Autumn trip to Crex Meadows Part 1

Ever since our spring trip to Crex Meadows earlier this year, I have been anticipating a fall trip back to the Meadows to photograph the Sandhill Cranes staging in the refuge. According to some friendly staff members at the Visitor Center, the Cranes gather at the refuge in Crex Meadows in large numbers in the late fall. They hang around until the flowages start to freeze over and then start their fall migration. While at the refuge, the Cranes fly out early in the morning to feed in neighboring fields and then return at sunset to the security of the refuge to spend the night.

I have always been fascinated by the pairs of Sandhill Cranes I have observed at the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge across the river from Winona. Their large size, loud trumpeting that can be heard for more than a mile and prehistoric appearance make them great subjects for observation and photography.

Pam and I spent several days at Grantsburg, Wisconsin, which is on the edge of Crex Meadows, and photographed the Cranes and other wildlife from early morning until after sunset. Although my primary goal was to photograph the Cranes, we were pleasantly surprised to find other wildlife subjects still active at Crex Meadows. I will mix in photographs of some of the other subjects we photographed with the Sandhill Crane images.

I will post at least one more blog entry in about a week due to the large number of photographs that we took.

Any of the images in my blog are available as enlarged and framed prints.

Please click on the images to enlarge them.

Sandhill Cranes waking up at the Crex Meadows refuge.
Author at Crex Meadows
Sandhill Cranes heading out of the refuge pass the rising sun.

A family of Sandhill Cranes dropping from the sky.
This Tufted Titmouse was so proud of his
catch he didn't mind the clicking camera.
A Sandhill Crane feeding in the marsh mud.
A closeup portrait of an adult Sandhill Crane. A young Crane
is in the background.
Eye to eye with an endangered Blanding's Turtle.
A partial flock of Sandhill Cranes.
A Blue Heron snacking on an unfortunate frog.
A young Crane flying towards the sun.
I added some texture to this shot.
The moon was rising and the sun setting when this shot was taken.
Sandhill Cranes returing to the refuge by the light of the moon.


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