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Tag Archives: Menomonie

Another frosty morning on the Prairie. More frost photos can be found on my website.

Snow has been hard to come by this winter. We had a brief snow squall last week and I was able to capture a few birds before it ended.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

More bird photographs from Canadian Hill Farm can be found on my website.

My main interest is photographing birds while it’s snowing out but I do shoot at other times. These are a few birds seen at my feeders in the last few weeks.

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

A year ago my wife purchased some Poinsettia plants for the holidays. After they were done for the season she looked on the internet to find out how she could keep them for another year. I gather she trimmed them back and put them in the basement until last fall.

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She then started rotating them between sunlight and night. At one point we were on vacation so she took them to a friend’s place. The actually turned out quite well for someone who does not have a green thumb.

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There were nearing the end of the season and I don’t have a lot of color to photograph in the winter so I took some photographs of them last week.

It is with a great deal of sadness that we say farewell to Scooter. He has been a member of our family for 15 years ever since he was found as a malnourished stray kitten. He turned up at a picnic at a neighbor’s home and he followed us home after the picnic. Our son fell in love with him and we ended up adopting him. After several visits to the vet and all kinds of shots and medicine he regained his health and has been part of the family ever since.

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He loved being outside chasing mice, deer, foxes, turkeys or whatever else was around. In his younger days he enjoyed going for long walks in the woods with us following us around like a dog.

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For most of the years he slept outside in a special house we made for him. However, in the last few years he became an inside cat in the winter. Still he would wake every morning and run to the back door to go outside regardless of how cold it was out.

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He developed severe arthritis as a young cat. The vet said she had never seen such bad arthritis and she didn’t know how he could even walk. He was able to get around just fine and when our son would come home from school he would love to chase him around the house even at 14 years old.

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The last few years he came to love the sun. When he woke up he would lay down in front of the register in the kitchen until the sun came up. I think it helped his arthritis. On those days when the sun came out he would follow the sun around the house sleeping in various locations during the day.

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This fall he became ill and seemed to recover with a change in diet but several weeks ago the vet said he had cancer. We nursed him along  but finally had to put him down yesterday.

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Fortunately I knew the days was coming and had prepared a grave for him under an apple tree out in the prairie. Scooter was preceded in death by Tiger on January 2, 2010.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog I had a family of House Sparrows show up this summer. Earlier this winter they brought all of their relatives and friends. At first they were feeding off of the ground which didn’t bother me too much but now they have moved to the feeders.

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I think I have my mother’s gene because she used to feed the birds and squirrels and then get mad when they ate too much. I feel this way about the House Sparrows.

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Since there isn’t much I can do about it I might as well make the most of it and try and get some good photos of them. I could probably become a Republican and remove all of the food from the feeders but that would just hurt the rest of the birds.

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Paradise Valley is located a short distance from Devils Punchbowl so I usually stop and check it out as well. I typically find some interesting ice photos as ice forms along the small stream that flows through the valley but the cold weather has frozen the stream and a fresh snowfall had covered any ice formations. The ice wall that forms along the stream was impressive.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the Devils Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin. I used to go there at least once a week during the winter but for some reason I haven’t stopped this winter until last week. We have had some really cold weather so I was interested in seeing how the ice was forming. I was pleasantly surprised to find some great ice at the Punchbowl.

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More photos of Devils Punchbowl can be found on my website.

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Frost

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.

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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

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My wife and I have been skiing the Red Cedar State Trail several times a week. We usually pick a different section of the trail to ski so we have skied all of the trail from Menomonie to Downsville.Red-Cedar-Trail-14-2-_0484

We have been seeing a lot of wildlife on the trail. On three different occasions we have seen a pair of eagles near the ice wall at the 1.5 mile mark of the trail. On one occasion they were on or near the nest across the Red Cedar River and on two other occasions they were sitting side by side in a tree above the ice wall.Bald-Eagles-14-2-_0482

We have been seeing a lot of ducks between Menomonie and Irvington. Most of the river is open in this area and it is one of the few portions with open water. We also saw a lone Trumpeter Swan paddling up the river. It was making quite a bit of noise. We also saw a couple of hawks in trees along the trail. One flew off then came back and flew right at us before landing in a three above us. It just sat and watches as we skied by.Red-Cedar-State-Trail-14-1-_0997

On two occasions we had fresh snow on the trail so we were skiing on what  were ungroomed trails. It was a lot of fun skiing through fresh snow.