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Category Archives: Mallard Duck

I’ve managed to capture a few birds at Gilbert Creek. An Eastern Phoebe which is the first one that I’ve seen at Gilbert Creek.

A Bald Eagle has been hanging around.

A few Mallard Ducks can be found.

Shot of a Song Sparrow early in the morning.

As I mentioned in my previous blog we had gone down to Red Wing, Minnesota looking for Bald Eagles. There were plenty of eagles but most of them were sitting in trees across the lagoon. Only a couple were fishing. What kept us entertained during the morning were the ducks that were fishing next to shore. There appeared to be a lot of small fish near the surface and the ducks were having a field day catching them.Unfortunately there was a lot of steam coming off of the water so sometimes it was difficult to see the birds. This female mallard had a large fish that she was in the last stages of eating. I’ve spent a lot of time watching ducks and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a mallard eating fish.

This Common Merganser also caught a large fish.

 

I had a great time watching the Common Goldeneyes fishing. They had the advantage in that they could dive to catch the fish. Every time they came up with a fish the mallards would all go after them. There would be a goldeneye racing along trying to eat the fish followed by several mallards.

I noticed a couple of very cooperative Mallard Ducks at Gilbert Creek. Normally they flay as soon as the see me. Both the male and female took turns posing of a rock. These are some of the best shots I’ve gotten of mallards.

We had some shopping to do in Hudson, Wisconsin so we decided to stop in and look at the Trumpeter Swans that can be found along the Saint Croix River. We were disappointed and a little shocked to find that there was almost no open water where the Swans usually congregate. There were a few of them huddled along the shore and another batch out toward the river but none in the little pond. I’m not sure what is going on. Normally even if it is cold out there is a nice section of open water in the area.

I did manage to capture a few shots of the Ducks and Geese near the puddle of open water.

Spring is the time I like to drive over to Gilbert Creek Wildlife Area to view the birds. We had driven past last week and noticed that there were already a number of Sandhill Cranes in the area. I drove down just after sunrise and didn’t see much to photograph. Later in the morning we were in the area so we drove over to see if things had improved. Just as we arrived my wife noticed a couple of Sandhill Cranes calling. There was another pair in the wetlands but we couldn’t see them.

There were quite a few Red-winged Blackbirds around but we didn’t see any females.

Lots of Canada Geese in the pond.

There were also quite a few ducks around including  this pair that seemed to be staking out a nesting place. There were also a number of Wood Ducks around but they were a little skittish so no photos.

When things get a little dull I like to take photos of just about anything. This is last years Cattail.

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.

 

Last week we headed out on another trip to find Bald Eagles along the Mississippi River. Just before we reached Durand, Wisconsin I noticed one sitting in a tree along the road. We turned around and went back for some shots. This is probably the best Bald Eagle shot I’ve gotten. He was right near the road and was not obstructed by any branches.

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As we drove over the Bridge At Wabasha  we noticed an eagle sitting in a tree next to a nest just north of the bridge. Unfortunately it was too far away for a shot. We then headed up to Reads Landing. There were a few Eagles sitting on the sand on the other side of the river but too far away for any shots. We did see a pair of Mature eagles flying around. It looked like they might be getting ready to mate. About that time a train came along and I could see that the eagles had gotten close enough to photograph but by the time the train passed they were gone. We had lunch at the Reads Landing Brewing Company. Apparently it is in the process of changing hands.

We then drove north toward Red Wing, Minnesota. There are several pull offs just north of Reads Landing so we stopped to watch the eagles fishing on the open water. One of them caught a large fish before it flew off to have lunch.

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We then drove to the next turn off where another photographer was already photographing eagles. He hadn’t had much luck but just then one landed a short distance away. Unfortunately it was partially hidden by the trees.

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While we were looking at the eagle another bird flew into a patch of Sumac. Turned out to be a Piliated Woodpecker.

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A little further up the road we found a bunch of Mallard Ducks on a partially frozen pond.

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When we reached Red Wing there were no birds around so we headed home.

 

In addition to Trumpeter Swans there were also quite a few ducks along the Saint Croix River. Someone must be feeding the ducks because this one walked right up to me. I spent more time than I intended photographing the wildlife. My wife went for a walk while I was taking photos. It was really cold out and I started to get cold even with my cold weather gear on. I thought maybe she had walked back to town to do some shopping but when I finally returned to the car she was at the car and had been for some time. A small communication problem.

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The ducks were more active than the Swans. There were multiple flights of ducks arriving at small area of open water as we watched.mallard-ducks-hudson-wisconsin-17-1-1248

 

We stopped in Hudson, Wisconsin to check on the Trumpeter Swans that winter on the St. Croix River. I has been warm and there were fewer swans than we typically see. We did notice open water out in the river and there were quite a few swans on the Minnesota side of the river. That group was particularly active and I was able to capture some photos of them landing near me.

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The Mallard Ducks were also active. I captured this sequence of photos as one landed in the water near me.

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I also captured a sequence of photos of a Mallard Duck taking a bath then exiting the water.

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After leaving Willow River State Park we headed over to the Saint Croix River to see if there were any Trumpeter Swans overwintering. The Saint Croix was frozen and there were quite a few swans around. It was another grey and overcast day so the photography was not all that great.

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While we were there we met another photographer and his friend. His friend happened to be a Mallard Hen. He had been photographing for quite a while and the Mallard followed him everywhere.

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