Friday, April 24, 2009

Crex Meadows

The last couple of days have been really nice. With temps in the 70s and 80s it has begun to feel like summer. Too bad I could not get today off, one of our crew had to go to Baltimore this week so the rest of us had to stick around, or I might have made my first run of the year up to Crex Meadows. Crex is a Wildlife Management Area located on the Minnesota and Wisconsin border on the Wisconsin side. It is one of the places where I like to spend a lot of time at during the warmer months but since it takes about an hour and a half to get there I usually only go on weekends or when I have a day off. My last trip to Crex was last October, 10-25 to be exact. It was one of those nice Indian summer days that we had right before it got cold. It was a pretty good day for birding also. This was the first northern shrike that I saw last fall.
A population of sandhill cranes lives in Crex through out the summer. On a few occasions we have even been lucky enough to see a sandhill pair out with its new colt, that is what baby sandhills are called.
In the fall the sandhill poulation grows as birds from all around the area converge on Crex and use it as a staging area for the fall migration. Soon after these pictures where taken these sandhills were on their way to some where warm like the New Mexico, south Texas or Florida.
Another visitor to the refuge during the fall are rough legged hawks. These birds nest up on the northern tundra of Alaska and Canada. Most spend their winter down in the lower 48 states. This one may have spent the winter at Crex or he might have just been stopping off to look for some lunch on his way further south.
One of the most common raptors found at Crex is the bald eagle. The abundance of water on the refuge and fish that are found in the water provide for numerous nesting pair in and around the park. During the winter these eagles will head south in search of open water and may end up a couple of hours south at Reeds Landing in southern Minnesota.

3 comments:

The Explorer said...

you showed us the beauty of the birds...which is amazing

Abe Lincoln said...

These are just fabulous photos.

Radd Icenoggle said...

Great images...especially the sandhills