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Late summer is probably not the best time to visit Crex Meadows. The summer flowers and butterflies are gone and the Sandhill Cranes have not started their fall migration. My wife and I were a little desperate to get out. We haven’t been able to get out much because of a home remodeling project and the constant rain. The weather was looking good for a couple of days so we decided to drive up to Crex. The Northern Lights were supposed to be out and I hopped to get some star trail shots.

We drove around looking for wildlife but didn’t find a lot to photograph. There were a few Eagles perched out in the marsh but they were quite far away. There were some Pied-billed Grebes and Trumpeter Swans but they were too far away to photograph.

It was a beautiful day in the morning and early afternoon but as sunset came the clouds moved in and there was no sunset or clear skies so we called it a night.

The next morning didn’t start off much better. I had planned to get up early to photograph some star trails but decided it was going to be too cloudy. It turned out to be a good decision. This was as close as we got to a sunrise.

Phantom Lake Sunrise

Phantom Lake Sunrise

Things picked up a little later in the morning when the sun created some really nice light against the clouds and provided a little color on the horizon.

Crex Meadows

Crex Meadows

As we drove around we could hear the Sandhill Cranes off in the marsh. Soon they started to fly out to their feeding grounds. I was lucky enough to catch this family before they headed out. Although there were only about a hundred swans around there will be thousands of them during the fall migration. Check out my blog for additional fall Sandhill Crane photography information.

Sandhill Crane Family

Sandhill Crane Family

On the north side of the refuge we found a family of Trumpeter Swans near the road. We counted at least three cygnets although it was difficult to tell because they were hidden in the weeds.

Trumpeter Swan Family

Trumpeter Swan Family

As we were leaving Crex Meadows I put my camera gear away. Big Mistake! As were driving through Grantsburg near North Oak Street and Memory Lake a mama bear and three cubs ran across the road and down the sidewalk.

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