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Category Archives: Wisconsin

When I first started photographing birds I had a blind that I setup out in the back yard near the bird houses. This enabled me to get some great shots of birds building their nests and feeding their young. Several years ago I got the bright idea of moving some bird houses closer to the house so I could photograph from an window or from my deck. This worked great and I had a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nest in one of the houses. This year I had a bluebird check the house out but it turned out a House Wren finally claimed it. Unfortunately the bird house is under a bedroom window and the House Wren seems to start singing well before sunrise.

It was fun watching the wren build it’s nest. They use sticks and it proved difficult to get some of the longer sticks into the house.

 

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I recently stopped at Amnicon Falls to check out the waterfalls. The water levels were good but it was a bright sunny day which made it difficult to photograph the waterfalls.

Snake Pit Falls

Snake Pit Falls

Now and Then Falls

These are a few of the flowers now blooming at Hoffman Hills.

Spiderwort

Common Cinquefoil

Butterfly Weed

Beardtounge

The end of spring and quite a few wildflowers are blooming at Crex Meadows. If you go to photograph them make sure you are protected from ticks. The seem to be out in large numbers.

Lupine and Puccoon

Lupine and Puccoon

Hoary Puccoon

White Water Lily

Indian Paintbrush

Downy Phlox

Common Yarrow

Columbine

Canadian Anemone

Blue Flag Iris

 

 

We have seen quite a few Bald Eagles at Crex Meadows.

 

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.

My first Northern Flicker turned up late in the summer but it was almost five months before I was able to get my first shot of it. In the last month I’ve been able to get quite a few shots of it at my feeder.

 

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.

With the warmer weather I’ve started to see Wild Turkeys wandering around the farm. These were a group of 12 that I noticed walking along the edge of the woods. They are easily spooked, even when I’m in the house, so I felt lucky to get some photos.

 

With the heavy snows in February and early March the deer have had a difficult time finding food. With the arrival of spring a few bare spots have appeared along the driveway exposing the grass in the yard. I’ve had a deer feeding on it the last few days.