Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bird Watching

Patrick and I went to Crex Meadows on Sunday. This is a nature preserve across the river in western Wisconsin. It's mixed marshland and prairie and a good place to bird watch. There is a self-guided auto tour through the preserve on two-lane asphalt and gravel roads. A sunny day, not too hot, with lots of wild flowers blooming -- white waterlilies in the open water and lots of flowers I didn't recognize along the road.

We saw two pairs of trumpeter swans, one pair with three half-grown cygnets, as well as 30 to 40 sandhill cranes. This is the most sandhills I have ever seen at one time. Ten of them were scattered here and there in the preserve. 30 were in a flock, standing gracefully in a field and looking like cranes on a Japanese screen, though the landscape looked far too midwestern to be Japanese.

We stopped at an overlook to watch them and walked around a dirt parking lot with a pool of rainwater in its middle. I noticed deer prints around the pool and looked for wolf prints, since we were told there was a wolf pack in the preserve. By golly, we found prints that looked like wolf to us.

A satisfying day. Patrick bought a new feedcap and a book on identifying grasses. I simply looked around the Crex Meadows shop.


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