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Category Archives: Bald Eagle

Typically when we drive out to Wisconsin Point in the summer we are able to spot some Bald Eagles. On our last trip we saw over a dozen of them. There were five of them in one tree. It looked like the two adults along with their three fledglings. It was by far our best day of eagle watching at Wisconsin Point.

We made a late spring visit to Crex Meadows last week. Our first stop was a Bald Eagle nest on Phantom Lake Road. One of the adults was sitting by the nest and there were two young in the nest. It looked like they were just about ready to leave the nest.

When we reached Phantom Lake we found a number of pairs of Canada Geese with their young. This adult seemed to be upset with something and it kept chasing other geese.

There were a number of pairs of Trumpeter Swans with their young. The adults were furiously churning the water. I assume to free plants from the bottom so they would float to the surface and the Cygnets could feed on them.

One of the popular attractions this year has been Killdeer nesting in the roads around the flowage.

We also found this Leatherback Turtle laying eggs along the road.

The spring flowers were out in the meadows. Indian Paintbrush and Yellow Water Lilies were common.

We encountered a number of White-tailed Deer in our drive through the meadows.

The young ducks have also hatched and could be found on the flowages.

There is a small pond along the road on the adjoining farm. As we drove past it we noticed a Bald Eagle circling so we decided to stop for a photo. Unfortunately it went behind the hill so I started photographing a pair of Wood Ducks in the pond. I noticed my wife waving at me and pointing. Turned out the Eagle had returned.

We recently spent a morning driving around Crex Meadows. During a stop at the visitors center we found that several eagles had been spotted earlier in the morning. We were lucky to find they were still hanging around. This one was sitting by the nest. A little later in the morning we noticed it was hunting on Phantom Lake. When it caught a fish it went back to the nest were we were able to watch it feeding its young.

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We did not spot many Sandhill Cranes. This one was near the road. I suspect most of the others were nesting deeper in the marshes.

We could see Trumpeter Swans nesting but they were all quite some distance from the road. We did encounter three non nesting swans in a small pool.

We found this pair of Ring-necked Ducks in a small pond.

Lots of Red-winged Blackbirds around the area.

The muskrats were very active throughout the flowages.

We noticed this Killdeer ahead of us so we stopped. It was very accommodating and walked right up to us and posed for photos.

The marsh grass provided some interesting patterns. In the second photo the area had recently been burned providing for a variety of colors as it started to grow again.

The Lily Pads were starting to grow now that the ice is off of the flowages.

As we were returning home one day my wife noticed a Bald Eagle on a deer carcass along the road. We turned around and went back hoping to get a photo. Unfortunately another car came along and the Eagle took off. I did manage to get a photo of it sitting on a dead tree along the road and a second photo when it flew up into a pine tree.

 

Last week my wife and I had a meeting in Duluth and on the way up we decided to drive through Crex Meadows. I wasn’t sure what we would find because the Crex Meadows Website hadn’t been updated since January. We were very pleasantly surprised at the number of birds we saw. Large numbers of Sandhill Cranes in the flowages.

We were watching these two Cranes when we notice a Bald Eagle flying toward us. He was busy hunting and wasn’t paying much attention so I managed to get a few shots of hunting. He managed to catch what appeared to be a small fish. Shortly after catching it another Bald Eagle flew into the area and he quickly joined it. This one appeared to be not a fully mature eagle the second on was a mature eagle.

There were also large numbers of Trumpeter Swans already staking out their nesting territory. These two were right next to the road. The water was still frozen and one of them was having trouble paddling through the ice.

There were also a large number of Canada Geese in the flowages. There were far more geese that I’ve seen for quite some time. It many be that they are just passing through. These two looked like they were staking out a nesting site.

There were also a variety of ducks in the flowages. They seemed to be the most timid waterfowl and generally fly before I can get a photo. I was happy to capture a female Mallard and a female Hooded Merganser before they took off.

 

We had a few weeks of cold weather so I decided it was time to take a drive along the Mississippi River and look for Eagles. We headed out early in the morning and had only driven a couple of miles when we drove over a small hill. All of a sudden there was a Bald Eagle right in front of the car. There was a deer carcass right on the edge of the road and the Eagle was trying to get airborne as we approached. I though for sure we were going to hit it because about all we could see out the front windshield was the Eagle. We drove down to the a place where we could turn around and drove back to see if it had returned to the carcass. It was flying around then landed in a tree above the carcass.

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After taking some photos we continued on our way. Along the way we encountered three Bald Eagles out in a field. Of course they were on the wrong side of the road so we drove down to the next cross roads and turned around. When we returned the first Eagle we encountered was immature.

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We drove down a little further and there were two adult Eagles together. I managed to photograph one standing in the field and the other as it flew off.

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We then drove down to Reads Landing just up the Mississippi River from  The National Eagle Center in  Wabasha, Minnesota. Unfortunately we were skunked at Reads Landing. As we drove along the river toward Red Wing, Minnesota we saw a few more eagles but none that we could photograph. We ended up at Colvill Park in Red Wing. In the past we had been able to get some good eagle photos in the park but on this day we only saw one Bald Eagle perched in a tree.

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In the past someone has been feeding ducks but it didn’t look like that was being done any more. I managed a shot of a couple of Mallard Ducks paddling in the bay. There were a couple of Trumpeter Swans in the area but they were too far away.

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While we were in the park a friend called and when he found out where we were he suggested driving up to Lock and Dam Number 3.  We had some trouble finding it but when we did we saw about five Bald Eagles perched in various trees. Most were too far away but I did manage a few photos.

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We realized that we were not all that far from King’s Bar and Grill in Miesville, Minnesota so we decided to stop and have a burger. They have the largest selection of Burgers I’ve ever seen. The biggest problem is trying to decide which one to have.

Last week we made our first summer visit to Crex Meadows since returning from Iceland. Things have really changed since our last visit. The large amount rain we received in May and June has raised the water levels in the ponds and really made the vegetation grow. In some places it is difficult to photograph from the car because the grass is so high along the road.

We found some Wood Ducks sitting on a log. On our second pass around the Meadows this one was still sitting there and posed for me. It’s the first Wood Duck I’ve been able to photograph up close and my first one at Crex.

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The ducklings were all over the place. It was fun to watch them making their way through the lily pads.

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This Red-winged Blackbird landed next to the road. I had my wife drive up to it and it didn’t move. I was able to get some great shots before moving on.

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We found this fledgling sitting in the road. When we stopped it hopped into the foliage along the road and sat there while I took its picture. I think it was a young Red-winged Blackbird.

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There were lots of Trumpeter Swans around with their young. They looked to be teenagers now.

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We drove past a Bald Eagle nest on the north side of the refuge. It had one eagle in it. The wind was blowing and it seemed to be testing its wings into the wind. I will probably be gone from the nest very soon.

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A short time later we encountered two Sandhill Cranes walking through the Prairie.

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I’ve photographed Great Blue Herons before at Crex but this is probably the best photo of them that I’ve gotten.

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It was a great day for bird photography.

We were off to Duluth for a few days and decided to drive though Grantsburg an visit Crex Meadows. As we neared Grantsburg we  saw over a dozen Trumpeter swans in the fields feeding. We turned around and drove back along a sided road and watched them for a while. It was still early and the fields had not been prepared for spring planting.

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As we drove out along Phantom Lake we noticed some Sandhill Cranes walking along the road. In all we probably saw over 40 Sandhill Cranes on the day.Sandhill-Cranes-Crex-Meadows-16-4-_2733

There were many Trumpeter Swans in the Meadows. This one was nesting right along the road. If it stays on the nest we will have a good view of the young when they hatch. In all we saw over 40 Trumpeter Swans.Trumpeter-Swan-Crex-Meadows-16-4-_2245

As we wove through the Meadows we noticed some dark shapes along the road. It was difficult to see what they were. At first we though maybe bears. As we inched closed they appeared to be Turkeys or Turkey Vultures. When we approached them they took off. It turns out they were Bald Eagles. There were about a half dozen of them in all. We watched them flying around and then noticed the trees were also filled with them. We saw 15 Bald Eagles without moving. Most of them were immature. The one in the middle has quite a bit of red around the head. It appears it man have been feeding on a carcass.Bald-Eagles-Crex-Meadows-16-4-_2310

There were also quite a variety of duck in the water throughout the Meadows.Mallard-Duck-Crex-Meadows-16-4-_2351

In spite of the fact that it is a national wildlife refuge I rarely manage to photograph any wildlife at Trempealeau. This trip was different. As we drove through I noticed a large number of Gulls flying around a backwater. When I went over to see what they were doing I found they were fishing. I watched for a while and managed to capture a few of them.

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I also noticed a number of immature Bald Eagles watching the activity. On the trip we probably saw in excess of 30 Bald Eagles.

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I was surprised to find the Painted Turtles out sunning themselves. It wasn’t all that warm out.

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We noticed quite a few ducks in one of the backwaters so we stopped to watch. I managed to get a photo of this Northern Shoveler as it swam by.

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While we were watching the ducks a Muskrat also swam by.

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