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Category Archives: Bird Photography

My wife and I drove up to Crex Meadows to observe the fall migration of the Greater Sandhill Cranes. About 40 thousand of them pass through Crex each fall. When we arrived at Crex we drove our normal route looking for wildlife. The fall colors were just about done but sill very nice.

 

On our drive we encountered a family of Trumpeter Swans feeding right next to the road. They seemed unconcerned when I exited the car to take their photograph. Our our return drive we found them on an old Beaver house.

 

After driving around the flowages we decided to drive some the back roads south east of Grantsburg. During the day the cranes leave the flowage and fly out to the fields to feed. You can usually spot where they are feeding by following the flying cranes. Most of the crops had not been harvested because of the rain. Those fields that had been harvested were covered with mud. The farmers must have had an interesting time trying to drive equipment in the mud.

 

We then drove back to Grantsburg to check into our motel and grab an early dinner before heading back out to the flowages. Not all of the cranes leave the flowages for the day. This one was feeding along the road. About an hour and a half before sunset the cranes start the evening flight from the fields to their rousts for the evening. The sound of them returning is something to hear. There were a large number of Trumpeter Swans resting peacefully in the nesting areas. Once the cranes started returning they caused such a disturbance that the swans started making their own  racket.

 

 

As the crane flight slowed down we decided to head back to town and try and get a few sunset photos along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to drive to Grantsburg, Wisconsin to view the fall migration of the Greater Sandhill Cranes. Approximately 40 thousand Sandhill Cranes migrate through Crex Meadows in the fall. This is a outstanding place to watch cranes because you can get up close to the cranes.  In the morning, at sunrise, the cranes start moving with most of them flying out to the fields southeast of Grantsburg to feed. The best time to see the cranes is mid October to mid November.

There are also a large number of Trumpeter Swans residing in the flowages. They are typically quiet but when the cranes start moving they make a lot of noise and the swans then start honking as well.

 

 

This visit was made in mid October when the fall leaves were still in color.

 

I recently drove up to Crex Meadows to find out what was going on. Not a lot of wildlife to be found but I still managed a few shots.

Normally I put grape jelly out for the orioles in the spring. They usually hang around for a couple of weeks before going off to raise their young. This year I kept putting Jelly out and a variety of birds turned up to eat it.

 

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Baltimore Oriole

Just a few of the birds around the feeder this summer.

American Goldfinch

Downy Woodpecker

Chipping Sparrow

Baltimore Oriole

I used to see Eastern Phoebes all summer. At one point they nested above a light outside my garage. They then nested under the deck for a couple of years. Since they stopped nesting around the house I normally only see them after their first batch of young hatch.

 

Earlier I had mentioned that a pair of House Wrens had taken up residence under my bedroom window. He is their starting at sunrise and sounding off until around 8am every morning. It was a big mistake to let a House Wren take up residence under my bedroom window.

Last week when I was mowing the lawn I noticed a fledgling Tree Swallow was watching me every time I drove by on the mower. Later in the day I walked out and took a few photos as it watched. In a couple of days I noticed it was gone.

Normally I put out some grape jelly in the spring when the Baltimore Orioles return. I usually take the feeders down once the orioles have gone off to nest since they don’t seem to be interested in feeding on the jelly. This year I kept a small feeder up and it turns out that other birds also like the grape jelly. The Red-bellied Woodpecker really likes it and he turns up multiple times during the day.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks also like grape jelly.

Even an occasional Baltimore Oriole turns up at the feeder.

 

When I first started photographing birds I had a blind that I setup out in the back yard near the bird houses. This enabled me to get some great shots of birds building their nests and feeding their young. Several years ago I got the bright idea of moving some bird houses closer to the house so I could photograph from an window or from my deck. This worked great and I had a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nest in one of the houses. This year I had a bluebird check the house out but it turned out a House Wren finally claimed it. Unfortunately the bird house is under a bedroom window and the House Wren seems to start singing well before sunrise.

It was fun watching the wren build it’s nest. They use sticks and it proved difficult to get some of the longer sticks into the house.