Spring at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area -

Pam and I had been waiting for a spring trip to the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area since April. We finally found an opportunity last week and headed up to the CMWA on Wednesday afternoon.

It was raining of course when we arrived so we headed over to explore the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area. I had toyed with the idea of reserving a blind to observe the Sharp-tailed Grouse mating displays this spring but the late season snow storms changed my mind. We did get to see the area and saw one of the blinds still set up. Another plan for next spring perhaps.

Thursday and Friday were bright and sunny from dawn until dusk and great for wildlife photography. Spring was just starting to take hold as a few tiny flowers were seen popping up and the leaves were just starting to appear on the trees. The wildlife was abundant and appeared to enjoy the sunshine as well. They were readily visible with the trees being bare except for those tiny colorful leaves and buds and the ground cover was minimal.

In addition to the species pictured below we also observed Whitetail Deer, Turkeys, Pheasants, Sandhill Cranes and many small wrens, warblers a variety of ducks and other birds we were not able to photograph. We were truly fortunate to get the sunshine in this otherwise very wet spring.

If you ever make the trip to the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Grantsburg, Wisconsin don't forget to stop at the Visitor Information Center to see their great wildlife displays, visit their small store and get the latest information on wildlife sightings and locations from the friendly staff members. You might also consider joining the Friends of Crex to help support this remarkable area. Here is a link for more information.

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area

OK... grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and sit back as I have more images than usual for you on this post. Also remember to click on any of the images to enlarge them for viewing with greater detail and feel free to share this blog with your friends or on Facebook etc.

There were a lot of Canadian Geese around but only a few goslings.
A fluffy Pied-billed Grebe.
This Common Loon was busy doing his comical foot wag in the morning sun.
A Common Loon displaying his incredibly detailed color patterns
A Trumpeter Swan on Thursday morning.
This Green-winged Teal was enjoying the sun on Thursday morning.
After a morning of exploring and photographing at Crex Meadows, we headed into Grantsburg, about a 2 minute drive, to find a place for lunch. We found this quaint little cafe on Main Street that had the interior walls lined with antiques. The food was good and the service prompt and friendly.
We also enjoyed a breakfast at the Cafe.

The Country Cafe on Main

Then it was back to the task at hand finding more wildlife to photograph and enjoy.

Based on it's eye color I think this is a Spotted Towhee.

A Blanding's Turtle in the marsh sunning.
One of the tiny flowers that were starting to pop up in the Wildlife Area.
A Red-necked Grebe.

Although I had heard of them, I had never actually seen any Americal Bitterns at Crex Meadows. Because of the lack of ground cover and Pam's sharp eyes we spotted several of these unusual birds that are described as being cryptically colored marsh birds in the Heron family. You can see for yourself how they would be difficult to distinguish in a marsh with marsh grass.
A close up image of the Bittern.

The Bitterns point their beaks toward the sky when alarmed.
This Eastern Bluebird welcomed us into the picnic and camping area on the
north side of the refuge.

Pam caught a lucky glimpse of this Mink Friday afternoon and he was playful
enough to hang around for some photos. I understand that they are
nocturnal mammals.

On this trip to the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area we stayed a couple nights at the Best Western Motel in Siren, Wisconsin which is about 15 miles east of Grantsburg. Early Friday morning as we were headed west we spotted a Black Bear near the highway. Not an uncommon sight in the area but a thrill for us folks from down south. :) We had also noticed a roadside memorial to the tornado that ravaged Siren in 2001. It was a unique reminder of the power of that storm.

June 18, 2001 Tornado Memorial
One of my all time favorite birds.  A Yellow Warbler.
A Palm Warbler
A Least Flycatcher
American Redstart
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Yellow-headed Blackbird.
Brown Thrasher
Eastern Kingbird
Veery - I think
Red-tailed Hawk
Thanks for viewing my blog.



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  2. Great photos Al! Thanks for posting about Crex Meadows. You do good work! ~ Kim


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