Archive for January, 2010



21
Jan
10

Deer Runs in Winter

I went hiking today.  The warmer weather has melted and froze the snow to the point of being compacted enough to walk on without sinking much.  No snowshoes required, especially when considering I mainly followed deer runs.  I realize now why deer will travel over and over the same trails.  It makes it really easy to travel through the snow.

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The deer run in the photo above, I’ve seen at least a dozen different deer using this winter.  I followed it for at least a mile before breaking off onto another run.

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When you begin to see droppings and other signs, you know deer have been through there recently.

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This run had me headed directly into the wind and I really had thought I’d see some deer – but didn’t.

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Today was the first time I’ve been back in this part of the park during winter.  There weren’t any skiers around so I wasn’t disturbing anyone.

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I think its pretty this time of year – would have been prettier if I could see some deer.

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There you are.

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Hey!  Stop looking at me like I’m a sandwich.  I had followed the deer runs for about three miles and hiked through the snow for about five or six.  On the way I had noticed the deer runs had gotten smaller, because only a few deer seemed to follow.  Then I noticed droppings and other sign that seemed fresh.  Deer droppings will slowly melt into the snow until disappearing beneath it.  These droppings were on the surface.  Then I noticed tree bark broken and scattered around.  During the winter their stomachs change so they can eat harsher types of food like tree bark, acorns and pine needles.

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Eventually, as they did today, they will run away.  The important thing to remember is they won’t run far.  And if you move slowly and carefully you can reacquire them to get more shots.

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20
Jan
10

Mallard Eating a Fish

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19
Jan
10

Bald Eagles: Gizzard Shad

During winter, a small fish – gizzard shad – an eagle favorite, is affected by the cold weather.  They swim erratically and close to the surface, making them an easy target for eagles.  If one eagle has a shad, other eagles have been seen trying to take the fish away.  Yesterday, I showed pictures of a young eagle snacking.  That bird had placed itself between two other adult eagles and one of them didn’t take well to more competition for the prized shad.

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It flew off its perch from about two hundred yards away and zeroed in on the young eagle.  You’ll have to take my word for it because I only have one camera and I could only track one of the birds, but at this point the other eagle had taken off.

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Whenever I see an animal rollover and expose their belly, I see it as an act of submission.  Maybe this is a celebration, but the younger eagle rolled over, they locked talons, and then it flew away.

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While the eagle that drove it off then landed in a tree…

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and continued to watch…

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the river and me.

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Until it flew back to its original perch – though it didn’t stay there for long.

18
Jan
10

Bald Eagle Landing

We saw two eagles before finding a place to park and watch.  One perched in a tree near a nest I know of, and a second had staked out a tree on an island near downtown Sauk City.  Fortunately for me, that bird got most of the attention and few people drove through by us.

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This was the first bird to fly close enough for me to try and take some pictures.  Two other eagles had already perched about a quarter mile apart and this eagle flew to a spot between them.

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Having spotted a log sitting near the edge of the opposite shore…

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It glided in for a landing.

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It hung out on the log for about ten minutes, when…

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it hopped into the water at the end of the log for a snack.

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And that’s when the fun began, because, as I mentioned before, two other eagles had staked out this part of the river.

To be continued…

17
Jan
10

Sauk City: Bald Eagle in Flight

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Eagles have returned to Sauk City, Wisconsin.  The weather on Saturday, being overcast and foggy, didn’t give me the best lighting, but I still managed to get some nice shots to share with you this week.  Enjoy.

12
Jan
10

Frozen

Understanding the weather, especially this time of year, is very important.  Lately, the temperatures have struggled to get above 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the lakes have frozen.

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Which is good news if you ice fish and don’t want to try swimming while wearing all your winter clothing.

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It also means the rivers have mostly frozen over, which means it’s time to go here.

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Why?  Because the open water attracts ducks, birds, swans, geese…

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and eagles.

11
Jan
10

01-11-10: Snow-covered Cattail Marsh

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