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.