Monday, November 8, 2010

A Visit to Crex Meadows.

The weather this weekend was superb so on Sunday I decided to head up to Crex Meadows. Crex Meadows is located in western Wisconsin about an hour north of the Twin Cities. Crex is one of my favorite places to go shoot because it is not too far away and you never know what you might see.
On this visit raptors were the order of the day. Since Crex is not too far from the St Croix River it is not surprising to find raptors that stop by while migrating down the Mississippi flyway. I spotted several eagles in the park, both adult and immature. The coots seemed mighty nervous when one of these big predators would fly over head.
What was really exciting though, were all of the rough-legged hawks that I saw in the park. These birds nest up in the Arctic Tundra and winter through out much of the United States.
There are two different color forms of rough-legged hawk. There is the light form, as in the picture below, which is the type that I have seen most often in the past, and the dark form, as in the picture above. This weekend I saw numerous examples of both forms up at Crex, as well as some birds which appear to be a cross between the two.
What is really cool about these birds is the way that they hunt. They will often sit and hover in mid-air and then drop straight down on their prey. They probably have developed this style of hunting do to breeding in a tundra or taiga habitat where there are not many trees from which they can ambush their prey.
I did also find a dragonfly, well sort of. Even though it has got up into the sixties for the past several days we have had a few nights that have gone below freezing. So I will probably have to wait until next year to photograph some more real dragons.

10 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Your photos of the birds are always so incredible! I do look forward to them -- to be able to see them as I never would otherwise! Thank you for the beauty! Have a wonderful week!

Sylvia

Kim Wheeler said...

You are an amazing photographer. I have never seen such awesome photos of the Rough-leggeds!

And, I personally love the dragonfly shot - I worked hard on that pumpkin!

Kim from Crex

BLOGitse said...

wow, excellent pictures! Your world is beautiful...
Greetings from Casa, Morocco!

Kay L. Davies said...

Incredible eagle and hawk photos. When I lived in British Columbia, I used to see a rough-legged hawk (dark) sitting in the same place almost every day, watching the field below. I never saw him catch anything, although he must have caught plenty of food because he was quite chubby and rather cute, for a predator.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Rachel Roushey said...

What wonderful birds of prey photos! I love your eagle shot! Wonderfully captured.

KaHolly said...

OMG! What wonderful images! You never cease to amaze me. Thank you so very much for sharing today. ~karen

ladyfi said...

Wow - these photos are just stunning! What an amazing sight.

Rambling Round said...

Fantastic photos! Lifts my heart.

Country Mouse Studio said...

you got some awesome photos, I love the eagle

Anonymous said...

Your earlier posts about Crex Meadows inspired me to go there myself. Been there twice now, the last time to see the sandhill cranes arrive for the first time in my life.
It gave me the goosebumps - so beautiful.
This post is equally inspiring. Thanks.

Anne