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Monthly Archives: June 2019

At last weeks visit to Crex Meadows we encountered quite a few White-tailed Deer. This faun was right along the road and we didn’t see any adult around. Many of the deer were standing in ponds eating. There quite a few insects around so maybe they were trying to fend them off. The last photo caught one in an embarrassing moment.

 

 

There were quite a few Trumpeter Swans around including a pair with Cignets.

We saw a few Sandhill Cranes but no young.

There were quite a few Painted Turtles around and we encountered one Blanding’s Turtle crossing the road.

There was a large family of Mergansers in Phantom Lake.

We encountered a number of Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies enjoying the flowers.

An adult Bald Eagle was sitting by the nest on Phantom Lake Road.

The end of spring and quite a few wildflowers are blooming at Crex Meadows. If you go to photograph them make sure you are protected from ticks. The seem to be out in large numbers.

Lupine and Puccoon

Lupine and Puccoon

Hoary Puccoon

White Water Lily

Indian Paintbrush

Downy Phlox

Common Yarrow

Columbine

Canadian Anemone

Blue Flag Iris

 

 

Last week at Crex Meadows we encountered a pair of Trumpeter Swans with their Cygnets. We noticed the male walking out onto the road and looking around. It appeared that he was waiting for something. Soon he crossed the road and entered the water before taking off. He didn’t fly far.

 

Soon the female came onto the road with three little ones. I got a little too close and she went into protective mode.

They finally decided to cross the road and started feeding right beside the car.

 

 

We recently stopped at Pipestone National Monument on our way to South Dakota. It was late in the day so the visit was brief. There is a loop trail in the park and we took the right branch which took us out into the rocks. Pipestone is a sacred place to the Native Americans who shared the site so they could quarry stone for their pipes.

When we reached Winnewissa Falls we discovered that the trail to the falls was closed. Apparently spring storms had damaged the bridge and the Park Service had not been able to repair it because of the high water. We backtracked to the visitors center and followed the Pipestone River back to the falls. There was quite a bit of water flowing in the river.

 

It is unusual to have a Scarlet Tananger show up at my feeders but one has been hanging around this week. I managed to get some photos of it during a heavy rain and it didn’t look all that happy.

 

There are a variety of flowers blooming this wee. The most prominent are the Wild Lupine and the Prairie Smoke. Orange Hawkweed, Goat’s Beard and Blue Flag Iris are also blooming. I used to see a lot of Blue Flag Iris around but most of it seems to have dissapeared.

I managed to photograph a few birds. I haven’t seen any Eastern Bluebirds nesting this year. Most of the nests seem to be occupied by Tree Swallows.

There were a pair of Canada Geese nesting this year. We were on a trip when they started sitting on the eggs. They were still on the nest until the end of this week. Most of the Canada Geese hatched their young two or three weeks ago and we were concerned that something was wrong. The first shot of the male was taken a couple of weeks ago. The second shot was taken of him earlier in the week when he was near the nest and looking depressed. When we went out yesterday both adult geese were gone and we couldn’t find any young. We concluded there was a problem and the young did not hatch.

Some additional wildlife around. This White-tailed Deer took of running. There were also a few butterflies around.

The grasses are also blooming in the prairie area.

 

During my last visit to Crex Meadows I was able to photograph a wide range of wildlife.

Red Squirrel

Blanding Turtle

Trumpeter Swans

Tree Swallow

Sandhill Crane

Ring-necked Pheasant

Muskrats

Bull Snake

Blue-winged Teal

We have driven past Palisades State Park many times on our way out to the Black Hills but have never stopped. Since we stayed in Pipestone for the night we had all day to get to Wall, South Dakota so we decided to drive over to Palisades in the morning. It was a beautiful day when we arrived. Unfortunately the park office wasn’t open. We wanted to purchase an annual sticker but didn’t have the correct change. We had to drive back to the highway and get change at a gas station. We filled out the form for an annual pass because we would be visiting several other parks.

We drove into the park and parked on the west side of the historic bridge. The first thing we noticed were the mosquitoes. This was our first encounter with them this summer and we were not prepared. We walked back across the historic bridge and took a photo of the palisades downstream and upstream.

We then took the Split Rock Creek Trail downstream taking some photos of the palisades and the historic bridge.

We then headed back upstream to the scenic overlook where we had a good view of the palisades downstream.

From the overlook we took the South Wall Trail along the river. Not a lot to see on this trail and there were a lot of mosquitoes.

We returned to the historic bridge and took the King and Queen Trail along the river. It was short but there were a large number of Virginia Waterleaf flowers blooming along the trail. The trail was short but it did provide a nice view of the King and Queen rock formation and the down river palisades.

We then walked back to the car and drove to the Balanced Rock Trail which gave some nice views of Balanced Rock, the King and Queen rock formation as well as the down river palisades.

 

 

I was able to photograph quite a few spring flowers on my last visit to Crex Meadows.