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Category Archives: Crex Meadows

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.

When there is not a lot of wildlife to be found at Crex Meadow I like to photograph some of the interesting landscapes.

 

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.

 

 

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

 

On a recent trip to Crex Meadows we ran across this Great Blue Heron fishing. It has stationed itself in some fast moving water below a Phantom Lake spillway. We watched it for about ten Minutes and during that time it was catching fish at one a Minute. It never moved from its location it just stood in one place and fished. We have been very lucky photographing Great Blue Herons at Crex this spring. Normally they fly as soon as we approach but this year they seem to be posing. It could be just one bird that is posing for everyone.