My wife and I were on a business trip that took us north of Bloomer, Wisconsin. We realized that we were not far from the Island Lake Rookery so we drove over to check things out. We were looking for all of the usual suspects and found them all.
Blue Heron Nest
The main attraction is the large number of Blue Herons that are nesting in the area. We counted about twenty nesting herons. This seems to be a bit less than in past years. It also appears that some of the dead trees have fallen down. The young herons are getting big. I think they are about a month old now and growing fast. We happened to arrive in early afternoon so there wasn’t a lot of activity. A few herons were flying in and out of the nest. It looked like the adults were dumping food on the nest rather than regurgitating it into the moths of the young.
The second reason to visit the rookery is to see the Green Herons. We usually see a couple of them but this trip we saw six of them flying around. Most of them were too far away to get a shot but one spent quite a bit of time hunting for food within camera range. This is one of the better locations for photographing Green Herons because you can get fairly close to them.
The third bird we were looking for was the Osprey. There is a large Osprey nest in one of the trees in the pond. Both adults were at the nest but we couldn’t see any young. I think that Osprey nest a little later than Eagles so their young might not be as far along.
More photos from Island Lake Rookery can be found on my website.
Blue Heron on Nest
We made my second visit this month to Island Lake Rookery. We spent the weekend at Long Lake and stopped by Island Lake on the way home. In an earlier blog I had mentioned that there were fewer Blue Herons nesting at the rookery this year. When we stopped yesterday almost all of them were gone. There were a few lone herons perched on a some of the nests. I think we counted six herons in all and most of those were on the ground.
Osprey on Nest
The Ospreys were still in their nest. At one point both parents were bringing food to the two young in the nest. From the looks of things the young were about to leave the nest. They were standing tall and testing their wings. Both parents were on trees near the nest calling to the young in an attempt to them to fly from the nest. This is a shot of both parents arriving at the nest at the same time.
The Green Herons were around but it took a while to find them. It was early in the afternoon and they were perched a couple of different places grooming themselves. In the time we were there they didn’t fly at all so we were lucky to spot them.
Great Blue Heron Nest
I usually photograph Great Blue Herons at a rookery along the Ice Age Trail but the rookery is located in an aspen grove. Many of the dead aspen have fallen down and the birds have moved their nests into the live trees. It is still possible to get some distant shots early in the spring but once the leaves are out it is impossible to see the birds. This spring I was commiserating with the ranger about the problem and someone overheard the discussion and mentioned the Island Lake Rookery. This past week was the first chance I had to visit it.
Turns out it is a great location for photography. You have a clear view of the nests from along the road. The nests are all in dead hardwood trees in a swampy area. There about 25 Great Blue Heron nests visible from the road with more nests out of view. In addition to the Great Blue Herons there were at least three pair of Green Herons working the area and an Osprey nest. I spend a morning watching the Herons fly in to feed their young. It was really exciting when the parent arrived at the nest and the young Herons started vying for food. The Osprey nest was also occupied and there were 4 Osprey either on the nest or flying in the area.
More shots and directions to the area are on my website.