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Tag Archives: Bald Eagle


Sandhill Cranes

Trumpeter Swans


Pied-billed Grebe

Great Egret

Bald Eagle

American Coots

Gile Flowage– is located just south of Ironwood, Michigan. What I like about Gile Flowage is that you can photograph at sunrise and sunset and get some great photos. In fact, at both times you can photograph the color of the trees and just turn around and then photograph the rising or setting sun.

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill – Copper Peak is the largest artificial ski jump in the world and the largest ski jump in North America. The top of the jump is nearly 1200 feet above lake Superior. On a clear day you can see for over 40 miles from the top of the jump. Lake Superior and the Porcupine Mountains are visible from the top. The ski jump is open on weekends during fall color season. You can ride the ski lift to the top of the hill and take the elevator part way up the ski jump and then walk to the top.


 Black River  –  It is down the road from Copper Peak and offers some great fall views of waterfalls along the Black River. I particularly like to photograph the reflections found under the bridge that crosses the Black River.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Offers a wide variety of photography locations from the Lake of the Clouds, Union Bay on Lake Superior to mountain streams and waterfalls.

Bonanza Falls – Locate just south of Silver City, Michigan on the Big Iron River. It offers great color and some intimate waterfall shots particularly when the water levels are low.


Bond Falls – Located just outside of Paulding, Michigan. This is a great place to photograph waterfalls any time of year but it is particularly beautiful in the fall. The last week in September is usually a good time to visit.



Hiawatha National Forestis located just south of Munising and offers some great photography opportunities along the many lakes in the area. The peak colors in the national forest are usually a week or so before the colors in Pictured Rocks. Most of the lakes are best photographed early in the morning. More information can be found in an earlier Blog.

Petes Lake

Moccasin Lake

Red Jack Lake

Council Lake

Thornton Lake

Doe Lake

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshoreoffers some spectacular photo opportunities. The fall sunset boat cruise is not to be missed. The many miles of hiking trails through the park offer a wide range of subjects for fall photography.

Oberg Mountain – My favorite place for fall photographs on the Minnesota North Shore. The top of Oberg Mountain offers stunning 360 degrees of the surrounding forests and Lake Superior.

Crex Meadows – stands alone as a destination for photographing the fall Sandhill Crane migration. It is also a great place to photograph fall colors, sunrises and sunsets. You will want to plan on spending the night in Grantsburg, Wisconsin so you can take in the evening and morning flights of the cranes. About an hour before sunset the cranes start returning to the meadows. Folks bring their lawn chairs and just sit and watch them fly into their rousting grounds. You can return to the same location at sunrise and watch the cranes leaving to feed for the day in the surrounding fields. During the day you can drive the back roads south of town to watch the cranes feeding. I have more details on photographing at Crex in an earlier Blog.



 Pewits Nest Located in the southern part of Wisconsin just outside Baraboo. It’s a small gorge with a stream flowing through it. The top of the gorge is covered with large maple trees. If you hit it right the maple trees are spectacular. The gorge itself is worth the trip even after most of the leaves have fallen.


Blue Hills – The Blue Hills rise about 600 feet above the surrounding area. The Native Americans called this area  Paja Toyela or the Blue Hills. This makes for a great fall drive. We usually take county road O west from Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Less than a mile past the Christie Mountain ski area we make a left on Fire Lane Road. This goes past the Blue Hills Cross Country Ski Area. We take a left on Perch Lake Road. We make a small detour to Audie Lake then return to Perch Lake Road. We then take North or South Buck’s Lake Road.

Lost Creek Falls – a beautiful series of waterfalls along the Lost Creek River. They are located just south of Cornucopia, Wisconsin just off of county road C. The falls are well marked and offer an easy 3 mile hike out and back.


At last weeks visit to Crex Meadows we encountered quite a few White-tailed Deer. This faun was right along the road and we didn’t see any adult around. Many of the deer were standing in ponds eating. There quite a few insects around so maybe they were trying to fend them off. The last photo caught one in an embarrassing moment.



There were quite a few Trumpeter Swans around including a pair with Cignets.

We saw a few Sandhill Cranes but no young.

There were quite a few Painted Turtles around and we encountered one Blanding’s Turtle crossing the road.

There was a large family of Mergansers in Phantom Lake.

We encountered a number of Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies enjoying the flowers.

An adult Bald Eagle was sitting by the nest on Phantom Lake Road.

We made a short visit to Crex Meadows last week and were rewarded with quite a few different thing to photograph.

Bald Eagle

White Water Lily

White-tailed Deer

Sandhill Cranes

Red-legged Grasshopper

Pied-billed Grebe

Painted Turtle

Milkweed Seed

Great Blue Heron

Autumn Meadowhawk

After a brief stop at home we embarked on what turned out to be our last fall color trip. Our first stop was the Blue Hills just east of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. We were a little late for the peak color but there were still some nice color in some areas. We did notice that most of the lakes in the area were very high with some of the docks under water.

These were a couple of shots as we reached the outskirts of the Blue  Hills. We encountered the horseback rider of one of the back roads.

These are some shots in the Aldie Lake area.

This is the first time we encountered Bald Eagles on our fall trips through the area. In all we must have seen about a dozen Bald Eagles.

We also encountered a Ruffed Grouse along the road. It posed for some photos before flying off.


The weather was nice so we decided to take another road trip along the Mississippi River looking for birds. The main goal was to find Bald Eagles but Trumpeter Swans and ducks were also fair game. Our first stop was Wabasha but we didn’t see any. We can usually find them in the trees on the east side of the river but there wasn’t a single bird.

Our next stop was Reads Landing. We spotted six Bald Eagles all flying. On pair was performing  synchronized acrobatics. We watched them for quite a while. Unfortunately they were too far away for photographs. This is the first time we haven’t seen any Trumpeter Swans in the area. This is a photo from last year.


We headed for Red Wing and Colvill Park. Unfortunately we only found a single eagle sitting in a tree. He looked a little disheveled.


So far things hadn’t gone all that well so we decided to drive up to Miesville, Minnesota and try and find Kings Bar and Grill. A friend said they had great burgers. It would have made things easier if I remembered the name of the town or the name of the restaurant. All I could remember was that the name of the town started with M and the restaurant might be Kings and it was on highway 61 north of Red Wing .

Fortunately we found the place. It was mid afternoon on a Sunday and the place was packed. Luckily we found a table. The service was fast but it took a while to decide on a burger because there were so many choices. Once we ordered we had our meal in a short time. The burgers were great making up for a lousy day of bird watching. Would highly recommend Kings Bar and Grill. We have added it to our places to stop when we are in the area.

As winter arrived I started thinking of places and events that I wanted to photograph this winter. The events and bird photography require a little more planning than the Landscape Photography locations.

Apostle Islands Ice Caves

Without a doubt the top of my list is the Apostle Islands Ice caves. I discovered them in 2007 and have photographed them every year they have been open. When I first started photographing them I was frequently the only person on the ice that day. What a difference social media makes. This past winter well over a hundred thousand people visited the caves in-spite of the bitterly cold winter. Given the temperatures we have been seeing so far this winter I would expect the ice caves will open again in February. If you haven’t been you should make the trip.



The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race will be taking place on February 7th and 8th. This is really a fun family event and one of the better sled dog races from a viewers point of view. It is possible to get up close to the dogs at the start of the races. Since it is an out and back race you can also stick around and watch the mushers return. They also have different levels of races from professionals to kids.

Off and Racing

Off and Racing


If you are really lucky, like we were last year, the Apostle Island Ice Caves will be open that weekend. You also may also be able to drive out to Madeline Island on the ice road while you are in the area.

Bond Falls

Although Bond falls is best known as a fall destination for photographers it provides some exceptional photography in the winter. There are not many waterfalls that are all that interesting to photograph in the winter. Bond Falls in the U.P. of Michigan is an exception. Most waterfalls in the Upper-Midwest are frozen in the winter. If there has been fresh snow they look like all of the other scenery. Bond falls is just below a dam it has water flowing all winter regardless of how cold it is. The flowing water combined with some interesting ice formations makes this one of my favorite winter photography locations.

Bond Falls

Bond Falls

Ice Bond Falls

Ice Bond Falls

Mississippi River

During the winter we make a number of trips over to the Mississippi River looking for eagles. Our first stop is usually Alma, Wisconsin where eagles hang out around the lock and dam. The National Eagle Center provides a weekly report of eagles seen along this section of the Mississippi River. They also provide eagle watching tours.

We then drive north to Reads Landing, Minnesota. We commonly see 30+ eagles in front of the Reads Landing Brewing Company. You can stop in the Brewery and watch the eagles in comfort while having lunch.

Our last stop is usually  in Colvill Park  Redwing, Minnesota where the eagles hang out near the open water below the power plant. The catch to watching eagles in the winter is the best time to find them gathered in large numbers is when there is a bitterly cold stretch of weather. This causes the Mississippi to freeze up and reduces access to open water.


Canadian Hill Farm

I can usually find something to photograph on the farm during the winter but most of my time is spent photographing birds during snow storms. There is nothing like hunkering down in the house with a roaring fire in the fireplace while sitting in my rocking chair and photographing birds.

Northern Cardinal male

Northern Cardinal male

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Hudson, Wisconsin

Hudson is a great place to watch Trumpeter Swans during the winter. With the successful reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans into the Midwest watching and photographing them has become a year around event. Trumpeter Swans don’t migrate in the winter they just move to the nearest open water. There is a small patch of open water in Hudson where they congregate in large numbers during the winter months. It is easy to get up close and photograph them.



Hudson is also where the Hudson Hot Air Affair is held every February. This is one of the few hot air balloon rallies in the area. It is well worth the trip to watch the inflation and flight of the balloons.

Hudson Hot Air Affair 14-2-_0710



Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls State Park is a favorite stopping point during the winter. Although in very cold weather the Amnicon River usually freezes there are times when I can find open water. The tannin tainted water car result in some colorful photos.

Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls

Horton Covered Bridge

Horton Covered Bridge

Red Cedar State Trail

In the winter most of the Red Cedar State Trail is a cross country ski trail so in order to photograph it you have to be willing to cross country ski. There are some beautiful ice walls along the trail at the 1.5 mile mark. These are the result of water seepage through limestone rock.


On cold days the trees along the trail can be covered in heavy frost.



The southern portion of the trail is a walking trail in the winter and on a sunny day I like to photograph the Dunnville Stone in the late afternoon light.

Dunnville Sandstone

Dunnville Sandstone

Grand Marais, Minnesota

I like to make the trip to Grand Marais at least once every winter. I’m never quite sure what I’ll find. On one trip there were high waves washing over the breakwater and lighthouses.

West Breakwater Light

West Breakwater Light

At other times I love to take intimate shots of the ice formations that are formed when the water washes over the breakwater and then freezes into beautiful patterns.


Devil’s Punchbowl

I like to photograph at Devil’s Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin in the winter. Water seeping through limestone rocks creates a massive ice wall in the bowl. There are also opportunities to photograph objects frozen in the ice.

Devil's Punchbowl

Devil’s Punchbowl


Surf Lines

We made a couple of trips to Houghton to pick up our son for Thanksgiving break. On the trip up we stopped at Union Bay on the edge of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. I manage a few quick photos. This is a shot from the beach at Union Bay.

On the return trip after Thanks giving we found that the UP had much more snow. So much that a number of the x-country ski destinations were open. This was a big change from previous years. The locals seem to think they will be having a huge year for snow. Apparently when the lake is warm, as it was this year, they are estimating they will get over 300 inches.

Bald Eagle

We saw more wildlife than we have ever seen on our drives through the UP. Deer were abundant. We ran across on deer kill with four eagles on it and saw about a dozen eagles in all. Also saw a couple of fox walking across a lake. This is a shot of one of the eagles waiting near the deer kill.

Abandoned Buildings

We stopped along the highway just north of Bruce Crossing to take some photos of a long abandoned farm house. I had been wanting to get a B&W of the place when the snow was on the ground but hadn’t had the opportunity before. The snow is usually so deep that it is difficult to park along the road but it worked out this trip.


Bald Eagle

The Gilbert Creek Wildlife Area is located about 7 miles west of Menomonie, Wisconsin and is my favorite local area for photographing spring birds since it is only about 10 minutes from my farm. The spring birds started arriving several weeks ago. Canada Geese and several types of ducks frequent the area although there doesn’t seem to be as many birds as in past years. I’ve seen three mature Bald Eagles in the area recently. This year, for the first time, there is a Trumpeter Swan frequenting the area. Several weeks ago the Sandhill Cranes returned and I noticed a pair is now nesting fairly close to the road.

More Gilbert Creek photos on my website.

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