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Category Archives: Trumpeter Swan

Last week at Crex Meadows we encountered a pair of Trumpeter Swans with their Cygnets. We noticed the male walking out onto the road and looking around. It appeared that he was waiting for something. Soon he crossed the road and entered the water before taking off. He didn’t fly far.

 

Soon the female came onto the road with three little ones. I got a little too close and she went into protective mode.

They finally decided to cross the road and started feeding right beside the car.

 

 

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On our recent visits to Crex Meadows we have seen quite a few Trumpeter Swans.

 

This past weekend was the Annual Midwest Crane Count for my area. It was originally scheduled for April 13th but was postponed one week because of a blizzard. Probably a good thing it was because there were not many birds around the day after the blizzard. When we headed out early in the morning we were greeted with a full moon. Our counting area was Gilbert Creek Fishery and Wildlife Area about seven miles west of Menomonie, Wisconsin.

 


The goal was to count Sandhill Cranes. We saw four cranes and heard another pair calling. This tied for the most cranes we have counted during the crane count

 

In addition we counted other birds in the area. The highest count was for Red-winged Blackbirds. We stopped counting at thirty five. All but one of them were male birds. The second photo is of the only female that we saw.

There were a few Buffleheads in the pond and they seemed to be chasing one another around the pond.

 

For the first time since I started counting I found Trumpeter Swans in the area. I noticed them a couple of times this spring so maybe they will stay for the season.

 

There were several Canadian Geese on their nests.

It’s the spring doldrums. The weather is nice but there is still lots snow around so I can’t get out to do any yard work. I decided to make another trip up to Crex Meadows on Thursday. My wife decided to come along. It’s always a good idea to have a driver. Turned out to be a good decision because I saw quite a few new birds that have arrived at Crex Meadows. The Sandhill Cranes are back in large numbers. In the first photo the crane is preening itself with mud. The Iron in the mud stains the feathers giving the crane the reddish color. Notice that in the last photos these cranes are still the lighter color.

We also encountered a Great Blue Heron right along the road. Normally they take off when we drive up but this one stood its ground. When it did fly it only few a short distance and stayed along the road. We followed it for about 50 yards as it moved from place to place. It was a great chance to get a variety of poses.

There were a large number of Hooded Mergansers in the meadows. They were a bit shy but I was able to get a few photos.

 

There were more Trumpeter Swans around than there were a couple of weeks ago.

Once again we saw over a dozen Bald Eagles. The first photo shows one near the nest. The mate was sitting on the side of the nest. I don’t think there were any eggs yet.

There were quite a few Canadian Geese around.

We saw a couple of Muskrats. This one was right beside the road and seemed totally oblivious to our presence.

Still quite a bit of ice around the meadows and some of the roads were quite muddy.

My wife and I drove around Crex Meadows on the last day of winter. We managed to see over a dozen Bald Eagles during our two hours in the Meadows. The first photo shows a pair of Eagles sitting by their nest of Phantom Lake Road.

There were lots of Trumpeter Swans around staking out their territory for the summer breeding season.

We saw quite a few Rough-legged Hawks flying around but they were not interested in posing for the camera.

This is the first Racoon that I’ve seen at Crex Meadows.

We also saw a White-tailed Deer.

I had been photographing these two swans and was getting back into the car when I heard a ruckus on the flowage. The two swans I had been watching had gotten into a heated argument which went on for some time.

Things seemed to calm down when I noticed them looking at another swan in the area.

All of a sudden they went after the third swan and managed to chase it to another area of the flowage.

It is rare when the wind isn’t blowing at Crex Meadows. We arrived early in the morning and this small pond was calm. Made for some nice reflection shots.

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.

After finishing our hikes at Chapel Falls and Mosquito Falls we drove through the park to Grand Marais and then on to Seney. By this time the winds were really blowing. There were trees down and in one place a tree had fallen over a power line. We were wondering if we would have power when we reached Seney. The hope was to get some good sunset and sunrise photos but it didn’t work out. The next morning we drove through the Refuge. There were some Trumpeter Swans around.

There was a small flock of Canada Geese on one of the flowages.

We also found one lone Wood Duck.

The fall colors were OK but not the best we have seen at Seney. I did get a nice shot of some backlit fern leaves.

We made a late spring visit to Crex Meadows last week. Our first stop was a Bald Eagle nest on Phantom Lake Road. One of the adults was sitting by the nest and there were two young in the nest. It looked like they were just about ready to leave the nest.

When we reached Phantom Lake we found a number of pairs of Canada Geese with their young. This adult seemed to be upset with something and it kept chasing other geese.

There were a number of pairs of Trumpeter Swans with their young. The adults were furiously churning the water. I assume to free plants from the bottom so they would float to the surface and the Cygnets could feed on them.

One of the popular attractions this year has been Killdeer nesting in the roads around the flowage.

We also found this Leatherback Turtle laying eggs along the road.

The spring flowers were out in the meadows. Indian Paintbrush and Yellow Water Lilies were common.

We encountered a number of White-tailed Deer in our drive through the meadows.

The young ducks have also hatched and could be found on the flowages.