Spring is starting at Hoffman Hills. There are an increasing number of birds in the wetlands area. In the past week I’ve seen bluebirds, cardinals, geese, ducks, hawks and a number of songbirds.
I was happy to see that the two geese that nest in the first of the two ponds in the wetlands area have returned and are now on the nest. The young should be hatching by the end of April. The nest is located on a small island in the first pond. One of them is usually on the nest and the other in the water.
I also saw a Muskrat in the first pond. He was along the shore and headed for the water when I approached. He also went out to the island in the pond.
The water levels in the ponds are the lowest I’ve seen them for this time of year.
The pussy willows are in full bloom throughout the wetlands areas although some of them are already past their peak.
The warm weather this week should really bring out the buds in the trees. You should be able to see some nice spring colors from the tower. I almost prefer the colors of spring to those of the fall.
More photos of Hoffman Hills.
There are a variety of things to see along the trail. Keep in mind that the trail is not open to bikes so you will need to walk the trail. Please walk along side the trail so you don’t damage the trail surface while it is still wet.
At the 1.5 mile mark you can see eagles on their nest. Just past the first bridge, walking from Menomonie, you will encounter sandstone cliffs on the west side of the trail. These are the cliffs that form the ice wall in the winter. Toward the south end of the cliffs if you look across the river you will see the nest near the top of a lone pine tree. Both parents were on the nest.You should bring your binoculars for a good view of the nest.
As mentioned on an earlier post the Skunk Cabbage is blooming just north of Irvington. Also at the Irvington Bridge I notice that a number of swallows have returned.
At the 4 mile mark on the trail in the wetlands I saw 8 Sandhill Cranes. They frequent this area throughout the summer and they just arrived from their winter home. If you listen you will hear them calling. Also noted in the area were some Pheasants and Turkeys.
Recent photos from the trail.
The first sign of spring around here is the blooming of the Skunk Cabbage. It’s a little early this year with spring still a week away. I found them just north of the Irvington parking area on the west side of the trail. The warm weather we had the past week really gave the cabbage a boost. The trail is currently closed to biking because it is still wet but if you are careful you can walk along the side of the trail.
I just received word that two of my photos entered into the 2010 Wisconsin Trails Photo contest received the editor’s choice award.
This Is a photograph taken during the spring melt along the Red Cedar State Trail. I had noticed a lot of tension in the water along the reeds in a small puddle of water next to the trail. When I had a chance to examine the photo I realized that the reflections in the water were also an important part of the photograph.
I think I can
I think I Can
This is a photograph of a Painted Turtle taken at Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area. I had gone to the area to photograph milkweed seed pods on a very warm November day. As I walked along the ponds I started to see frogs and then a number of turtles. The turtles slipped into the water as I approached. I setup the camera under a willow tree and waited to see if they would return. After a few minutes I noticed heads popping up in the water. I took a series of photos of this particular turtle as it tried to climb back on the log. Just after this shot the turtle fell backwards into the water.