Tag: birds

Finches in the foggy morning

Common redpoll, distinguished by streaked flanks, small size and stubby yellow bill.
Common redpoll, distinguished by streaked flanks, small size and stubby yellow bill.

finchjan102013 010

Updated with a new January, but this time a snow day and finches a little argumentative.
Updated with a new January, but this time a snow day and a little argumentative.
Often if seeds get covered with very much snow, they can't seem to find them.
Often if seeds get covered with very much snow, they can’t seem to find them.

Finches came to the feeder in a large flock on this foggy, gray January thaw day.

They stayed for maybe five minutes eating black sunflower seeds.

There were some goldfinches and some purple finches, but they were beingĀ  less photogenic.

The flock left in a burst of wings. I wonder how they all decide to do that?

Hiking the Ice Age Trail – Lake 19 Segment

Intense green of moss in late sunlight on the forest floor.

The sun was low in the sky when we started this hike. If the leaves hadn’t already been mostly on the ground it would have been too dark in this section of the Chequamegon National Forest. As it was there were still beams of light hitting the forest floor and lighting the moss and ferns.

Huge white spruce, huge…just about every tree is huge along this trail. Note the yellow trail markers to keep you on track, this section of the trail isn’t as obvious as some of the other sections.

The Ice Age Trail is a national scenic trail entirely in Wisconsin, this part is in Taylor County. Taylor County has 60 miles of trail, largely in national forest land and county forest land. This segment is accessible off a gravel road called lake 19 (near Lake 19).

A feel of primordial forest.

It is a quiet hike except for the crunch and swoosh of kicked leaves, the huff of dog’s breath and the distant and continuous calling of some barred owls. This section is lower than most of the others with lots of roots and rocks and roller coaster dips. For this reason hiking boots with ankle stabilization are good.

Lots of weird tree roots elevating the trees.
And great moss, all different kinds, everywhere.

After 15 minutes or so the owls stopped calling, a really quiet woods for a while and then it became the chickadees turn to close out the day. There were also nuthatches flitting around fairly low, maybe collecting pine cone seeds or maybe something else.

Once the sun sets it does go to dark quickly. Time to get back to the car and drive home.

Dan taking a last photo of an interesting tree trunk.

Hiking the Aldo Leopold trail by Mondeaux Flowage

A short (1.2 miles) very pretty hiking trail (rated moderately difficult) along the top of an esker between the Mondeaux RiverĀ  on the north side and a wildlife filled large pond marshy area on the other.

This partly sunny, partly dark-gray cumulus cloudy 50 degrees fall day was great for a hike, the only difficulty was knowing how warm to dress as the sunny parts were too warm and the cloudy parts rather cool. The only sounds were whispering of the breeze, the crunch of leaves, murmuring of ducks and the occasional goose honk from the watery areas below.

Trail is clear with some slightly steep hills and views on both sides of water.
Looking onto the marsh from a lower part of the trail, I can hear ducks out there.
Substantial yellow birch, one of the biggest ones I’ve ever seen.
This is the view from the far end of the lower loop. I missed photographing the huge flock of ducks rising with glaring sun on their wings from this area of water.

And then there were swans.
Dan kept Max occupied while I got in place to photograph the swans.
There were seven total Tundra swans, three of which were quite obliging.

Tundra swans are much more common than trumpeter swans, but still we don’t see them that often.

They came towards us for a while then floated and conversing together in soft train whistle hoots that Max decided might be threatening so he began softly growling after each hoot.

The return part of the hike offered no surprises although the beauty of the day remained.

Mondeaux Flowage itself is being drained down again this year, it is not very pretty right now with mud flats showing. However, looking skyward the sunset had nice tangerine and then pink cloud highlights and the all-you-can-eat fish and coleslaw dinner at the Mondeaux lodge did not disappoint.