Early spring at the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge

On this beautiful but cool Saturday before Easter Sunday, I awoke to a bright and sunny morning. The snow has all melted in this area but now and then the cool nights still get below freezing. It was a perfect morning to head over to the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge just across the river from Winona to get some practice with my photo equipment before heading up north in a few weeks.

I knew there would not be a lot to photograph this early in the season but I also knew there would probably be surprises for us as there always seems to be when we visit the Refuge. Pam and I always enjoy the peaceful serenity of the refuge as we drive around the refuge enjoying all of the early morning sights and sounds. We find it healing and refreshing to watch the antics of the newly awakened wildlife and find ourselves drifting away from the everyday anxieties and problems of the world.

As we entered the refuge, three Bald Eagles startled us as they flushed from a tree next to the entrance road. Without saying a word to each other we both knew this was a good omen to start the day. We took a leisurely drive around the refuge watching, photographing and listening to the wildlife that was present. A short distance in from the refuge entrance we watched ducks and other birds get ready for the day. Pam looked across the road from the ducks we were watching and asked if those were ducks sitting in a tree. I guess it is not that rare but she was right as there were two ducks sitting on the limb of a tree. It just did not look right. The loud calls of some Sandhill Cranes broke the silence of the morning now and then but they never showed themselves.

The images posted below were from our trip today. I had a good time working with the telephoto lens again and I was able to get some wildlife shots. I hope my images convey some of the beauty and serenity we experienced and hope they help promote the need for us to preserve and protect these precious gifts.



These Blue-winged Teal were bathing and preparing for the day and did not
seem to mind the Common Grackles that were feeding nearby.

Stretching and drying in the warm morning sunlight.

Bathing in the slough.
 
Hidden in these drab reeds is a pair of Common Snipe. I almost missed them
but caught a glimpse when one of them moved. Click on the image to
enlarge it and you will find them just above the waterline near the center of
the image.
This Red Squirrel tried and almost succeeded in evading my quick telephoto
lens. 


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