A Piliated Woodpecker has been appearing at my feeders since last fall. Until yesterday I had not been able to get a photo of her. As we drove in the driveway my wife saw her at the feeder. I assumed she would be long gone by the time we unloaded the car and shut the garage door. Fortunately when I checked the feeder she was still around. I managed to get some shots of her on the suet feeder.
On a recent hike on the Red Cedar State Trail we found some leaves that had frozen into the ice along the trail.
The Black-capped Chickadees like to hang out in an old Crab Apple Tree near the woods. On a nice warm sunny winter day I like to go out by the apple tree and photograph them. It is quite the tangled mess because the tree is covered in wild grape vines. It takes a lot of patience to wait for a bird to land on a perch with a clear photo.
On a recent visit to Duluth we decided to drive over to Pattison State Park to check on the waterfalls. Our first stop was Little Manitou Falls.
We then drove back down the road to check on Big Manitou Falls.
In the upper Midwest one of the favorite winter activities is ice fishing. This happens when the water on the lakes and rivers freezes and it is safe to walk on. Once the ice is thick enough to support ice shacks small cities appear on the ice overnight. I usually take a walk around the lake in the winter photographing the ice shacks. There are all types of shacks on the ice. Most of them are homemade and others are commercially produced. This year was a little different from previous years. At one point we saw a car driving up and down the ice with a dog following it. Apparently the owner had figured out how to exercise his dog without getting any exercise himself.
This shack was particularly interesting because it was falling apart and had garbage scattered all over the ice. There was a pile of beer cans beside the shack. One would like to think that the mess would be cleared up before the ice shack was removed but not everyone who enjoys nature really appreciates nature.
As we were looking at one of the shacks we noticed a fish on the ice. A dog came by an grabbed the fish and took off. The fisherman staggered out of his ice shack and we told him the dog had taken his fish be he didn’t seem to functioning too well and it took him a while to grasp the concept.
Looks like this one was made from some garage doors.
Even though there were three weeks before ice shacks have to be removed from the lake some people were already removing them. In fact, the next week all of them were gone because of the unseasonably warm weather.
Last week we headed out on another trip to find Bald Eagles along the Mississippi River. Just before we reached Durand, Wisconsin I noticed one sitting in a tree along the road. We turned around and went back for some shots. This is probably the best Bald Eagle shot I’ve gotten. He was right near the road and was not obstructed by any branches.
As we drove over the Bridge At Wabasha we noticed an eagle sitting in a tree next to a nest just north of the bridge. Unfortunately it was too far away for a shot. We then headed up to Reads Landing. There were a few Eagles sitting on the sand on the other side of the river but too far away for any shots. We did see a pair of Mature eagles flying around. It looked like they might be getting ready to mate. About that time a train came along and I could see that the eagles had gotten close enough to photograph but by the time the train passed they were gone. We had lunch at the Reads Landing Brewing Company. Apparently it is in the process of changing hands.
We then drove north toward Red Wing, Minnesota. There are several pull offs just north of Reads Landing so we stopped to watch the eagles fishing on the open water. One of them caught a large fish before it flew off to have lunch.
We then drove to the next turn off where another photographer was already photographing eagles. He hadn’t had much luck but just then one landed a short distance away. Unfortunately it was partially hidden by the trees.
While we were looking at the eagle another bird flew into a patch of Sumac. Turned out to be a Piliated Woodpecker.
A little further up the road we found a bunch of Mallard Ducks on a partially frozen pond.
When we reached Red Wing there were no birds around so we headed home.
A few more bird photos from Canadian Hill Farm. Unfortunately a male Red-bellied Woodpecker hit the window last week and was killed. The female is still coming to the feeders.
Bayfield, Wisconsin is a bustling place in the summer but things are generally slow during the winter. We stopped in Bayfield after the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race to have lunch with some friends. After lunch I walked around town taking some photos.
Just after lunch we walked out into the harbor and noticed that the Island Queen ferry was returning from Madeline Island. Normally this time of year there would be an ice road between Bayfield and Madeline Island. A few weeks ago there was almost enough ice but winds blew the ice out and I noticed that someone had posted a photo of open water with a pine tree floating on a chunk of ice. The locals use pine trees to mark the ice road and I noticed that it was marked again but the ice is not thick enough to hold a car.
We drove down to look at the sail boats all parked on land for the winter. There was also a Coast Guard Boat and members of the Coast Guard getting ready for some winter water rescue training.
Coast Guard Boat
Coast Guard Water Training
I have seen the Hack Noyes in Superior, Wisconsin. It is a Wisconsin DNR research vessel that is at winter layup in Bayfield.
We see White-tailed Deer walking through the yard every so often. I managed to get these photos of what appears to be an adult and a younger deer eating Canadian Goldenrod plants. They have also been checking out my Kale. I planted Kale in the garden but didn’t get to harvest much because the deer really seem to like it.
I happened to be photographing birds one day when a sudden snowsquall occurred. It was some of the heaviest snow and the largest flakes that I’ve ever seen on the farm. It only lasted for a short time but it was fun to watch. It was so heavy that I had to manually focus the camera.