Wisconsin! It’s not all cow pastures and cheese making. I’m up in northwest Wisconsin to spend a few days at Crex Meadows state wildlife area.
Some people call this area the “pine barrens” – which is a rather unfortunate term. It’s far from a barren landscape – the area is filled with shallow ponds, wet meadows, marshes, and stands of trees. Marsh birds love it! I counted over 60 Wood Ducks and over a dozen Trumpeter Swans today.
The weather has been unsettled, with clouds, showers, and thunderstorms. It has made for some dramatic lighting, though.
I met the little guy below on the side of the road. He’s a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel, and he was munching on some grass seed.
This area is called Crex Meadows, and it gets its name from a type of native wire grass (Carex stricta). In fact, in the early part of the 20th Century, there was a huge carpet-making factory here that used this wire grass to make carpets.
Swans are a real highlight of summer on the refuge. Here are a couple of them floating on one of the many shallow lakes. The black and white smear on the left of the picture near the top is a Black Tern on fly-by just as I snapped the photo.
On the way back to my hotel (in downtown Siren, WI – population 187), I passed this Bald Eagle perched on an old sign in a field. It was a bit of an odd sight for someone who is used to Bald Eagles perching in 100-ft Western Hemlocks, snagging fish out of Puget Sound, and soaring past Mt. Rainier. This fella was just chillin’ in the middle of this marshy swamp.
More from Crex tomorrow!