Tag Archives: MacQuarrie Wetlands

Northland Love!

Although our weather can be highly variable … with temperature drops of 30 degrees when the wind shifts off Lake Superior, our local populace has been busy either raising families, or making preparations.

Merlin Hunting for Breakfast (mouth of Lester River on Lake Superior)

Mom Always Liked You Best! (Trumpeter Swan family at MacQuarrie Wetlands)

My Cover Appears to be Blown!

Snapping Turtle Laying Down Eggs

Calling Out for a Mate (Wilson’s Snipe at the Roy Johnson Wetlands)

Searching for a Mate (Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker)

Apple Blossoms for Breakfast (and other fine stories)

Now that the birding migration is pretty much over, I have changed my tactics. During the migration, birds came to me as they migrated “to” and “through” the Northland. Now I have to go find the birds. This task is not too difficult, and my some of my favorite birding locations early in the mating season are the northwest Wisconsin wetlands:

  • Roy Johnson Wetlands & Grasslands (near Cloverland, Wisconsin)
  • McQuarrie Wetlands (near Wrenshall, Minnesota … but in Wisconsin)

Now on to the birds … I for one did not know Cedar Waxwings actually eat apple blossoms! I thought these birds were eating bugs off the blossoms, but I watched for ten minutes as the waxwings bit off and chewed blossoms completely!

The day before in the rain, but still in the Roy Johnson Wetlands I found lots of other “first birds” for the year.

Red Headed Woodpecker

Meadowlark and Wilson Snipe

This morning I visited the McQuarrie Wetlands, and had both this Baltimore Oriole, and a pair of Common Loons pose nicely for my camera.

Wisconsin Wetlands Map

Sing Out for Spring! (videos)

After my failed red-throated loon quest in the Port Washington area of Lake Michigan, I returned to my cold Northland along the shores of Lake Superior. In between birding outings I took a bike ride along the shore … 35F, snow flurries, and a 20 mph wind out of the Northeast. Twas an ugly cold bicycle ride.

Thankfully my birding excursions yesterday to some of my favorite wetlands were much more favorable. Both the Roy T. Johnson Wetlands (near Cloverland, Wisconsin), and the MacQuarrie Wetlands (near Wrenshall, Minnesota) by virtue of their locations relative to Lake Superior are way ahead of birding habitat north of the big lake (read cold with little signs of Spring in evidence).

In addition to both lots of Meadowlarks and Wilson’s Snipes singing out for mates, I saw two big migration events. At MacQuarrie yesterday afternoon when the sun finally came out, I found a flock of 500+ Scaups resting on their northward migration, and a few minutes later 1,000+ tree swallows swarmed the air directly above my head as they fed in the late afternoon sun above one of the wetland ponds.


Wilson’s Snipe


24 Hours in the Northland: Boats, Birds, Fish!

Yesterday I could not buy a decent bird photograph. Although the Meadowlarks were back,  neither them or any other bird species would strike a decent pose for a photo. Thankfully I had a fallback … my first freighter image of this shipping season, The Michipicoten. This ore boat is a classic ship having been built in 1952 … making her four years more a classic than yours truly! I tend to be very picky about which ships I photograph, and the combination of the Duluth Shipping News Schedule and a real time marine app allows me to insure I am at the right place at the right time!

The Michipicoten

The ship photograph must have changed my luck, because over the next 24 hours birds seemed to want their photograph taken, and then to top it off … the steelhead run started which obviously had to be captured on camera. (native rainbow trout which spawn in Lake Superior rivers).

Failed! A Steelhead trying to jump a Lester River cascade.

Wisconsin Wetland Photographs

Ring-Necked Ducks

Sandhill Cranes et al

American Kestrel

A Distant Meadowlark

Stuffed! (A very full Bald Eagle which let me get amazing close and never flushed)