Monday, March 29, 2010

Sandhill Cranes at Crex Meadows

He:  "Why can't we stay at Crex? This looks like a nice place."
She:  "But all our friends are going on to Canada. There's no reason to stay here!"
He:  "We could just stay here and not have to fly any further. Let's just look around."
He:  "I know I haven't been giving you as much attention as I should. Maybe we need a little courtship dancing. What do you say?"
He:  "Hey, Baby! Look at me! Look over here! Let me show you what I can do!"
He:  "See! I can show you a good time -- right here -- in Wisconsin!"

He:  "Has anyone else jumped this high for you? Huh? Have they?"
He:  "Hey! You aren't even looking at me!"
She:  "My mother was right! You just aren't going to amount to anything. All show and no go!"
She:  "I'm off to Canada. You can stay here if you want to! See how you'll do without me! You're following me, aren't you?"

Friday, March 26, 2010

still more from Crex

This small flock of Red-winged Blackbird males may be in migration.
This one looks like he is establishing his territory & may stay at Crex.
Trumpeter Swans were criss-crossing Phantom Lake.
Who's got which set of wings here? Or is this an optical illusion?
(next:  Sandhill Cranes)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

more from Crex

By Monson Lake I spotted this Bald Eagle in the distance. As I approached it took off and joined a second eagle in another tree.
After a short conversation, both decided to try some soaring.

Meanwhile, the Northern Shrike just watched.
(more to come)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crex Meadows, Grantsburg, WI

Monday was my first visit of the year to Crex Meadows. Check out the web site here. This year's program at the refuge may be the most ambitious yet.
I didn't see any Tundras, only Trumpeters.
No female Red-winged Blackbirds yet, but some of the males are establishing territories; others appear to be migrating through.
There were a scattered number of Sandhill Cranes. I don't know whether they are just migrating or planning to stay. I found them in pairs, but not in large flocks. This, and the other photos, were taken shortly after sunrise, hence the warm colors.
More Sandhills and other birds will follow.

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
-- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Monday, March 22, 2010

getting old

Now that I'm over 70, this essay by Scott Bourne has special meaning.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chickadee behavior

During my visit to Springbrook last Thursday, I noticed two Chickadees flying in and out of what looked like a nesting hole in a tree. I wasn't sure what they were doing.
  It wasn't until I saw these photos on my computer that I saw something unexpected.
They were taking wood chips OUT of the hole. Was it for their own nest elsewhere? Were they cleaning out this hole for a nest? This is what I learned at the Sialis site :

They are cavity nesters, usually selecting a site in a rotted part of a tree, especially in stubs, snags and rotted out knotholes in forests and woodlands. Chickadees can excavate their own nest cavities, removing wood chips and dumping them away from the site to avoid attracting predators. They may use old woodpecker holes or nestboxes.
They prefer a side entrance, and if the stub or branch is slanted, the entrance is often placed on the lower surface, providing protection from the elements. Very rarely they may nest in a hole in the ground like Mountain and Chestnut-backed chickadees.

This did not look like a rotting tree. Perhaps a woodpecker had made the hole. What do you think?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

return to Springbrook

With the temp promised to hit over 60 again, how could I resist returning to Springbrook?
  Can you tell I like pussy willows?
There were more Red-winged Blackbirds than on my previous visit.
My first Cedar Waxwing of the year.
The geese were still busy establishing territories.

stream at Springbrook

... but this may be the last year for Whoopers in Necedah

Black flies are the problem. Read about it here.
Where will they go if they come back to Necedah a year from now?

Whooping Cranes back in Wisconsin

read about it here

dust on your sensor?

How to minimize it!  here

going pro

Have you thought about going pro with your camera?
Here is a new blog that may help you.

Friday, March 19, 2010

finding Spring at Springbrook Nature Center

The male Red-winged Blackbirds have returned to Springbrook, though in small numbers.
Mallards are looking for likely nesting spots.
"Yes, I think this will do very nicely!"
Canada Geese also nest at Springbrook.
Territory must be defended at all times. Where are these invisible boundaries?
"That's better!"