Monday, January 18, 2010

Rice Lake NWR

During this past summer I decided that I wanted to get out and explore some new places so one Saturday in July I headed up to the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is located about a 2 hour drive from home so I got up early and headed up I35 on my way north.
Rice Lake NWR consists of 18,300 acres of wetland and forest habitat. It was established back in 1935 to preserve valuable wetland habitat for migrating waterfowl. Rice Lake itself, shown above is a shallow wetland and an excellent source of wild rice, which is a valuable food source for many different types of wildlife.
There are plenty of information signs and observation decks to help visitors experience the wildlife habitat. The largest observation deck over looks Rice Lake.
Over 150,000 ducks stop over at Rice Lake during their fall migration. Since I was there during the middle of summer there were not a lot of waterfowl but there were a few resident ducks on most of the lakes and ponds.
Rice Lake constitutes 4500 acres of the 18,300 acres refuge, the rest consists of a few other small lakes and ponds, the Rice River, plus field and forest habitat.
I saw numerous bird species in the wooded areas of the refuge, these included several raptors and passerines like the eastern kingbirds, that were hunting for bugs above the tall grass and wildflowers, and cedar waxwings who were scouring the woods for berries.
Besides birds there were also plenty of mammals, reptiles amphibians and insects for me to photograph. Butterflies like this Aphrodite fritillary fluttered between the many fields of wildflowers.
With all of the water around there were also plenty of dragonflies and damselflies to photograph. It is hard to identify most of the damsels with out having them under a microscope but I still enjoy photographing them. I definitely will have to pay Rice Lake NWR a couple of visits this year.


Sylvia K said...

What a marvelous place!! And your photos are gorgeous! Always love being able to see the birds/ butterflies etc. up close and personal and you provide the chance to do just that! Have a great week!


foto CHIP said...

I wish I could do such good photos on the birds. They always disappeare when I come around :)

JOE TODD said...

What a great place. I'm hoping to get up to the marshes on Lake Erie this spring..

Martha Z said...

Great photos and post, as usual. The Sacramento Delta is a great place in the winter as the birds can enjoy the warmer temps and gleanings from the rice fields. Farmers once burned them, and still do, but many are left for the birds.

eileeninmd said...

It looks like a wonderful national wildlife refuge. I would like to try and visit as many as I can. Great photos!

Gena @ Thinking Aloud said...

Lovely pictures of what appears to be a great place ... so nice to know that there are still great "convservation" areas being well managed and protected!!!
Gena @ Thinking Aloud
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