Pine Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings in Vilas County Wisconsin on February 20, 2016

I have wanted for a long time to do some northwoods birding and today it happened. John D. Ryan S, Bill G and I headed for Vilas County in the north in the early morning hours. The highlight of the day were Pine Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings near the downtown area off of 4th Street in Eagle River in a church parking lot. Both species feed in a berry tree at the same time. Both species also bathed in puddles in the parking lot. Both species put on a spectacular show for ~10-15 minutes before flying off. We worked hard for Gray Jays and Boreal Chickadees with no luck. The Pine Grosbeaks were the 300th Wisconsin state life bird for me, and what stunning birds they were! It was a cloudy gloomy day with temps in the higher 30’s most of the day. Light rain started late afternoon as we headed home. Images were taken on February 20, 2016.

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Pine Grosbeak, male

Pine Grosbeak

Binomial name: Pinicola enucleator

Category: Fringilline and Cardueline Finches and Allies

Size: 9” long, 14.5” wing span

Weight: 2 oz

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Pine Grosbeak, male

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Pine Grosbeak, female

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Pine Grosbeak, immature male

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Pine Grosbeak, immature male

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Pine Grosbeak, immature male (l), Pine Grosbeak, female adult (r)

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Pine Grosbeak, male

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Pine Grosbeak, male

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Pine Grosbeak, male

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Pine Grosbeak, male

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Bohemian Waxwing

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Bohemian Waxwings, bathing

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Bohemian Waxwings

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Bohemian Waxwings

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak, female

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak, female

Pine Grosbeak, male

Pine Grosbeak, male

Pine Grosbeak, male

Pine Grosbeak, male

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak, male

Pine Grosbeak, male

Pine Grosbeak, male eating what I think are seeds from a pine cone that have blown down, snowed on, and as the snow melts the seeds are exposed and eaten by the birds

Pine Grosbeak, female eating a pine cone seed

Pine Grosbeak, female eating a pine cone seed

Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwing

Pine Grosbeak, female

Pine Grosbeak, female

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch in Ashland County Wisconsin on March 15, 2015

6 of us, Mark K, Chris W, Ryan S, Brin, Derek S and myself made the long trip up this morning leaving Waukesha at 1:00 am with hopes to see the rare bird, the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. We arrived at the private residence well before 7:00 am. We set ourselves up a distance from the front feeders about 7:00 am waiting for our guest bird to show with bins and cameras in hand. At 7:20 the first bird to arrive at the feeders was the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. The bird ate plenty of sunflower seeds near the feeder before perching in a near by spruce tree. The bird remained in the spruce with nice views for the next 40 minutes. It then returned for more seeds and then again perched in the spruce nearby. The timing to see this bird could not have worked out better and the bird could not have been more photogenic. What makes this bird so very special is it is a western US bird that’s normal range is Colorado and west and into parts of Alaska and south to Arizona. This sighting is the 3rd state record for Wisconsin. What a beautiful bird and a life bird to boot for all of us!! What a fantastic day birding with great birders and friends. Also had the chance to meet up with a couple of great birders we have not seen for awhile. Early morning temperature was 38 degrees and cloudy. Also present Evening Grosbeaks and Pine Siskins. After that we took the 1.4 hour trek over to Superior and a try for the Gyrfalcon came up empty. The Common Eider was present at Barkers Island in it’s usual place with mallards. Many thanks to Ryan B for getting the information out on this rare birds location and thanks to the homeowners who shared it with others. Images were taken on March 15, 2015. Note: March 15, 2015 was the last day this bird was seen.

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Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Binomial name: Leucosticte tephrocotis

Category: Fringilline and Cardueline Finches and Allies

Size: 6.25” long, 13” wing span

Weight: 0.91 oz

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Back view

Back view

Side view

Side view

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At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder with a Pine Siskin, size comparison image

At the feeder with a Pine Siskin, size comparison image

At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder

At the feeder

In the spruce tree

In the spruce tree

In the spruce tree

In the spruce tree

In the spruce tree

In the spruce tree

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