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Category Archives: Pussy Willows

After last weekends blizzard things finally started to warm up so my wife and I drove out to Hoffman Hills looking for birds. When we arrived we found the water in the prairie ponds was the highest we have seen it. It was flowing over the pond banks in several places. The first pond we approached was still mostly frozen. Several ducks flew as we approached the pond. I think they were Blue-winged Teals. We noticed a Hooded Merganser across the pond.

The Pussy Willows are starting to bloom although they were further ahead in the Gilbert Creek area.

As we approached the second pond we noticed a pair of Belted Kingfishers. I was able to get a shot of one through the trees before it flew. They seem to be very shy.

As we returned to the first pond all heck broke loose. Two Canada Gee

se were in the pond and a third flew in causing quite a ruckus. One of the initial pair chased the third goose into another small pond and then chased it away entirely. Then the two geese few to another area.

We started tracking the pair of Belted Kingfishers before they finally both flew away. About that time we heard some Sandhill Cranes fly into the area and another pair fly in from a different direction. They were all calling at once.

After things quieted down we noticed what appeared to be a third Belted Kingfisher sitting on a dead birch tree. It was fishing in a small pond of open water. We watched it fish for about an hour. It dove off his perch about a half dozen times three times hitting the water. Finally it caught something. Since the ice was just off the pond there didn’t seem to be a lot of things to eat.

It was a very productive visit.

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Photos from a walk along the Red Cedar State Trail.

Bloodroot

Pussy Willow

Marsh Marigolds

Sandhill Crane

Cattail

Wild Geranium

On a beautiful cool morning my wife and I took a walk on the Red Cedar State Trail. There were large numbers of flowers out along the Trail. The Bloodroot and the Pussy Willows were just about done blooming. It was early in the morning and the Bloodroot had not opened yet.

Bloodroot

Pussy Willow

The White Trout Lillie’s were out in some places. When we walked by the first time they were not open yet but when we returned they had opened.

 

The Anemone were out in large numbers along the trail.

 

Wood Anemone

Canada Anenome

There were large groups of Spring Beauty blooming on the side of the trail.

Lots of Common Blue Violets can be found.

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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There is a lot going on at Hoffman Hills these days. We have been seeing Sandhill Cranes in the Prairie area.

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There are Canada Geese, Ducks and King Fishers hanging around the ponds.

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We noticed a Muskrat in the first pond.

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The Eastern Bluebirds have returned.

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In the next couple of weeks the trees will have full color. The Birch and Maples are already budding out.

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The Pussy Willows are just about done blooming.

Pussy Willows

Pussy Willows

A walk through Hoffman Hills Recreation Area gave me an opportunity to photograph some spring, blooms, buds and leaves. For most of the shots taken in the wetlands area I used my 500mm lens. This allowed me to get some close-ups while avoiding walking in the wetlands.

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After photographing in the wetlands we hike up to the Tower at Hoffman Hills. I took a few shots of some backlit spring leaves, with my 300mm lens, on the way to the tower.

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More spring photographs from Hoffman Hills can be found on my website.

Walking through the Hoffman Hills Wetlands we found that most of the Pussy Willows were past peak.

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A pair of Canada Geese have started nesting on one of the ponds.

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The frogs are out in great numbers and making a lot of noise.

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More spring photographs from Hoffman Hills can be found on my website.

The Pussy Willow season is just about over. They are starting to turn green in the wetlands around here.

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The Pussy Willows at Hoffman Hills have been blooming for a couple of weeks now. On our last visit we found they were in all stages of bloom.Pussy-Willows-14-4-_1365

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It’s a little difficult to believe its spring given that the snow is still a foot deep on some of the trails and very icy on other parts of the trails. This is what it looked like two years ago on April 1st.

Weeping Willows

Weeping Willows

 

We noticed that the Pussy Willows were starting to bloom in the wetlands. This was something we hadn’t expected to see given the winter like weather.Pussy-Willows-12-3-_0917

 

There were also some Canada Geese on one of the ponds. We hope they nest this year. Last year was the first time in many years that no geese nested in the wetland ponds.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

 

More Spring Photos from Hoffman Hills can be found on my website.