Skip navigation

Category Archives: Nature Photography

Last week we made our first fall road trip of the year. We actually made two different visits to Seney. We stopped on our drive up to Sault Ste Marie and we stopped again on our way back to Munising. The second visit was much more exciting. We had exited the freeway and were in the middle of nowhere and I happened to notice that we had 43 miles to go before we were out of gas. This never happens. We tried to pull up GasBuddy on our phone but didn’t have a signal. We pulled out the map but weren’t sure where we were. It looked like it we were closest to Sault Ste Marie so we turned around. Fortunately we found a gas station about 10 miles back down the road. When we we drove back toward Seney we checked the mileage to the first gas station. Turned out it was 43 miles from where we turned around. Not sure it actually had gas because there was only one ancient pump.

There was not a lot going on in Seney. There was not a lot of color yet. Some of the ferns offered a bright spot among the green.

seney-national-wildlife-refuge-16-9-1858

seney-national-wildlife-refuge-16-9-2690

ferns-seney-national-wildlife-refuge-16-9-3390
There were quite a few Trumpeter Swans in the various pools. On one pool they were surrounded by what I think are Wood Ducks. Apparently the Swans were able to reach the choice morsels at the bottom of the pool so the Wood Ducks just waited until the Swans brought it up before diving in and grabbing some.

trumpeter-swan-seney-national-wildlife-refuge-16-9-3325
These two swans were standing in some shallow water grooming themselves.

trumpeter-swans-seney-national-wildlife-refuge-16-9-3419
On another pool there were a group of Lesser Yellowlegs feeding.

lesser-yellowlegs-seney-national-wildlife-refuge-16-9-3407
As we were exiting the Refuge we noticed this Red Squirrel sitting in a tree right next to the road. I was able to get quite close and he still didn’t move.

red-squirrel-seney-national-wildlife-refuge-16-9-3315

We were up early, on the first of June, because we had a long day ahead of us. It had rain the previous afternoon and throughout the evening but when we woke up it was a bit cloudy but the rain had stopped. Our agenda for the day was to spend the entire day driving around the Látrabjarg Peninsula and most importantly search for Puffins on the Latrabjarg bird-cliffs.
Puffin-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_3163

We took highway 62 out of Patreksfjörður. Along the road we noticed a fish farm just outside of Patreksfjörður.

-Fish-Farm-Patreksfjörður-Iceland-16-6-_5219

When we reached the head of Patreksfjörður we turned off on highway 612 which would take us to the bird cliffs. Just after turning off we found the Garðar BA 64 beached at the head of the fiord. It was built in Norway in 1912 and after WWII it ended up in Iceland. It was used as a whaling and fishing boat until 1981 when it was no longer fit for service. Normally it would have been scuttled at sea but, for some reason, it was beached at the head of the Patreksfjörður where it has remained.

Garðar-BA-64-Patreksfjörður-Iceland-16-6-_5232

A short drive up the fjord we passed the Patreksfjörður airport which was located among the sand dunes. You can see Patreksfjörður on the other side of the fjord. The second photo is of the highlands from around the airport.

Sand-Dunes-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5242

Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5244

Highway 612 is nothing to brag about. It was dirt, narrow, filled with potholes and the occasional boulder. We encountered several road crews working on the road. It was early in the tourist season and they were just starting to work on the roads.

Highway-612-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5250

We encountered these beautiful sand beaches near Hnjótur.

Beach-Sand-Dunes-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-near-Hnjótur-Iceland--16-6-_5257a

Our next stop for the day was the Egill Ólafsson Museum in Hnjótur. It was started by Egill Ólafsson when he noticed that everyone was throwing told tools and fishing paraphernalia out. He started collecting it and eventually it was turned into a museum. We stopped to use the rest room but the Museum was still closed. Just as we were about to leave it opened. We spend some time looking around and found it a very interesting place.

Egill-Ólafsson-Museum-Hnjótur-Iceland-16-6-_5267

Egill Ólafsson was also interested in airplanes an interest he passed on to his son. When the American Air Base in Keflavík closed he purchased this plane and trucked it to the Museum site in Hnjótur. If you look back at the photo of the road you can see that it was a major project to get the plane to its current site.

Egill-Ólafsson-Museum-Hnjótur-Iceland-16-L6-_5953a

As we were heading into the highlands we found this small waterfall along the road.

Waterfall-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5273

The first photo shows a cairn marking the way across the highlands. The second photo looks across the highlands toward the Latrabjarg bird-cliffs.

Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5276

Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5282

As we drove down out of the highlands we entered the small town of Breidavik. It only consists of a few buildings but because of all of the traffic to the bird cliffs they had rented a traffic cop to slow down the traffic.

Breidavik-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5288

Traffic-Cop-Breidavik-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5306

Just outside Breidavik we encountered the old Brunnar Fishing Station. In the 1880’s there were about 20 boats and 100 fishermen stationed at Breidavik from April to July.

Brunnar-Fishing-Station-Near-Breidavik-Iceland-16-6-_5312

The short drive, along the coast, from Brunnar Fishing Station to Latrabjarg bird-cliffs offered some beautiful scenery.

Coast-along-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_5336

Once we reached the bird cliffs we started walking along the trail at the top of the cliffs. It was a spectacular walk along the cliffs although we were not having much luck finding Puffins. We had only seen one Puffin when we stopped for lunch.

Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_5355

Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_5342

Linda-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-L6-_6996a

We were talking with several people when I caught a movement up the trail. It looked like a fox had just gone over a small rise in the trail. The folks we were talking to said it could only be an Arctic Fox because there were no other small animals in the area. As we continued our walk along the cliffs we were able to spot the fox walking along the trail ahead of us. It gradually made its way down into a valley below the cliffs. We watched it for a long time before losing sight of it. We were really lucky to see an Arctic Fox.

Artic-Fox-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-16-6-_3083

We were not seeing any Puffins so we started back toward the parking lot. Once again we noticed the Arctic Fox moving along the valley below us. It went behind a small hill and we lost sight of it. We stopped to look at some birds before resuming out walk back to the parking lot. As we turned to head back on the trail I noticed the Arctic Fox was on the trail just ahead of us. It walked ahead of us for a short distance before dropping over the cliffs. We waited for a while to see if it we could find it but we did not see it again.

Artic-Fox-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-16-6-_3104

Artic-Fox-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-16-6-_3106

The view of the sea and the rocks below the cliffs were outstanding.

Rocks-Below-the-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-16-6-_3134

Rocks-Below-the-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-16-6-_3136

On our way back to the parking lot we were able to see a few more Puffins. Some folks seemed to be taking lots of photos of a few Puffins. We were actually a little early for Puffin viewing. They were just starting to return to their nesting ground. Once they return, later in June, and start raising their young there will be some good photo opportunities. The irony was that we walked for several miles and ended up seeing the most puffins withing 100 yards of the parking lot.

Puffin-watchers-Gull-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-16-6-_3080

Puffin-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_3206

Puffin-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_3161

Puffin-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_3124

Puffin-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_3186

Just before leaving I walked over to the lighthouse to see if I could see any seals. The person at the Egill Ólafsson Museum said that people had been seeing them below the lighthouse. Sure enough there were a few of them swimming in the surf.

Seals-Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-6-_3226

We then started back to Patreksfjörður where we were going to stay a second night. On the way we decided to make a side trip to Raudasandur Beach so we headed off on highway 614. The road was not the best but the views were great.

Views-from-Highway-614-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5419

Highway-614-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-

When we arrived there was a beautiful view of Raudasandur Beach. When we drove to the end of the road found this black church. Saurbaer Church is said to be one of only 4 black churches in Iceland.

Raudasandur-Beach-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5428

-Saurbaer-Church-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5440

After a brief stop we returned over the highlands with some great views of  Patreksfjörður. You can see the fish farm just outside the city of Patreksfjörður.

View-from-Highway-614-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_5458

Patreksfjörður-Fish-Farm-Patreksfjörður-Iceland-16-6-_5461

On the way back we stopped again at the Egill Ólafsson Museum for a little coffee and cake and to take in a movie of the Látrabjarg sea cliffs rescue. In December 1947 a British trawler, the Dhoon, ran aground in a storm off  the vertiginous Látrabjarg sea cliffs. The locals were called to rescue the crew on the stranded ship under appalling conditions. they had to climb down the cliffs and bring the crew off the boat one at a time. They were able to save 12 of the crew members. The movie was in Icelandic but still very gripping. The second photo shows the cliffs where the rescue took place.

Egill-Ólafsson-Museum-Hnjótur-Iceland-16-6-_5268

Latrabjarg-bird-cliffs-Iceland-16-L6-_7001a

As we were leaving the Látrabjarg Peninsula we passed a bird nesting grounds. there were about 5 species of birds around. Lots of Arctic Terns were nesting and were not happy. We initially drove past them but then turned around and went back so I could photograph them from the car window. We also saw this Oyster Catcher leave its nest. We had seen Oyster Catchers throughout the trip but hadn’t realized they build their nests right on top of the rocks and along the road.

Artic-Tern-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_3059

Oyster-Catcher-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_3048

Oyster-Catcher-Eggs-Látrabjarg-Peninsula-Iceland-16-6-_3047

We then drove back to our Airbnb in Patreksfjörður. After having a bite to eat at the local N1 we drove through the town to look around. It was a beautiful evening at the harbor. A fitting end to a great day of exploration.

Harbor-Patreksfjörður-Iceland-16-6-_5473More photos and a complete listing of my Icelandic blogs can be found on my website.

Linda put together a show of eight of my photos at the Menomonie Public Library. She did all of the printing, matting and framing of the photos. I just took the pictures. They will be on display through the month of April.

There are four Landscape photos.

Now and Then Falls Amnicon Falls State Park

Now and Then Falls Amnicon Falls State Park

Apostle Islands Sea Cave

Apostle Islands Sea Cave Cornucopia, Wisconsin

Crex Meadows

Crex Meadows Grantsburg ,Wisconsin

Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Seney National Wildlife Refuge Seney, Michigan

 

There are four wildlife Photos

Goslings

Goslings Hoffman Hills Recreation Area Menomonie, Wisconsin

Black Bear

Black Bear Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary Orr, Minnesota

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Canadian Hill Farm Menomonie, Wisconsin

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies Fontenac State Park Fontenac, Monnesota

 

There are fewer and fewer flowers blooming so the bees are concentrated on the flowers that are blooming.

Sweat Bee

Sweat Bee

Orange-belted Bumble Bee

Orange-belted Bumble Bee

Common Easter Bumble Bee

Common Eastern Bumble  Bee

Bee

Bee

After watching a beautiful Dawn at Phantom Lake we drove out to where the Sandhill Cranes were rousting for the night. At dawn the cranes start to talk and move out to their feeding grounds for the day. Wave after wave of cranes take off as the sun comes up.

Sandhill-Cranes-Morning-Flight-Crex-Meadows-15-10-_0132

Sandhill-Cranes-Morning-Flight-Crex-Meadows-15-10-_0197

Sandhill-Cranes-Morning-Flight-Crex-Meadows-15-10-_0387a

My walks in the prairie continue to turn up insects.

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Slender Spreadwing

Slender Spreadwing

Orange-belted Bumble Bee

Orange-belted Bumble Bee

Red Milkweed Beetles Mating

Red Milkweed Beetles Mating

The dog days of summer are not the best times to visit Crex Meadows but there were a few things to photograph. The water levels in some of the flowages had been reduced so the waterfowl only had small ponds to swim around in.

There were quite a few Monarch Butterflies on the eastern edge of the Meadows.

Monarch-Butterfly-Crex-Meadows-15-8-_2815

Trumpeter Swans were around with their young teenagers.

Trumpeter-Swans-Crex-Meadows-15-8-_2853

There were quite a few teenage ducks around.

Ducks-15-8-_2797

I typically see large numbers of Blanding’s Turtles in the spring when they are on the road laying eggs. We found this one wandering across the road.

Blanding-Turtle-Crex-Meadows-15-8-_2756

This Canada Goose was perched on top of a beaver lodge.

Canada-Goose-Crex-Meadows-15-8-_2748

It was a beautiful day so my wife and I decided to take a road trip to northern Wisconsin. Our first stop was Amnicon Falls but I didn’t take any photos because the water levels were so low. We continued on to Morgan Falls.

Morgan-Falls-15-6-_7357

When we arrived in the parking lot we found a large number of butterflies and some flowers.

White Admiral

White Admiral

Since it was a bright sunny day I thought it might be difficult to photograph the falls but by the time we reached the falls there were a few clouds in the sky making it a little easier to photograph.

Morgan-Falls-15-6-_7301a

Morgan is not s particularly spectacular waterfall. It is one of the highest waterfalls in the state but doesn’t fall dramatically it just slides down the side of the hill.

Morgan-Falls-15-6-_7369

Conditions were good. Normally I’m eaten alive by mosquitoes but on this day there were relatively few of them. There were also quite a few butterflies around the falls.

When I was looking for photos to use one the summer slideshow on my website I noticed I didn’t have any summer photos from the Minnesota North Shore. So in early summer we headed off for Gooseberry Falls. When we reached Gooseberry I remembered why I didn’t have any photos from the North Shore. Too many people.

Middle Falls

Middle Falls

In spite of the people I was able to get some nice shots of the falls. One of the reasons was the amount of water coming over the falls. Because of all of the rain this summer there was a lot of water flowing in the river.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Typically we drive down to the lake as our first stop. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were no other people around.

Gooseberry-Falls-State-Park-15-6-_7752

We then drove back to the visitors center where we hiked over to the falls. Normally there would be people climbing all over the falls making it difficult to take photos but because of the high water it wasn’t a problem. There were a couple of places where I had to stand in line to get the iconic shot.

Gooseberry-Falls-State-Park-15-6-_7785

After hiking at Banning State Park we headed for Grantsburg, Wisconsin. We were debating whether to stop at Crex Meadows. When we reached Grantsburg it was high noon and we figured we wouldn’t see any wildlife at that time of day. We finally decided to drive around the dikes and look around. Turned out to be one of the best wildlife days we have had at Crex.

We hadn’t gone far when we encountered several Sandhill Cranes in the grass.

Sandhill-Crane-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3523

A little further along my wife notice a Bull Snake crossing the road. I had trouble getting a photo of it because I was using my birding lens and the snake kept getting too close to me.

Bull-Snake-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3534

We had stopped along the road to look for birds and noticed this friendly Snow Bunting right by the car. Normally they are skittish but this one just hung around the car and let me take photos of it. When we returned later in the afternoon it was still in the same place.

Snow-Bunting-Crex-Meadows15-4-_3675

It was a beautiful warm day and the Painted Turtles were out sunning themselves.

Painted-Turtles-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3710

There were a pair of Blue-winged Teal in the water near the road. They seemed oblivious to the fact that we were right next to them.

Blue-winged-Teal-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3739

Blue-winged-Teal-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3743

We noticed American Coots at various small ponds around the Meadows.

American-Coot-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3771

As we were driving along I noticed a Muskrat swimming next to the car. As I watched it seemed to be frantically swimming around. Soon we noticed a second one. We then realized that they were mating.

muskrats-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3816

We saw a number of Canada Geese nesting in the Meadows.

Nesting-Canada-Goose-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3826

There were a number of Pied-billed Grebes to be found throughout the Meadows.

Pied-billed-Grebe-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3883

The most common bird in the Meadows on this day were the Trumpeter Swans.

Trumpeter-Swans-Crex-Meadows-15-4-_3573