As I mentioned in an earlier blog there were fewer Swans in their usual spot on the St. Croix River. It looked like they were more dispersed because of the availability of open water. The fact there were fewer of them made it easier to take their photograph without the distraction of a large number of birds.
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.
The Mallard Ducks were also active. I captured this sequence of photos as one landed in the water near me.
I also captured a sequence of photos of a Mallard Duck taking a bath then exiting the water.
On our way back from a road trip along the Mississippi River we drove through Prescott, Wisconsin. As we crossed the Saint Croix River we noticed a group of Trumpeter Swans in the open water below Point Douglas Park.
With the warm weather and more open water it appears the Trumpeter Swans have begun to disperse from their wintering grounds.
The water was at just the right depth so they could feed on the bottom of the river.
This past week we made our last trip looking for large birds. Our initial visit was to Reads Landing along the Mississippi River. We saw a few Bald Eagles but nothing like what we has seen earlier in the year. As we were arriving one flew up into a tree right in front of the car. Just as I was getting out of the car a long train came by and the bird took off. There were also a family of Trumpeter Swans just off shore. There was a lot more open water than there was two weeks ago.
We then headed to Covill Park in Red Wing. On the way we saw a number of Bald Eagles in the Lake Pepin area. When we arrived at Covill Park the temperature was about 40 degrees warmer than it was on our last trip. There was also a lot more open water.
Most of the Eagles remained on the opposite shore. I noticed two mature eagles sitting in a tree and took their picture. The male seemed to be whispering sweet nothings in the females ear. The next thing I knew they were mating.
Speaking of mating one pair of eagles in Minnesota has already mated and has started laying eggs. It’s a bit early. This same pair laid their eggs in January last year and the eggs froze and they abandon the nest. They seem to be getting a little closer to getting it right this year. You can follow them on the Minnesota DNR webcam.
A few eagles were fishing but when they caught something they attracted a lot of friends. I suppose it is like winning the lottery you find a lot more friends than you knew you had. The bird with the fish usually ended up dropping it resulting in a skirmish on the ground.
In between watching the eagles I also watched the many ducks in the area. While I was watching a truck pulled up and all of the ducks started toward shore. Apparently someone comes every day to feed the ducks. There was also a Redheaded Duck hanging around but it was not interested in feeding along shore.
After lunch we headed up to Hudson to check on the Trumpeter Swans. There was a lot more open water this time. We could see open water on the other side of the river and the swans seemed to be going back and forth between the two areas. There were also a lot more Canada Geese this time. Until the swans and geese are together you have a hard time appreciating the difference in size.
A few weeks ago we drove over to Kinnickinnic State Park for some late fall hiking. We have been to this park a number of times but have never hiked on the trails. I usually go to the park in the winter when it is really cold out and the St. Croix River is frozen over. There is usually open water where the Kinnickinnic flows into the St. Croix. There are usually geese, ducks and swans in the open water.
On this day we encountered quite a few other people. One group was setting trails for a dog trial that was taking place the next day. The other group was enjoying a Halloween party put on by the park. When we walked down to the confluence of the St. Croix and Kinnickinnic there were quite a few Walleye fisherman on the St. Croix.
St. Croix River