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Category Archives: Menomonie

 

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Currently the Wild Lupine and Prairie Smoke are blooming at Hoffman Hills Recreation Area.

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.

We took a drive down to Devil’s Punchbowl and Paradise Valley to check out the ice. Not much going on at the Punchbowl but the warm weather and running water at Paradise Valley produced some nice edge ice. It was a little tricky getting across the stream because there has been quite a bit of water running this winter. I did find out from a friend that what I have been calling Paradise Valley does have a more specific name. It’s called Tripp Falls Ravine. More photos from Trip Falls Ravine can be found on my website.

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We decided to drive out to Hoffman Hills Recreation Area and see if anything was happening. I thought we might see some Canada Geese staking out their territory. On the way out something caught my eye running across a field and heading toward the car. I thought it was a deer but it turned to out to be a very large coyote. Too bad I didn’t have a chance to get a photograph. When we reached Hoffman Hills there wasn’t much going on but we were very surprised to see that the Pussy Willows were blooming. Normally they bloom the middle of April not the end of February.

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Managed a shot of a lone Cattail from last season.

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Dunville Sandstone is one of my favorite winter photography subjects. These were taken on a recent hike along the Red Cedar State Trail.

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In the upper Midwest one of the favorite winter activities is ice fishing. This happens when the water on the lakes and rivers freezes and it is safe to walk on. Once the ice is thick enough to support ice shacks small cities appear on the ice overnight. I usually take a walk around the lake in the winter photographing the ice shacks. There are all types of shacks on the ice. Most of them are homemade and others are commercially produced. This year was a little different from previous years. At one point we saw a car driving up and down the ice with a dog following it. Apparently the owner had figured out how to exercise his dog without getting any exercise himself.

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This shack was particularly interesting because it was falling apart and had garbage scattered all over the ice. There was a pile of beer cans beside the shack. One would like to think that the mess would be cleared up before the ice shack was removed but not everyone who enjoys nature really appreciates nature.

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As we were looking at one of the shacks we noticed a fish on the ice. A dog came by an grabbed the fish and took off. The fisherman staggered out of his ice shack and we told him the dog had taken his fish be he didn’t seem to functioning too well and it took him a while to grasp the concept.

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Looks like this one was made from some garage doors.

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Even though there were three weeks before ice shacks have to be removed from the lake some people were already removing them. In fact, the next week all of them were gone because of the unseasonably warm weather.

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I happened to be photographing birds one day when a sudden snowsquall occurred. It was some of the heaviest snow and the largest flakes that I’ve ever seen on the farm. It only lasted for a short time but it was fun to watch. It was so heavy that I had to manually focus the camera.

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It has been a while since I’ve seen many Dark-eyed Juncos but a recent snow storm seem to bring them out of the woods.

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Love to photograph birds when it is snowing out. The snowfall seem to attract the Northern Cardinals.

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