreal Specialties, and Owls

from $2,780
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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Challenging
  • Group Size Medium Group
All about the 2025 Minnesota – Sax-Zim Bog, Boreal Specialties, and Owls Tour.

One of the best places for owls in the US winter is in Duluth, Minnesota. This is our destination for this Birding Tour USA adventure. Up here there is a chance for irruptive Owls like Snowy and Boreal plus Great Grey and Northern Saw-whet, as well as other irruptive species like crossbills, Evening and Pine Grosbeaks, Ruffed and Spruce Grouse, Common Redpoll, American Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers, plus other winter denizens.

We will take a maximum of seven participants. On rare occasion we may extend the maximum to ten participants.

Duration: 6 days
Limit: 4 – 8
Date: 20 January – 25 January 2025
Start: Duluth, MN
End: Duluth, MN

US$2780 per person sharing assuming 4 – 8 participants
Single supplement: US$430

We can run the same trip at a price similar to the larger group price for 2 tour participants, if they rent their own vehicle and pay for fuel – please e-mail [email protected] for details.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Meals
  • Accommodation
  • Guiding fees
  • Entrance fees
  • All transport while on tour
  • Tolls
Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Domestic and International flights
  • Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Personal insurance
  • Laundry Service
  • Gratuities
  1. Day 1 Canal Park and Wisconsin Point

    If there is time we’ll bird around the Duluth area till dinner. We’ll try Canal Park and Wisconsin Point landfill for Thayer’s Gull, Glaucous Gull, and possibly Iceland Gull.  We might also see Great Black-backed Gull as well.  Then at dusk we’ll look for Snowy Owl in the Duluth-Superior harbor.

    Overnight: Days Inn, Duluth

  2. Day 2 Sax-Zim Bog

    Today we’ll bird Sax-Zim Bog for Sharp-tailed Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Rough-legged Buzzard (Hawk), Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, Great Grey Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Great Grey Shrike, Canada Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Black-billed Magpie, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll, Two-barred (White-winged) Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Snow Bunting, and Evening Grosbeak.

    Overnight: Days Inn, Duluth

  3. Day 3 Lake County, Ely or Two Harbors

    Today we’ll visit Lake County to try for Spruce Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Great Grey Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, Northern Goshawk, Great Grey Shrike, and Bohemian Waxwing. We’ll also check Ely or Two Harbors for Canada Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Three-toed Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll, Two-barred (White-winged) Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and Evening Grosbeak.

    Overnight: Days Inn, Duluth

  4. Day 4 North Shore to Grand Marais

    We’ll leave Duluth and bird our way to Grand Marais along the north shore of Lake Superior. We’ll keep our eyes out for Sharp-tailed Grouse, Ruffed  Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Rough-legged Buzzard (Hawk), Great Grey Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, Snowy Owl, Canada Jay, Great Grey Shrike, Snow Bunting, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll, Two-barred (White-winged) Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, and Pine Siskin.
    Making our way up the North Shore to Grand Marais along Hwy 61, we will have a chance for Long-tailed Duck and possibly some scoter species. We will see Common and Red-breasted Mergansers and Common Goldeneye here too. There is an outside chance for Harlequin Duck.

    Overnight: Grand Marais

  5. Day 5 Gunflint Trail and North Shore of Lake Superior

    Cook County – Grand Marais. We’ll hit the Gunflint Trail and locations along the north shore of Lake Superior today, looking for Spruce Grouse, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker, and several of the wintering finches like Common Redpoll, Evening Grosbeak, and Pine Grosbeak.  Possible finds here will include both Red and Two-barred (White-winged) Crossbills and Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll, or Purple Finch, Boreal Chickadee, Canada Jay, Bohemian Waxwing, Great Grey  Shrike, and Northern Goshawk. There is an outside chance for Boreal Owl, Great Grey Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, Varied Thrush, or Townsend’s Solitaire.  Along Lake Superior we hope to come across Long-tailed Duck, Common Merganser, Common Goldeneye, and Red-breasted Merganser. Both Glaucous Gull and Thayer’s Gull are possible here too.

    Overnight: Grand Marais

  6. Day 6 Heading Home

    We’ll make our way back to Duluth to catch our flights home.

Your Guide: Jacob Roalef

Tours: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Wyoming, Birding Ecotours (Worldwide)

  1. How cold will it get on the trip - Really?

    Minnesota winters can be very harsh. Temperatures can drop quickly, and it can be challenging to remain outdoors for more than a few minutes at a time. Dress in layers, and wear cold-weather gear – thermal underclothes, insulated gloves, hat, scarf, etc.

    Other than during short excursions, we will always have the vehicle nearby for anyone that needs a break to get warm.

  2. Will we do any birding the first day?

    YES! – Assuming that everyone’s flight arrives before dark. One of our first targets is only a few minutes from from the airport.

  3. How should I dress for the tour?

    See question one above, and check the weather for the destination as close to your departure date as possible, and dress accordingly for your comfort level. You can also review our What to Bring page for more information.

  4. Besides clothes, what do I need to bring?

    There are many items the will be useful to you while on a Bird Treks tour. We have put together our list of recommendations on the What to Bring page.

  5. What language are tours conducted in?

    Our tours are all conducted in English, but we do have some experience working with client that don’t speak English well – Some English would be needed for safety reasons. In locations where another language is predominately spoken, a native guide may accompany the tour.

  6. Can you help me book flights?

    Yes, we will always try our best to help with anything at all! We’re here to serve you. However, it is usually easier if you book your flight through your own travel agent as we can’t always get the best deals from your particular country. But we will help whenever needed!

  7. Can you book accommodation for us the night before the tour starts or the night the tour ends?

    While Day 1 is usually a travel (arrival) day, and the last day of the tour is usually also a travel day (departure), many people do like to arrive early and/or leave late. We can indeed book extra nights before and after the trip, and we in fact recommend you let us book them, as it avoids confusion and allows us to book the accommodation that is most convenient for the tour.

    NOTE: Most often it is the same hotel or lodge that you use on the first night of the tour, but in some instances, it could be an airport hotel or an accommodation establishment where the guide is staying.

  8. Do you provide trip insurance?

    No, we do not. We find that it is better for trip participants to purchase their own medical, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance through their own insurance provider in the country they reside in. We expect all tour participants to have comprehensive insurance, and we encourage everyone to send us a copy of their insurance documents.

  9. Are meals included?

    For most tours, meals are included in the tour price. This may include a hotel-provided breakfast, or guide-provided box lunches. For dinners, we strive to find interesting and delicious local restaurants – this allows us to give back to the local economy, and find exciting new place to eat.