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Category Archives: Birds

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.

 

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

American Goldfinch

Downy Woodpecker

Chipping Sparrow

Baltimore Oriole

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.

 

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

I happened to be working in the lawn yesterday when I noticed some Chestnut-sided Warblers in the trees. They were doing a great job of posing until I got my camera out.