Late fall at Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge

This has been kind of a late autumn here in SE Minnesota. There are many trees with their colorful leaves still intact and many with green leaves still showing. It is about this time of year that I get a little anxious knowing that it will soon be snowing and that all of the beautiful song birds and indeed many other species have already migrated out of the area. With that in mind, I decided to take a trip to the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge at sunrise on Saturday morning to see if there was anything left around to photograph.

It turned out to be a wonderful morning in spite of the weatherman who predicted a clear and sunny morning. The sky was cloudy and a faint haze hung in the air making for good but less than ideal lighting for wildlife. Shortly after arriving, a  nature photographer from Trempealeau showed up at the observation deck overlooking the wetlands and set up his camera. It was nice meeting him and comparing notes.

I am posting some of the photographs I took at the observation deck and some from the interior of the park. Any of these images may be purchased without the watermark by contacting me.

These images are better when viewed enlarged. Just click on the image to enlarge it.

Right next to the deck, a small Red Squirrel showed up and perched himself on a weathered and broken off tree trunk. He brought along what looked like a Black Walnut and was quite content to work on the nut for about an hour paying no attention to us. It turned out to be a great photographic opportunity to capture a colorful squirrel posing so nicely.

The wetlands in front of the deck was teeming with waterfowl. Predominantly Coot. There were however a variety of ducks, geese, and other birds mixed in with the Coot. The geese could be heard honking, the ducks were noisy and off in the distance the trumpeting of a bunch of Sandhill Cranes was unmistakable in the morning air.

A Canadian Goose taking a morning stretch while other ducks feed.

A group of Mallards feeding.
After seeing a couple hundred Coot suddenly start to flee I looked up
and saw the reason for their fear. A young Eagle floated over to check
things out.
A lone Tundra Swan would take to the air occasionally.
A flock of Canadian Geese looking for a better feeding area.
I watched this Great Blue Heron for about a hour before he decided
to do something more photographic.
These American White Pelicans flew over later in the morning.
A flock of Teal, I think, flying against a picturesque background.
About the same time that the Pelicans flew over, the noisy Sandhill
Cranes arrived.

Before leaving the Wildlife Refuge, I took a slow drive on the interior roads to check for other wildlife.

A Downy Woodpecker feeding in some colorful vines.

Along the edge of a road in the Refuge, I spotted a unique bird I had never seen before. I looked him up in the bird book later and hope I am correctly identifying him. If not, please let me know.
Snow Bunting

As it turned out I had a very fulfilling photo shoot on Saturday morning and ended up with way more photographs than I could have hoped for.


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