Crex Meadows

Wisconsin!  It’s not all cow pastures and cheese making.  I’m up in northwest Wisconsin to spend a few days at Crex Meadows state wildlife area.

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Some people call this area the “pine barrens” – which is a rather unfortunate term.  It’s far from a barren landscape – the area is filled with shallow ponds, wet meadows, marshes, and stands of trees.  Marsh birds love it!  I counted over 60 Wood Ducks and over a dozen Trumpeter Swans today.

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The weather has been unsettled, with clouds, showers, and thunderstorms.  It has made for some dramatic lighting, though.

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I met the little guy below on the side of the road.  He’s a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel, and he was munching on some grass seed.

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This area is called Crex Meadows, and it gets its name from a type of native wire grass (Carex stricta).  In fact, in the early part of the 20th Century, there was a huge carpet-making factory here that used this wire grass to make carpets.

Swans are a real highlight of summer on the refuge.  Here are a couple of them floating on one of the many shallow lakes.  The black and white smear on the left of the picture near the top is a Black Tern on fly-by just as I snapped the photo.

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On the way back to my hotel (in downtown Siren, WI – population 187), I passed this Bald Eagle perched on an old sign in a field.  It was a bit of an odd sight for someone who is used to Bald Eagles perching in 100-ft Western Hemlocks, snagging fish out of Puget Sound, and soaring past Mt. Rainier.  This fella was just chillin’ in the middle of this marshy swamp.

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More from Crex tomorrow!

1 Comment

Filed under Birding

One response to “Crex Meadows

  1. Your article and pictures of Crex Meadows were great. I also visited it but in the winter so I just saw the education and visitor center. However, it looks like an interesting place to visit in the summer.I also wrote an article and posted it on my blog: http://www.steppingintothegarden.com/?p=1162

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