Late spring explosion of beauty at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area

Mother nature has an amazing ability to compensate for all the weather quirks that we experience here in the upper Midwest. Especially the late snowstorms and cold wet spring we all experienced this year in contrast to the very early spring last year. The spring flowers and the wildlife seem to take it all in stride and just delay their grandiose spring appearance. Such was the case when Pam and I headed to Crex Meadows Wildlife area last week to see what surprises awaited us. We have learned to accept what is presented to us as we travel through the wildlife area without focusing on any particular subject. Our slow travel and always searching eyes have been rewarded time and again by the incredible sights and sounds found at Crex Meadows.

Our spring journey started with lunch at the buffet at the Turtle Lake Casino with our friends Marjorie and Denny Doering. Marjorie is getting ready to release her second mystery novel and sequel to "Dear Crossing" in the near future. Then a little gambling and we were on our way to Grantsburg by early afternoon. Pam mentioned that she had won $8.00 on the slots and I dutifully reported losing $10.00. In a feeble attempt at optimism I chirped out that we just about broke even. In a much to quick and insensitive reply Pam stated "No, you lost $10.00"! With a heavy heart I continued on the short drive to the Wildlife area.

The weather on Wednesday afternoon and evening was great for nature photography and exploring the area. The next day was almost as nice and between the two days we were able to witness and in some cases photograph the wonderful sights we encountered. I hope you enjoy the photographs and remember to click on the images to enlarge them for a more detailed view.

Many of the roads in the wildlife area were lined with a variety of colorful
wild flowers. I captured this Mourning Cloak Butterfly on one the the flowers.

We had observed bears in the surrounding area on a couple of previous trips
but never were able to get the cameras out in time. Pam's sharp eyes spotted this
Black Bear and cub just east of the picnic area off of North Refuge road.
A Great Blue Heron.
A pair of Ospreys appeared to be building a nest on the platform near
 the Main Dike Road.

A Red-winged Blackbird did not like the idea of this Osprey flying over in
search of nesting materials.

After evading the Blackbird, this Osprey gathered up nesting material to take
back to the platform.

We usually see these Blanding's Turtles on all of our trips. They are easy
going and appear to be happy to pose for the camera.
A Yellow-headed Blackbird.

An American Bittern.
A Red-necked Grebe watching over it's mates nest located in the tall grass.

If you enlarge this view and look closely, you can see the Red-necked Grebe
sitting on it's nest.

This White-tailed Deer and it's fawn gave me plenty of time to take some
photos before crossing the East Refuge Road.

I photographed these Common Loons sporting their mating colors.

These Trumpeter Swan Signets were resting in the tall grass when
 we spotted them.
A River Otter transporting a large fish appeared as we were watching the
Yellow-headed Blackbirds.

Wood Ducks are so colorful, even when having a bad hair day.

Wood Duck.
This Yellow Warbler, one of my favorite song birds
serenaded us on Thursday morning near Phantom Lake.

This large Snapping Turtle is one of the reasons I am hesitant to swim in lakes.
He is the king of the wetlands and he knows it. I happily moved out of his
way as he ambled along Phantom Lake Road.

A little beauty to offset the sight of the Snapping


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