The following entries are from the McGills continuing exploration of Seney National Wildlife Refuge located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This Refuge holds a special place in the hearts of Michael & Teresa. It is, in fact, a 'refuge' for them providing them with a peaceful, serene place to do what they love most-photograph and film Michigan's wonderful wildlife.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal October 15, 2012
It’s our final day on the Refuge. This year the Refuge in honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week will be open till October 21. Unfortunately, we have to get our trailer downstate and turn it into our eagle blind before the end of next week.
So we stopped to say goodbye to our dear friend Pat Foldenaur and Jan Barrett who were volunteering at the Visitors Center this morning. It’s always sad to say goodbye but….it will be a new season before we know it.
We took our new friend Marty the Moose from Pennsylvania in to meet the girls. They even posed for pictures with him. He is actually a plastic moose that a Facebook friend of mine sent me to take around the Upper Peninsula to show him what Michigan has to offer. It has been a blast seeing this beautiful state through another’s eyes (even if they are plastic) LOL!
We were greeted by a ruffed grouse on the Entrance Rd. A few pied billed grebes are still out and about around the Refuge. The trumpeter swans were busy with their tails in the air eating.
Ring-necked ducks, wood ducks and lots of mallards gathered around the pools, too.
Mrs. E Pool eagle was manning one of her many tree posts and let me get a photo before saying goodbye till next year.
It has been an awesome year at the Refuge. Loons with chicks, pied billed grebes with chicks, eagles and eaglets, ospreys , northern harriers, wood ducks in all stages of plumage, white-tailed doe and young nursing….the list goes on and on!! Hope everyone has a great winter!! We will see you all again for sharp-tailed grouse count in Apirl!!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal October 14, 2012
We woke up to a rainy cool morning. It is 46 degrees as we enter the Refuge. The pied billed grebes are feeding along the shoreline of F Pool. Our eagle couple is hunting together in their tree on I/F drive. Trumpeter swans are feeding on the backside of F Pool.
E Pool has a bufflehead male that takes off. There is a mixed flock of waterfowl, ring-necks, mallards, grebes etc.
Lots of pied billed grebes throughout the Refuge feeding close to the shore. A great blue hero flies out of E Pool to land on an island. Wood ducks are scattered around the pools but not as many as there have been.
D Pool has the trumpeter swan family with their one big cygnet or is it a juvenile now. Canada geese and pied billed grebes are once again feeding along the shore.
C Pool has lots of pied billed grebes all along the shore along with a few wood ducks and ring-necked duck.
The rain is pouring down as we leave the Refuge. We decide to head over to Munising to check out the waterfalls. We haven’t done that in a while. What a better thing to do then watch waterfalls as the water ‘falls’ out of the sky. LOL!
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. It’s our last one for the season. We take our trailer home tomorrow and convert it into our eagle blind. But remember the Refuge won’t close this year till October 21 in honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge October 7, 2012
The sun was shining as we entered the Refuge. This was so nice after the rainy, snowy day we had yesterday. It is still only 37 degree but not as windy as yesterday.
One of our E Pool eagles is sitting in one of its favorite trees along the F/I drive. Trumpeter swans are feeding happily on F Pool.
Canada geese are enjoying the eats on E Pool. There is a gathering of miscellaneous waterfowl out near the eagle nest island. We see ring-necks, coots, pied billed grebes, mallards and redheads all together. Too bad they weren’t in closer to the shore.
We have pied billed grebes scattered throughout the Refuge. We love these little guys. They submerge like submarines. They are divers and related to the loon family.
Song sparrows and white crowned sparrows are feeding along the drive. A northern harrier is flying over B marsh. It lands in a tree but then continues to head further back away from us.
Wood ducks are near my secret cove area. But as I sneak in to get a shot another car stops and spooks the wood ducks. Bummer! The lighting was picture perfect. Hopefully, I will get another chance next weekend.
We stop at the end of C Pool to watch some pied billed grebes. We heard eagle chatter and looked up to find our E Pool eagles enjoying the day. They were flying and chattering together.
We also saw our first great blue heron of the day. I actually spooked it as I was walking down the trail to look for wood ducks.
It was a pleasant day, still some color here and there around the Refuge. Hopefully, we’ll have a little more action next weekend. It will be our finally weekend on the Refuge till next spring.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge September 30, 2012
It’s a gorgeous, crisp fall morning as we enter the Refuge at 8:45am. It is 36 degrees with blue skies and sunshine.
Pied billed grebes, trumpeter swans and Canada geese are dotted throughout the Refuge. We spot our E Pool eagles in their tree along the Marshland Drive so we decide to head that way. It’s a chance we have to take. They could easily be gone before we get there. But to our great delight there they were sitting side by side. We also got a bonus…one of their juveniles had landed in a tree just down from them!! We haven’t seen much of the young since they fledged so this was a real treat!
Well my day was made in the first hour of being on the Refuge!!! Everything else now is gravy to me! LOL! A great blue heron is sitting in a tree in the middle of C marsh.
There are quite a few pied billed grebes on E Pool along with a few wood ducks.
Another great blue heron is sitting on a dead tree at the west end of E Pool. I love seeing them in trees!!
A northern harrier is hunting over the north end of D Pool where G Pool eagle is sitting in a tree.
Ring-necked ducks and pied billed grebes are feeding throughout C Pool. One of the juvenile eagles is sitting in a tree at the east end of C Pool.
Quite a few wood ducks are near the cove area. I am hoping there is at least on in there. Yes!! One male wood duck in full fall breeding plumage is in the cove. I’m going to sneak in and see if I can capture some shots. The lighting is perfect.
Success!!! I was able to get some awesome shots of a very handsome male wood duck!!! Wow! The day keeps getting better and better!!
At the end of C Pool we have several pied billed grebes. We also have three male wood ducks who are fighting. By the time we stop they take off. Bummer!
We end our first run at 11:15am. And head back around for another run this time through the Fishing Loop. Today is the last day the Fishing Loop is opened for the season.
One of the adult eagles is sitting in the tree along the F/I drive behind F Pool. A great blue heron takes off out of E Pool. A juvenile northern harrier lands at the edge of an island on J Pool. It was so fun to watch it. It actually took a bath then went and sat on a stump to dry. Cool!! Amazing what you see when you just sit and observe the things around you.
We have a pied billed grebe in J channel. We spook up two sharp-tailed grouse in the G/J marsh. G Pool has twenty plus juvenile blue-winged teals feeding voraciously. Canada geese are settled in on the south end of G Pool. An eagle flies over to the backside of G Pool.
We spot a pair of sandhill cranes in D marsh where we also spot a great blue heron flying from E over to D marsh.
I spot a great blue heron hiding in C marsh. If I hadn’t looked back I would never had seen it. It was actually quite close to the road. I was able to get some great flight shots of it. As we are photographing the great blue heron, a belted kingfisher lands on a nearby tree. I was also able to ‘shoot’ it before it, too, took off.
A little further down we have a little pied billed grebe preening and feeding close to the shore. We enjoy watching it for quite some time.
We didn’t see our C Pool daddy loon and young today so we are assuming they have finally headed out for their wintering grounds. Safe travels….hope to see you in the spring!
We finish our second run around 2:30pm. We take a break then head back for our last run on the Fishing Loop at 4:30pm.
The wind is picking up and everything seems to be a little on edge. Our northern harriers seem to be just staying out of our reach today. We did have on fly out of a downed tree on E Pool and fly in front of us but…still not close enough for good pictures.
A flock of ring-necked ducks is looking for a place to settle out of the northwest wind that is picking up. We end our final run at 6:30pm with the sun still shining! Awesome day!!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge September 25, 2012
We woke up to clear skies!!Granted it is only 39 degrees but who cares as long as there is sunshine!! We head into the Refuge around 9:30am. The colors are starting to pop with reds and oranges!
A few wood ducks are in the small pool in front of the Visitors Center along with a young pied billed grebe.
As we started the Marshland Drive we are greeted by trumpeter swans along with some wood ducks who are gleaning what the swans miss.
We a male wood duck on E Pool. Farther out is a group of mixed waterfowl including some coots, teals and wood ducks. The pied billed grebes are still in F Pool only too far out for photos.
We have two northern harriers around E Pool on the Fishing Loop! One flew over to F marsh. There is a red-tailed hawk sitting in a tree along the H Pool drive.
A great blue heron is fishing on the edge of H Pool. We stop to watch the northern harrier in F marsh. I actually lands on the edge of H Pool not too far from the great blue heron. We sit and wait to see what it is going to do. We wait and we wait and we wait. Finally, it gets spooked off when some Refuge vehicles pull out of the drive along J Pool and turn around. We are pretty sure this is the area that the harriers nest in. So next year we will have to take some time and monitor the area.
While I am watching the harrier on H Pool, I spot one of the juvenile eagles sitting in a tree out in the middle of the Pool. It is nice to get at least a glimpse of one of the young. They have been very elusive this year.
As we round the corner to G Pool, we spot a small gathering of wood ducks. As we are about to ‘shoot’ them a sharp-tailed grouse flies out of the brush and spooks them. Bummer!
At the west end of E Pool a great blue heron is fishing contently. As we round the E/D spillway we spot another northern harrier flying back to the west. A red-tailed hawk is flying high over the pool.
We have a broad-winged hawk in B marsh being hassled by a raven but it flies off before we can ‘shoot’ it.
Along C Pool there are wood ducks and pied billed grebes. Our daddy loon is out in the middle of the pool. No sign of junior but he could be out practicing its flying skills, hopefully. At the end of C Pool we have several more pied billed grebes, some ring-necked ducks and wood ducks.
We end the first run at 12:30pm with the clouds building.
Our second run through it has warmed up to 46 degrees! LOL! One of the mature eagles is in another of its favorite hunting trees along the I/F drive.
Just as we crest the knoll to J Pool our northern harrier takes off from the dead tree that is lying in the water. Bummer!!!! It lands in a tree for a second before flying back to the east. It has definitely been a day for the harriers!! Just wish I could get some clean shots of them. Oh well, there is always another day or another season.
In the woods back by the G/J spillway we found some gray Taiga jays. This is usually the time of the year we see them in the area.
At G Pool we have sandhill cranes, blue-winged teals, Canada geese, pied billed grebes and a cute little muskrat feeding in the shallows.
In D Pool we have a trumpeter swans family with their one cygnet feeding along with some wood ducks. A flock of mixed waterfowl take off when a mature eagle lands on the old osprey nest. It must be one of the G Pool eagles. Last year they literally tore it apart and took the sticks back to build their nest on the backside of G Pool.
As we continue down along D Pool I almost run over a ruffed grouse that popped right out in front of me. We stop and are able to get a few shots of it.
As we circle C Pool, I spot a great blue heron sitting in a tree just off the road. It actually stayed long enough for Michael and I to both capture it. Cool!! I love when I can photograph them sitting in the trees. They look so prehistoric!
Yeah!! Our C Pool daddy loon is heading in near the shore as we approach him. He lets us get a few nice pics before he heads back out to the middle of the pool. He is hoarsely calling for his young. He is changing to his winter plumage and with that he will lose his voice till next spring when he dons his breeding plumage. The young one must be out flying around. Otherwise the daddy would be with it. Hopefully, they will both head out of here soon.
Another harrier is hunting along B Pool. I can see both of E Pool adult eagles sitting in ‘their’ tree along the Marshland Drive on the other side of C Pool. Darn it!! Why couldn’t they have been there earlier? Oh well, there is always next weekend.
At the end of C Pool we spook up another great blue heron, the pied billed grebes are still feeding there also.
We head out of the Refuge around 3:00pm. We hate to leave to head home when it is so beautiful out! But like I said…there is always next weekend!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge September 24, 2012
Our trip to see the black bears was interrupted by a speeder breakdown…again. Actually we probably wouldn’t have ended up going anyways due to the cold, windy weather.
We headed into the Refuge around 11:00 to mostly overcast skies and 52 degrees. We had a few wood ducks in the small pool in front of the Visitors Center. We also have a kingfisher hunting along the Entrance Rd. drive.
Trumpeter swans are feeding in F Pool with wood ducks scattered about. There are thirty plus pied billed grebes on F Pool near the E/F spillway along the Fishing Loop.
We have a mature bald eagle sitting in the now empty osprey nest on F Pool. The eagles are glad to be in complete charge of the waters again now the ospreys have left for the season. We have watched the eagles actually destroy the osprey nests; taking the sticks they want to build or reconstruct their own nests. Those bad, bad eagles. LOL!!
We have a juvenile northern harrier that almost lands in front of us along the F marsh. I was able to get a couple of decent shots of it before she blew over the drive to H Pool.
A little farther down a red-tailed hawk flies over H Pool to land near the new osprey nest along F marsh. J Pool also has agrouping of pied billed grebes. We find several of them sleeping while one watches for intruders.
There is a single pied billed grebe in J channel. A doe is feeding calmly along H marsh.
G Pool has wood ducks, sandhill cranes and Canada geese feeding along the shorelines. There are forty plus ring-necked ducks at the west end of E Pool.
We watch another northern harrier fly over us from D marsh to E Pool. An eagle flies over D Pool heading north.
C Pool has wood ducks and pied billed grebes feeding throughout. We spot an eagle on the dead tree in C Pool. I walk out to get a closer vantage point. In the process I spook a great blue heron who was sitting in a tree. Luckily the eagle didn’t pay it any mind.
I was able to photograph it for a quite a while before it took off to hunt somewhere else. Further down C Pool our daddy loon is still with its young. A few more wood ducks are feeding near the cove. Looks like some of the males that are in full breeding plumage are already hooking up with the females.
We have a pied billed grebe in the small pool near the end of the drive. Another eagle just landed in a nest the ospreys were working on probably for next year. If the eagle has a mind to it will take it apart and the ospreys will have a rude awakening when they return next spring.
We end the run with darkening skies and high winds.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge September 16, 2012
It’s a beautiful morning on the Refuge. It is 50 degrees with the sun shining at 8:30am. We have a couple deer cross the Entrance Rd. A pair of sandhill cranes is feeding in the middle of the pool in front of the Visitors Center along with the wood ducks.
The little pied billed grebes are still scatter all around the Refuge. Wood ducks are gleaning what the trumpeter swans are eating.
A pair of sandhill cranes flies over E Pool heading east. Our E Pool male eagle is sitting in the tree along the Marshland Drive. Unfortunately, he was as co-operative as his mate was last weekend about sitting and posing for us.
We another pair of sandhill cranes at the west end of E Pool along with more wood ducks and pied billed grebes.
Yeah, we have an American bittern feeding along C marsh. The sun is shining on it making for some great photos. We film it for quite a while before we head on down the drive.
D Pool has a great blue heron, pied billed grebes and a lot of Canada geese feeding.
C Pool has quite a few wood ducks lots of pied billed grebes. Sandhill cranes are feeding along the way and kingfishers are flitting around.
Our C Pool daddy loon and his young are out along the edge of the shore.
More little pied billed grebes at the end of C Pool but out too far for photos. We have a great blue heron out in the marsh near the end of the drive.
We end our first run around 10:30am.
On our second run through we hit the mother lode of American bittern!!! We have an American bittern on F marsh which we are able to film for quite a while. Another American bittern pops its head up on H Pool and yet another one in H marsh. A great blue heron is also out in H marsh.
We have over twenty pied billed grebes on J Pool. They must be migrating through. Several flocks of blue-winged teals are at the end of J Pool and also a large flock of just young teals on G Pool.
We have a red-tailed hawk eating something along the H marsh. A merlin is hunting along the G/J marsh.
Sandhill cranes are out in G Pool. Two sharp-tailed grouse are along the drive around G Pool.
We have two more American bittern at the west end of E Pool. They fly up and then land again. I am able to shoot one of them; the other one is hiding in the reeds. We also spook up a great blue heron.
Our C Pool loons are near the shore for some good photo ops. Quite a few people stop to take pictures. We meet up with one of my FACEBOOK friends, Shawn, who drove up this morning just to go through the Refuge.
We finish our second run through around 1:30pm.
We make a late afternoon run through. The temperature is around 74 degrees but very windy. We have a ruffed grouse cross in front of us on the Entrance Rd. The wood ducks are out feeding in the pool in front of the Visitors Center.
We gave some sandhill cranes and great blue herons out and about but all flying off whenever we stop. L
The young blue-winged teals are feeding voraciously on G Pool where the water levels have been lowered. A pair of sandhill cranes and they full grown colt are out on an island in G Pool. A great blue heron is feeding on the west end of E Pool.
We spot an American bittern flying over C marsh but it disappears into the thicket. There are lots of wood ducks feeding in C Pool. Pied billed grebes are throughout the pool.
Our C Pool daddy loon is out in the middle of the pool but ‘junior’ is near the shore playing with another stick. While we were watching the loon a grebe popped up in the water. But it wasn’t just any grebe, it was a horned grebe!!! It disappeared around the bend but…we were able to catch up to it close to C/B spillway. I was actually able to get down near the water and get some sweet photos of it. What made it really great was the evening lighting was perfect to show off its red eye.
It was a great way to end a beautiful day at Seney National Wildlife Refuge!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 9, 2012
We woke up to partly cloudy skies and 46 degrees. Fall is definitely in the air. As we enter the Refuge the clouds start to part and the sun breaks through. The wood ducks are increasing in numbers on the small pool in front of the Visitors Center.
On F Pool the wood ducks are feeding with the trumpeter swans, gleaning what the swans don’t eat. A great blue heron is sitting in a tree behind the office. Little pied billed grebes are everywhere around the Refuge, too. I love to watch these little guys busily feeding amongst the lilies.
We are so excited. We have a young horned grebe in the southeast corner of E Pool near the E-C spillway. We have never seen one of these little grebes before. They are not quite as small as a pied billed grebe. They have a red eye like their relative the loon. This little guy was quite content to just sit and preen allowing us to photograph it.
Our E Pool female eagle was sitting along the Marshland Drive hunting for breakfast. The sun is shining brightly on her making for a great photo. Other photographers walk under her tree to take pictures so she doesn’t stay long. She headed back over to her ‘home’ on the island where her mate greeted her noisily. We always like to maintain a nice distances from the eagles when we are filming them. They don’t like to be bothered and have their ‘hunting’ interrupted.
As we are traveling along the southeast end of E Pool a young banded loon flies over. It could be F Pool or D Pool young exercising its wings, building its strength for the long trek south soon.
As we head around D Pool more pied billed grebes are out and about. We spot an American bittern in C marsh. So they are still hanging around. The Refuge is definitely quieter without the sounds of the loons that usually occupy every pool. But there is always something new to see and hear with every changing season.
Our C Pool daddy loon is hooting checking on its young, keeping ever vigilant to its whereabouts. It’s nice to know it is still with the young. They had to re-clutch therefore this little guy is much younger than most of the other young loons. The young can’t fly until they are at least 11-12 weeks old and even then they have to build up their strength before heading out for their wintering grounds. So it will be some time in October before this little guy can even begin to fly.
The sun is still continuing to shine as we start our second run through around 11:00am. The wood ducks are a little more hyper this time through, flying off before I can get many shots. A pileated woodpecker flies by and lands on a tree on the Entrance Rd.
The great blue heron is now fishing on F Pool. There is an eagle soaring over F Pool and a wood duck flying by. As we head down the Fishing Loop we spot a northern harrier hunting over the west end of F Pool so they are still around.
As we were watching seven little pied billed grebes on H Pool, we flush an American bittern. It flies over and lands in the middle of the F Pool marsh.
We have a sharp-tailed grouse wandering down the drive. So we stop to watch and actually got some decent photos of it. It must be a young one because it didn’t even fly off when I moved the truck to keep up with it. We have a young deer at the west end of the J marsh. They older deer have gotten their dark coats. The little ones are still golden brown.
Our three blue-winged teal young are playing in the J marsh but nothing else. Usually we have quite a few other waterfowl in this area. Seasons change and so do the wildlife’s habits.
We have a merlin hunting in H marsh. We decide to take a walk across the D/G spillway to check on the exact location of the G Pool eagles’ nest. They have lowered the water levels on G Pool so that made it accessible to walk back. The eagles nest is in a tall while pine tree in the middle of a marsh. The nest is definitely not accessible to humans. While we were walking along the G Pool shoreline we spooked up a Wilson Snipe. We haven’t been seeing many of them lately. The kingfishers were having fun chasing each other, too.
We have a pair of sandhill cranes on the northeast end of D Pool near the E/D spillway. We have a great blue heron in C marsh. The clouds are starting to move in around 1:15pm. But we still enjoy the rest of our run through despite the weather.
Our C Pool young loon is feeding near the shore so people are all stopping to take pictures. The daddy loon all of a sudden calls out and then dives. We look up and there is a juvenile bald eagle flying over the pool. The young didn’t seem too concerned which isn’t a good thing. It must learn the skills it will need to survive on its own in the near future.
We take a short break. We actually find a road between the Refuge and Curtis that has a couple o hundred sandhill cranes gathering and feeding. It won’t be long and they will be in Rudyard for the fall staging. There will be upwards of five thousand sandhill cranes gathered to wait for the thermals to be just right to carry them south over the Great Lakes.
We head back into the Refuge around 5:30 to partly/cloudy skies. The wind is increasing which could make things hunker down.
The wood ducks are still acting hyper. The young horned grebe is still on E Pool in almost the very same spot. A young osprey is still hanging out on the feeding tree at the west end of E Pool. Another sharp-tailed grouse is on the Marshland Drive on the south side of C Pool.
The great blue heron is still in C marsh with another one just a little ways from it. The kingfishers are chattering and zooming around. The pied billed grebes are feeding. As we end our run a great blue heron is scrunched down on a dead tree in the middle of the small pool struggling against the wind.
Well, only five more weekends before the Refuge officially closes for the season. May 15-October 15 seems like a long time….but it is never long enough.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge September 2, 2012pm
After an early morning drive up then the morning along the tracks of the Toonerville, we head in to the Refuge around 5:30pm.
It is a beautiful 77 degrees and sunshine. We have wood ducks in the pool in front of the Visitors Center. The trumpeter swans are back in F Pool in full force. There is a great blue heron on an island. I sneak through the woods to get a closer shot. It actually didn’t even care that I was there. I love these younger great blues. They are more co-operative then the older ones.
It’s a little quieter on the Refuge right now. We didn’t see ABJ or his young but that doesn’t mean anything. We take the Marshland Drive where we have a small gathering of ring-necked ducks in E Pool. The Canada geese have taken over E Pool.
Little pied billed grebes are out feeding all around the Refuge. The chicks are getting more independent and straying from their mommas. But most of them are feeding out too far for photo ops.
We have a visiting American Coot on C Pool. Coots eat aquatic animals and vegetation. They will graze on land as well as in the water. Hope we find more of them migrating.
We also have a couple of great blue herons feeding along the marsh edges on C Pool but once again out too far for photos.
Yeah, C Pool loon is out with its young near the end of C Pool. Pied billed grebes ad wood ducks are out enjoying the evening. Our trumpeter swans with one cygnet are nestling down for the night on land. A single doe is coming in for a drink along C Pool.
Oh, my gosh!! We finally have an American bittern in the marsh near the end of the drive! The sun is setting, shining right on it! We stop to get a few photos as we watch it catch a few fishies. That’s a great way to end our day at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
September 3, 2012
The morning is overcast as we head into the Refuge around 8:45am. The wood ducks are gathering in the small pool in front of the Visitors Center. The pied billed grebe population has exploded on the Refuge. Every pool has at least a dozen or more of the little guys. They are related to the loon family and very fun to watch.
We take the Fishing Loop. We still didn’t spot ABJ and his chick but that still doesn’t mean anything. A northern harrier pops up out of H Pool and swoops back to an area where we think it nests. It then spooks up a great blue heron that flies back into the marshes.
It’s a quiet morning all around the Refuge. As we circle G Pool we spot five sandhill cranes feeding. We can hear the juvenile eagle screaming for its parents. It sounds like maybe they are practicing a little tough love.
Another northern harrier is flying over E Pool to C marsh. Our D Pool daddy loon is out with its young feeding it. It’s nice to see them doing fine. It will be interesting to see how long the daddy stays with the young.
The northern harrier is now flying over C Pool to B marsh while we sit and watch a pied billed grebe. The little grebe is trying to eat a crayfish but…the crayfish has its pinchers attached to the grebe’s chest. So who has caught whom? LOL!! The little grebe finally lets it go and settles for a minnow to eat.
More pied billed grebe young are out feeding near the shore that we stop to watch. Our C Pool loon daddy is out feeding its very young chick. It will really be interesting to see how long this daddy stays with its young. This little guy as born later in the summer after its parents re-clutched. Hopefully, this little guy will be ready when it’s time for it to leave in October for its new wintering grounds. Nature is truly amazing. The young of many species are expected to leave on their own for places they’ve never been before. Wow!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge August 27, 2012
A beautiful morning as we head into the Refuge around 8:15am. It is a lovely 63 degrees with a slight breeze. We are greeted by wood ducks in the pool in front of the Visitiors Center.
F Pool has a great blue heron fishing and another in a tree behind the offices. Trumpeter swans are active, chasing each other.
As we access the Fishing Loop we have a common loon in F Pool. After getting a good look at it we find it is not ABJ. It starts to tremolo a warning. We hear another loon answer. We look up and sure enough a mature bald eagle is flying over F Pool to land in a tall pine tree on an island.
We move down near the spillway and find ABJ with his young. ABJ is keeping his young very close to him. Luckily with all the commotion the eagle decided to fly over to I Pool to fish.
As we head down the drive we spot a great blue heron in a tree along F Pool. The lighting isn’t very good…but another great blue heron is in a tree on the opposite side of the road! The lighting is perfect! We stop to shoot a few pictures of it before they both fly off into E marsh. Sweet! Last week I couldn’t buy a shot of one.
Pied billed grebes are in H Pool. One has two chicks another one has one chick!!! More great blue herons in H marsh!
Sandhill cranes are on the island in J Pool along with a lot of trumpeter swans. There is another pair of sandhill cranes on the west end of J Pool.
G Pol has four sandhill cranes on the backside of it along with yet another great blue heron. There is another great blue heron in the west end of E Pool.
D Pool is fairly quiet. As we round C Pool, we have lots of wood ducks and you guessed it, yet another great blue heron! The pied billed grebes are all out feeding in the center of the pool all along the drive. It is so nice to see so many little grebes. They are such sweet little creatures. They are actually related to the loons.
Our C Pool loon is out feeding its young in the middle of the pool. It’s nice to see them today. We were worried Saturday night and Sunday when we didn’t see them.
We ended the first run at 10:30 and immediately headed back around the Fishing Loop.
Yeah! ABJ and his chick were near the shore of F Pool before we got to the Fishing Loop. This could be one of the last times we see them together. ABJ should be getting ready to head out for the winter. But quite often he hangs around till his young is ready to leave, too. He is an excellent parent that way.
As we head on the Fishing Loop, I spot a great blue heron landing on the shoreline of F Pool. We creep up on it but… it takes off. Luckily it doesn’t go too far. Actually, it lands on a dead downed tree along E Pool. Perfect lighting!!! I got a shot off but it flew further down along E Pool.
Yeah! It landed on another downed dead tree on E Pool near the drive. This time we very slowly approach. After quite a while, I decide to get out and quietly creep nearer. It is so engrossed in hunting and then preening that it paid no attention to me!! Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!! I was able to get some great photos!!!
Further down we spot at least eight pied billed grebes on H Pool. Our trumpeter swans still have two healthy cygnets. Another great blue heron lands along the edge of H Pool. Well, it wasn’t so co-operative; it flew back into the marsh. There was also yet another great blue heron back further yet.
We spot a young male wood duck in J marsh. It actually comes right up and sits on a downed tree and starts preening regardless of us being there. They usually do not like people. Then yet another one comes up and starts to preen. We watch them for a while then move on.
As we round the start stretch along the west end of the Fishing Loop we spot a coyote. He spots us about the same time. We are both able to get a few shots before it turns and heads the other way.
We have a northern harrier flying around H marsh. There is a great blue heron in the G channel where we never see anything. These guys are everywhere!!
Yep, there is another great blue heron on G Pool along with some sandhill cranes. The G Pool eagle flies over the pool to land in a big pine tree.
As we round D Pool, the G Pool eagle is posted in the same tree it was in on Saturday night when it was harassing the D Pool loon and chick.
We have a northern harrier hunting over B Pool. Then all of a sudden an American bittern flew out of B marsh over to the ‘loon’ island on C Pool. Cool, we thought the bitterns may have all left.
The C Pool loon and chick are out along the shoreline along with the trumpeter swans with two cygnets. Then we spot, you guessed, one more great blue heron sitting in a tree by the small cove. I was able to get a couple of pictures as it flew around the bend to land in yet another tree.
The wood ducks and pied billed grebes are scattered throughout feeding in the lily pads.
It has been an awesome day once again at Seney National Wildlife Refuge. You never know what you will see but there is always something interesting to observe.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 25-26, 2012
We made run through the Refuge around 5:30pm. It is still 83 degrees. We have wood ducks in the pool in front of the Visitors Center. Two great blue herons are fishing out in F Pool behind the office. The osprey is sitting and calling from above the nest on F-1 Pool. The ospreys’ parents have left them on their own till they are ready to head south for the winter.
ABJ is still with his one young. He is starting to molt into his winter plumage of gray. It won’t be long and he, too, will leave for the winter. He has been known to hang around till his offspring is ready to be left on its own. He is one of the best parents on the Refuge.
We watch him catch a small northern pike to take back to his young. While we are watching him a merlin swoops over the water.
We move on to watch some pied billed grebes further down F Pool. I love to watch them submerge like submarines. They also love to hide in the lilies which make for a great photo.
Another great blue heron is sitting in a tree at the end of F Pool. A northern harrier is hunting over the area also.
Another northern harrier is hunting along H Pool where it spooks off a great blue heron. At the end of J Pool we spot a pair of sandhill cranes. There is also a large gathering of waterfowl. We noticed blue-winged teal, northern shovelers and mallards all in one group at the end of J Pool. Fall is truly just around the corner especially as far as the wildlife is concerned.
We stop to watch a great blue heron land on G Pool along beside a pair of trumpeter swans. As we were watching the great blue something dove into the water right next to us. it was an osprey and it actually caught a fish. Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough to capture a photo of it. But I was able to ‘sneak’ up on the great blue to capture a few pics of it.
Our D Pool loon is out with its one surviving young. The young is begging the parent to be feed but the adult is more concerned with the eagle sitting in a tree on the island. Needless to say the loon is a little distressed. The loon and young actually stay fairly close to shore hoping to deter the eagle from bothering them.
We finishing our run through around C Pool where wood ducks, pied billed grebes and great blue herons abound. As we leave the Refuge cloud coverage moves back in to swallow the setting sun.
We woke up Sunday morning to overcast skies so we decided to make the most of the extra day off and catch up on our zzz’s. We headed into the Refuge around 10:30 to still overcast skies. But any day on the Refuge is a good day.
The wood ducks are still messing around in the pool in front of the V.C. They are starting to be ‘social’ with the opposite sex. Wood ducks breed in the spring and in the fall. They will have another batch of young after they migrate south.
The trumpeter swans are scattered throughout the Refuge. They aren’t really being too active right now. The few parents that still have young are able to be a little more relaxed now their cygnets are getting bigger.
We have little pied billed grebes throughout the Refuge, too. Just when we thought there weren’t any around, we find them everywhere. Their parents are very good about keeping them hid till they are bigger.
Our E Pool eagle is hunting along the Marshland Drive on the east end in a dead tree. While I was ‘shooting’ it a lone loon flew over. We think most of our loons have now departed. They only ones we have seen are ABJ with its young and D Pool with its young. We did not see C Pool loon last night which worries us.
We have a great blue heron on the backside of C Pool. An osprey is fishing from a dead tree along E Pool. We have another great blue heron flew out of a tree along E Pool into C marsh.
Another osprey is fishing along the west end of E Pool. A pair of sandhill cranes is on the backside of D Pool along with the trumpeter swans. One of the juvenile ospreys is sadly sitting in the nest wondering, ‘where did mommy and daddy go?’
C Pool has lots of wood ducks, ring-necks and pied billed grebes along the pool. A couple of more great blue herons are here and there fishing. The young kingfishers are playing ‘catch me if you can’ with us.
We end our run through around 12:15pm to still overcast skies and scattered showers. It looks like the weather is going to stay soggy and dreary today. At least, we have tomorrow which is supposed to be nice, we hope.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 14, 2012
We were lucky enough to have an extra day off this week so where else would we spend it then on the Refuge.
We even got to sleep in till 8:30am! Actually that worked out well because the Refuge was enveloped in a heavy ground fog even at 9:15am. We spotted the F Pool loon chick so we decided to watch to see if the parents would be around to feed it. Well, we got more than we had hoped for! There were eight loons partying out in the pool. This time we didn’t even get to the Fishing Loop. We stopped on the turned out right before that and we stayed for two and a half hours!!!! The weather was perfect! We had still waters and mostly sunny skies.
We had loons taking off and landing during two and a half hours. It is always awesome to watch the interaction between the different loons.
Several times the parents came looking for their chick but it hid around the corner from us. Then more loons would land and off they went to socialize. The parents were on guard though at all times trying to keep their ‘guests’ right where they could see them. Some of the guests tried giving them the slip and ended up near the chick. Well, the parents immediately went and ushered them out to common waters.
At one point ABJ bolted out of the waters several times. He held his position and yodeled telling the guests he was not happy with them. Eventually all the guests finally left. ABJ headed off to find his young bearing the gift of a small northern pike, again.
We said good bye to our loons and finally accessed the Fishing Loop. We had a northern harrier flying down the drive till it spotted us then took off across E marsh. Bummer!! A great blue heron flew into H marsh.
On J marsh I spotted a young coyote out mucking around. It moved off quickly. Our pied billed grebe single chick was still in the channel with its momma. The redheaded duck was joined by another redheaded duck. Sandhill cranes are flight training over G/J marsh.
On C Pool we have lots of wood ducks in the lily pads. The males are still in ‘eclipse’ just getting their new breeding plumage for fall mating season. Our pied billed grebe family of five chicks is all doing well. While we were watching them a merlin dove down at them. They all ducked and stayed safe.
Then as we were leaving the grebes an osprey flew over screaming. Before I had time to back up and park it had dove into the water. I was able to ‘shoot’ it finally come up with a huge northern pike!!! It circled around and flew by so I could get a decent shot!! Sweet!!!
It has been an awesome three days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!! And Seney National Wildlife Refuge has proven once again to be an amazing place to see and photograph wildlife. Being able to stop and just observe with minimal interruptions the everyday lives of some awesome wildlife!! How often do you get to watch loons carrying on their socializing rituals, the passage of the season?!! We are very privileged to be able to access this sanctuary.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 12, 2012
What a beautiful morning to start our three day weekend at Seney National Wildlife Refuge! It is 49 degrees with clear blue skies and no wind….perfect!
Frick and the Chick, the sandhill cranes are out near the Refuge exit drive. We have a little ground fog but that just makes it more beautiful out.
We are greeted by ABJ and his family. His only chick is doing very well, as is usual with ABJ’s young. He is an excellent father at the age of 25.
We get some really nice pics before heading down the Fishing Loop. We were excited to see a pied billed grebe with one young on E Pool.
We notice loons flying around but figure they are going to head over to E Pool to party. Well, we were wrong!! We have three loons land on F Pool. This totally surprises us because ABJ doesn’t usually like to have parties at his ‘place’. LOL! So we back up to a clearing by the spillway and wait for the show to take place.
And boy was it a great show!!! We had seven different loons along with ABJ and his mate and chick on F Pool.
At one point ABJ bolted out of the water at least a dozen times in a row. We thought for sure he would end the party early but…no way. We watched loons coming and going for over two hours on F Pool. They were flying over us circling around and then eventually coming back to land on the pool. Sweet!!!
At first ABJ’s chick was down near us by the spillway but it decided to go to the east corner to get away from the other loons. It stayed low in the water and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. The adults were having too much fun to take notice.
Eventually the host and hostess got tired of the games and told everyone to leave. It took a while before the last two intruders left. Then ABJ and his mate went hunting for ‘junior’. Well, I told them they were going the wrong way. They headed to the west but as I said earlier ‘junior’ headed to the east. ABJ came up with a small pike and started calling for his baby. The female just swam along looking dazed and confused. ABJ looked at me as I was photographing him enough to say ‘where did ‘junior’ go?’ I told him to head east. So off he went with the little pike in his bill to find ‘junior’ which he eventually did. And we headed on down the drive to see what other interesting things we could see along the way.
H Pool had a pied billed grebe and one good sized young way out in the middle. We weren’t sure if it was ‘our’ grebe family or not. But as we headed down the pool we discovered our family, momma and two surviving chicks!! But they headed out away from the shoreline so no photo ops there. But it was just good to know that there were still two little ones alive.
We also spotted two great blue herons fishing in the marsh at the west end of H Pool. There are lots of trumpeter swans on J Pool. Actually there was one right next to a loon. The loon hooted and lo and behold another loon landed beside it. We also spotted another great blue heron and some sandhill cranes on J Pool, too.
When we got near the end of J channel we spotted yet another pied billed grebe with one chick. We watched them for a while. Then we discovered a redheaded duck swimming among the reeds and feeding with some mallards.
G Pool was pretty quiet just some Canada geese and trumpeter swans out feeding. So we headed on down to check out D Pool. No sign of the loon family but the ospreys seemed to be busy so I decided to take a walk out to check on the fledged young.
I was treated to some great flybys and a lot of screaming and begging. I had one young osprey sitting about twenty feet away from me just preening and pulling out ‘baby’ feathers. It finally noticed me after about twenty minutes and decided to fly over to where its sibling was near the A/C spillway. That was also where I found the D Pool loon with its healthy growing young. It is nice to see it doing so well.
We head on down the drive. We have wood ducks bobbing back and forth on C Pool. We spot a family of ruffed grouse roosting in a couple of trees along the drive. It’s a momma and her two young. Our pied billed grebes are out too far but still around. Yeah our C Pool loon family is out and about. They actually swim right up to us but….a noisy car with a trailer comes rattling by and off they head out ‘to sea’.
As we finish up our six hour run through at 1:00pm we spot more pied billed grebes a momma and at least three young!!!
Clouds look like they move in, we will have to wait and see after we take our midday break. But it will be hard to top the awesome morning we just had!!
Well, the clouds haven’t totally covered the sun so we make a run through at 5:00pm. It is now 78 degrees…perfect.
ABJ is calling for his family which is out farther in the pool. A northern harrier is hunting over F marsh.
One of our pied billed grebes is near the nesting area on H Pool. We watch as a merlin is attacked by a couple of eastern kingbirds. We had a mature eagle fishing from a tree on J Pool but two cyclists went ahead of us and spooked it. Bummer!!!
We have the momma and her one chick pied billed grebe in J channel. The momma disappears further down the channel and leaves the young one on its own. It hangs around and lets us get some nice shot of it. While we were photographing the grebe a northern harrier almost flew into us but turned before I could get a shot of it. Bummer!!!
Along the west end of the Fishing Loop we had a sharp-tailed grouse walk in front of us. Then around G Pool we spooked up another one. We sat and watch a family of Eastern kingbirds catching bugs. It was amazing to see how quickly they can catch them. I tried capturing one doing it but…hardly! LOL!!
We had some sandhill cranes out wading around in G Pool. A little further down between G and D Michael spots a big buck! No photo ops!
Around C Pool we have wood ducks and pied billed grebes. We are losing the sun behind clouds. Then as we get halfway down C Pool we spot a strange bird swooping around up high in front of us. It was so hard to focus on it as it zigged and zagged all around the sky. After finally capturing a few pics we discovered it to be a common nighthawk!!!! Sweet!!! That’s a first for us. After about an half an hour of photographing it we continue on our way.
We spot two great blue herons side by side on C Pool on a point. It was cool because we had two GBH and their reflections!! Our loon family is out away from the shore. We have a trumpeter swan family hiding on land with both parents keeping guard over their two cygnets.
We end the drive with a pair of sandhill cranes in the drive and a loon in the small pool. We head out of the Refuge at 8:00pm. What an absolutely amazing day on the Refuge!!!!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 5, 2012
Cloudy, windy morning, we have two pair of sandhill cranes near the entrance of the Refuge. One pair is Frick and the Chick. We are meeting FB friend Louise Olson and her husband Bud this morning. Luckily they came early and made a run through before the clouds took over and rained.
We did get to watch the fledged osprey chicks flying around screaming at their parents. We had hoped for a loon party on E Pool but no luck. We have wood ducks throughout the Refuge.
E Pool did have its two loons hanging out on it at the west end. A northern harrier was flying over to D Pool.
Our little pied billed grebes were out too far on C Pool to be able to shoot. C Pool loons were out farther with their chick. They let out a tremolo call as an adult eagle flew over. We did have one great blue heron near the end of the run.
We say good bye to Louise and Bud as they head home to Mears, MI. We take our second run through at 10:00am. We have two loons on F Pool but don’t see their young.
As we start on the Fishing Loop both of E Pool eaglets come up out of the water. One heads back to the nest but the other one lands in a tree along the drive further up! Yeah!! I have been hoping to get a shot of one of these little buggers since they fledged a couple of weeks ago. We slowly drive closer. It just looks at us and let us photograph it for some time before flying off. And to make it even sweeter the clouds actually cleared and the sky was blue!!! It can’t get any better than that!
No sign of our pied billed grebe family on H Pool. L The five blue-winged teal young are still together in F marsh.
As we rounded G Pool we could hear our merlins. The young were chasing each other around fly out over the pool then back to where one of the parents was perched keeping an eye on them. Then one of the young landed on a dead tree near the drive. Sweet! It sat for a while so we could capture some shots of it before it flew back to the nest area. Unfortunately the skies had clouded back up by then but it was still cool to see them.
On C Pool our loons were near the shore with their 3 ½ week old chick!! Yeah!! That was the other ‘want’ on my list of things to photograph today!! And there was a break in the weather so the photos turned out well, too.
We ended the morning runs feeling very good about what we were able to see and capture today!!
We decide to head back into the Refuge around 4:00pm. It is still windy but the skies have cleared. We spot two great blue herons of F Pool but they are out too far. The F Pool loon and its young are out too far, too.
We have one of the newly fledged F Pool ospreys trying its hand at fishing. It dove but came up empty. It shook itself off and tried again to no avail.
We have a northern harrier flying over H marsh. An osprey is flying over G/J marsh with a fish in its talons. We are not sure where it is going but I guess it does.
We have fun watching the momma pied billed grebe and her four chicks on C Pool. The poor momma was kept busy finding food for her nagging babies. While we were watching the grebes a young mink ran across the road a couple of different times.
Our B Pool loons were out and about. I sat in the brush as they slowly approached me. I love to be able to just sit and enjoy the peace and serenity of the Refuge. Being able to be this close to nature is a great gift.
Our east end C Pool loons were hanging out as we end the run.
We take one last quick run through as clouds come back to claim the sun. E Pool west end loons were out and about. Our D Pool loon family was out with their one surviving chick. We were glad to see it was still doing well. The D Pool young ospreys are still hanging out at the nest.
C Pool loons were out with their young near the cove. As we were watching them a sandhill crane got spooked by a doe and fawn. That is the first we had seen of our fawn for a while. So we were glad to know it was doing well.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge July 30, 2012
We woke up to overcast skies and extreme humidity so we decide not to go to the Toonerville Trolley this morning. So we headed into the Refuge around 8:30am. The clouds actually dissipated by the time we got to the Refuge, at least for a while.
The F Pool loon parents were out near the Fishing Loop entrance. The young chick was further down near an island trying to blend in. It actually submerged when we went by. We found out why when we went around the corner…an interloper was in the water. We were amazed that ABJ would put up with that.
The kingfishers were fishing and fighting and flying so fast we couldn’t even think of getting a shot of one. A great blue heron was in E Pool near the marsh. Another loon flew over E Pool to the east. The F Pool osprey fledglings are both in a dead tree near their nest.
A loon took off out of H Pool, circled and flew right over us heading north!! Sweet!! I got some good shots of it.
Our little pied billed grebe family is quietly hanging near its nest area. The one parent went out hunting. Sadly, we only have two chicks now. The lighting was perfect this morning to get some cute shots of them. The one parent returned but didn’t have enough food for both of the chicks. As the other parent was getting ready to leave, a muskrat swam into their territory. They got very hyper and tried scaring it off to no avail. It just swam into the reeds to get some sweet grass. We decided to leave them to enjoy the day as we headed down to J Pool. Along the shoreline of J Pool we had a young great blue heron feeding. It, too, had a confrontation with a muskrat. The muskrat would have come out the loser if it had tried to tangle with that deadly beak.
We spooked the great blue and it headed off to an island in the middle of J Pool where another great blue was fishing. Wait, make that two other great blue herons were fishing! They all took off chasing each other around finally settling down at the west end of J Pool. It is so nice to see the great blue herons back again. It has been a few years since we have seen this many.
The clouds are moving in around 10:00 as we get to G Pool. Our young merlins are carrying on and fighting each other in the top of a dead tree to the north in H marsh. Then two loons are flying right over us!! They actually circle and land on G Pool! Further down yet another loon flies over but heads over to E Pool.
Our other pied billed grebe chicks are still out and about. All five of them and their momma are feeding in the center of C Pool. Our south side loons are getting a little closer to shore with their chick. Maybe next week we will be able to capture a photo of the chick.
An adult eagle flies over B Pool as a lone loon hoots for its mate. We end our awesome weekend with great memories, great photos and new information about the wonderful wildlife that calls Seney National Wildlife Refuge home.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 29, 2012
It is a comfortable 53 degrees as we start our morning run through the Refuge. It is a picture perfect day, quiet and still water with lots of sunshine.
We finally see Frick and the Chick the local sandhill cranes just outside the entrance to the Refuge. We have only seen them once this year. Glad to know they are doing fine.
As we enter the Marshland Drive a loon flies over to the east. One of the ospreys flies up into the nest behind the Visitors Center.
As we turn on the Fishing Loop we have great blue herons flying around but not settling down for us to photograph. It is nice to finally being seeing more of them. Young kingfishers are fighting each other around F Pool. One GBH flies out of E Pool to F Pool, another goes to the south.
We spot two more Great blues at the end of H Pool. They are actually chasing each other trying to decide who get the best fishing hole. While we are watching them we spot an American bittern in the grasses just in front of us.
As we are watching the bittern it decides to take off flying right at us!! It turns slightly giving me a great photo op with the sun shining on its beautiful markings!!! I have wanted a flight shot of an American bittern for years!! It landed right in front us in the tall grass where we could just see his head through the swaying grasses.
While watching the bittern I noticed a little pied billed grebe going with some food. I have been seeing one in this area all summer. Now I know there must be a nest on this little island of grass. We’ll have to keep our eyes on this spot.
We have sandhill cranes in the G/J marsh along the west end of the Fishing Loop. As we round G Pool we have Caspian terns fishing and battling overhead of a Great Blue Heron.
We have the merlin family congregating in a dead tree on H marsh. It looks like mom, dad and two young who are screaming to be fed. I think the parents are practicing a little tough love.
As we are watching the terns, three loons fly over us!! I think they are partying again on E Pool this morning. That’s where we watched them last Sunday.
As we continue along G Pool, our loon is ‘waiting’ for us. LOL! As soon as I get out he starts to bath, flipping and splashing. It is so fun to watch them. I can see why people think they are ‘looney’. He preened and zipped his feathers, showing off for me till we decide to let someone else have a chance to photograph him.
The G Pool eagle is sitting sentinel near its nest. As we enter back on the Marshland Drive, loons are flying over E to D to C. The D Pool loon daddy yodels, telling them not to even think about landing on his pool.
The family is out with their one surviving chick that is now about five weeks old. The ospreys are in their nest yet.
A northern harrier flies over C Marsh, more loons are flying over too. Further down C Pool we have an adult eagle sitting in a dead tree on an island but of course it flies off the minute we stop.
Our south side C Pool loons are out in the middle of the pool with their young chick that is about three weeks old. The east end loons are just hanging out. Another northern harrier is flying out of a tree in the small pool at the end of the drive. We end our first run at 11:00am.
On our second run through we meet ABJ and his family at the start of the Fishing Loop. A northern harrier is flying in E marsh where a couple of does are hanging out. We can’t tell if there are any fawns with them.
Two great blue herons are in E Pool but fly over to F Pool. As we stop to check on another great blue on H Pool we spot our new pied billed grebe family!!! I knew it!!! We have three little calico chicks!! They can’t be much more than a week old. We just sit and watch the momma and her little chicks. They one by one pile on her back!! Awesome!!!
Daddy finally comes over with a crayfish for his family. The parents have to peel off the shell and break it apart for the little ones to eat. This is what’s so great about being able to just observe nature. We would have never known that the daddy participated in the raising of the young grebes. We have seen grebe young before but only the momma is with them by then. The daddy stays with them till they are 10-14 days old when they still need to ride on their parents backs.
After they eat the momma takes off to get some food. Well, daddy is not happy about ‘babysitting’. He actually pecked the little ones when they wanted to get on his back. He was too busy preening to tend to them. Finally he had to give in to them, so they all climbed on his back. Before the momma came back with the food though, he called to her and took off looking for her. He dumped off two of the chicks before he got too far then the he dived to get the third one of his back. It was stranded out in the pool away from the safety of the reeds. Well, momma came with food but spent her time getting the chicks on her back and back to safety. What an interesting and educating encounter.
As we continue on our way, an osprey is fishing on J Pool where the trumpeter swans are starting to gather. A great blue heron is at the west end of J Pool near the marsh.
At the end of the J marsh we have our merlin young flying and fighting in the air and in the trees. The daddy flew into a tree and just observed them. I think he was just trying to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get into too much trouble.
My G Pool loon is still in the same place and when I get out he starts to wash just like the first time we went through. How comical is that?! While we are watching him, a pair of sandhill cranes and their one colt swims across G Pool to an island. How cool is that?!
We have sandhill cranes in C marsh, the ospreys in their nest on D Pool.
Further down C Pool we have more pied billed grebe chicks. This must be about three weeks old. They are swimming around eating waiting for momma to bring them bigger eats which she does.
As we get to the end of C Pool a northern harrier flies right in front of us!! Our loons are still hanging out. What a great day on the Refuge!!
We are going to take a long break so I can go through the 700 plus photos I just took!!
Well, we made a quick evening run through before the clouds totally blocked out the sun. We are so glad we did. We had five loons partying on E Pool. I sat out and watched them. Awesome, one of them bolted out of the water repeatedly!!!! Two of them did their belly swimming and came right at me!! What a way to end an awesome day at Seney National Wildlife Refuge!!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal July 22, 2012
It is a beautiful still morning on the Refuge. We have a pair of sandhill cranes out near the south show pool when we stop at the Wigwams. We met our dear friend Pat who volunteers at the Visitors Center on Mondays. Since we are spending Mondays on the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley we don’t get to see her. So we made arrangements to meet and take her along on our morning run.
The water is like glass as we head out on the Marshland Drive. As we are turning to take the Marshland Drive instead of the Fishing Loop we have an American bittern fly out of the small pool right next to the road.
As we head down the drive we spot a lot of trumpeter swans and Canada geese. Our E Pool eaglets are by their nest. The little buggers, we were hoping they would be out along the drive by now bugging their parents for food. But no…the parents are still catering to their every whim.
We have three loons at the east end of E Pool. We stop and watch as they all take off and fly. As we get near the swan observation deck we spot eight loons out in the pool together. Sweet!! Pat has never seen that many together before. We stop and spend some time watching them. They point their heads to indicate they are being social. While we are watching them seven more loons fly over circling and calling!!! Totally awesome!!
The eight loons float by the observation deck. Eventually they start to laugh and peer and dive. All of sudden one takes off then another then another till there is only one loon left. Sweet!!!
As we travel farther down the pool we spot yet another six loons at the west end of E Pool. Cool! We stop to watch them, too. Pat gets to see them bolt and belly swim.
As we continue down to D Pool one osprey is in the nest with the young as the other one brings in something for them to eat. The trumpeter swan family still has their one cygnet. Along the way we spot ring-necked momma ducks with their ducklings, wood ducks are floating around back by the reeds and lots of muskrats are enjoying the calm waters.
We spot a pied billed grebe midway down C Pool. It submerges like a submarine which Pat gets to see. She has never seen one of these before either.
Our C Pool loons have their one young chick out in the middle of the pool as usual. As we near the end of the run our other C Pool loons are lounging around at the east end of C Pool.
We get back to the Visitors Center around 11:15. As we are driving back into the Refuge we have a broad-winged hawk fly over us. We have been seeing a lot of them this year in the U.P.
We start our second run 11:45. We have ABJ loon family together on F Pool feeding their one good sized chick. I get some great reflection shots of the chick. As we are shooting them a couple of ospreys fly over us.
The trumpeter swans have taken over F Pool. They can devour up to twelve pounds of vegetation a day…each!
We have a young hooded merganser in the marshy area of F Pool. On the other side of the drive in H Pool we have a pied billed grebe swimming. An osprey is in a tree across the pool and another is crying and flying around. We think it is the F Pool fledged ospreys begging the parents for food.
We spot a great blue heron sitting in a tree in the H marsh. As we travel further down we spot another great blue fishing in the H marsh.
As we drive down the west end of the Fishing Loop we hear a red-tailed hawk but can’t spot it. We also have a female northern harrier that landed on a knoll in the G/J marsh. We watched it catch something and then go into a tree and eat it.
G Pool has four common terns fight with a seagull. A blue-winged teal is lounging on a spit of land. The young merlins are screaming in the H marsh across from G Pool. The G Pool eagle is soaring over the pool looking for something to feed its young who is waiting at the nest.
As we head down the drive across from D Pool we spot a pair of sandhill cranes with their one colt. And another pair of sandhills is eating just down from them.
Farther down C Pool we spot a momma ring-necked duck with her five ducklings. She is preening on a nest while she calls her young in to take a break.
We end our second run through at 1:30. Time for a break!!
Made an early run through at 5:00pm. Finally some great blue herons but lighting was good, of course.
Blue-winged teal ducklings keeping cool in the marsh of F Pool. We are worried about J Pool loons’ chick. We haven’t seen it. It hasn’t been a good year for loon chicks. D Pool still has one and C Pool has a new one. F Pool loon ABJ is still the best parent around. His chick is healthy and happy!
We finally saw our common merganser ‘chicks’. All six are alive and well. Looks like mom has left them. They are quite grown up now. Spotted a northern harrier around the same area on the north end of D Pool.
Yeah!! We have pied billed grebe chicks on C Pool. I love to see the cute little calico babies. They are staying close to an island midway down C Pool on the south side.
We call it quits around 7:30pm. We are beat and so is the wildlife. We have a big day tomorrow with the black bears of the Toonerville Trolley. We will be back next weekend for our Sunday at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge July 8, 2012
We headed into the Refuge around 7:30am with mostly clear skies and 58 degrees.
The F Pool loon is carrying a fish around looking for its young. A doe is on an island but we can’t see if she has a fawn. There is a big beaver in the channel along C marsh.
A couple of young ravens are being chased by some eastern kingbirds. It was very comically to watch them.
Canada geese are on the northeast corner of E Pool along with some trumpeter swans and a loon. The F Pool osprey is fishing over to E Pool. A young kingfisher catches a small fish and lands in a tree along the Fishing Loop to eat its catch.
F Pool osprey is guarding its nest. We have Wilson Snipe feeding along the marsh in F Pool. A Pied billed grebe is feeding in H Pool. It keeps submerging like a submarine whenever we try to shoot it. They are so fun to watch. They are a relative of the loon family.
Wilson Snipes are flying around in the F marsh closer to J Pool. One of the young ospreys was guarding its nest as another one flew over. So hopefully they will nest their again next spring.
Wilsons Snipes seem to be calling everywhere. The common terns are really acting strange flying along the drive by J Pool. Then we discover why…an eagle is sitting in a pine tree right along drive. We photograph it for a while till it flies off. But luckily it only flies down to another tree along the drive. So we move down and shoot it from a different angle. The common terns keep harassing it but it really doesn’t care.
After quite some time it decides to move down farther to fish. We got some great shots of it so we head on down to see what’s around the next bend. We figure the adults are actually glad to be away from the nesting areas now. The eaglets have fledged and it’s time for them to learn how to take care of themselves. Now comes the time for the ‘tough love’.
We spot a Northern harrier hunting in the G marsh area. We have four sandhill cranes along the west end of H marsh.
As we round G Pool today ‘G’ stands for goose. The Canada geese have invaded the north end of the pool. The south end has trumpeter swans and one of our loons is in the center of the pool.
We stop to photograph the loons then spot the G Pool eagle being attacked by a couple of ospreys. It lands in a dead tree along the drive…so off we go. We actually stop between the loons and the eagle so we can shoot whatever we want. The eagle eventually flies off to the nesting area where the young is waiting.
As we stop to check out something along the G/D spillway Michael smells smoke. Then I spot a small waft of smoke coming out of an area between the drive and G Pool about 150 yards back down the drive. So we head back to check it out. Sure enough there is a small fire smoldering. It has burned about a six foot area in diameter. Michael calls the Visitors Center to notify them of the problem. We wait for them to come so we can point out where the fire is burning. I stand out along the shore watching the G Pool eagle sitting in a pine tree past the spillway. I hear a snipe calling. I finally find it flying in circles around the south end of G Pool. As it calls and circles, other snipes all around the area are giving their warning calls. It is fun to just watch and listen to the wonders of nature.
While we wait I decide to walk back down to talk to the loons. The loons show off for me preening and cleaning together. All of sudden they wail and I know something is flying into the area. Sure enough the G Pool eagle is soaring over circling them. It is being harassed by two eastern kingbirds. It is so cool to watch! The eagle could care less that I’m here. It circles the area above me several times before heading to the north. I actually got some cool shots of the kingbirds riding the eagle’s back. How sweet is that?!
Finally Sara and the fire chief show up. They decide the fire is minimal and can be put out with the equipment they brought. It doesn’t take long and everything is hunky dory! So off we go to continue our run.
The ospreys on D Pool are watching over their nest. We decide to take a walk to see if we can spot our loon family. Unfortunately our loons aren’t around the cove or the spillway but we get to watch as two other ospreys fly into the area. They D Pool ospreys are not too happy with the situation and let the intruders know how they feel. That’s what I love about being out and amongst nature, you get to experience these moments that most people don’t take the time to do.
We are so excited when we find our south side C Pool loons have a chick!!! We were hoping that they had re-clutched. We had only been seeing one of them lately. Sweet!!! They haven’t been successful for some time now. Hopefully this little one will make it, only time will tell.
Farther down C Pool young flickers are fighting and chasing each other. Our east end C Pool loons are having a leisurely swim together. An osprey is sitting on a dead tree across the small pool where it looks like someone has been working on the nest that’s been in progress for a couple of years now.
We have one heck of a first run through the Refuge and it’s already 12:45pm. We decide to take a lunch break and head back later.
Well, we are back at 3:30pm. Unfortunately the clouds are moving in!! We decide to make a quick run through. Yeah, us!! Our E Pool eagle is back fishing along the drive on J Pool. We get some awesome shots that make our time well spent.
Not a lot of action otherwise, so we head out about 5:00pm to head over to Newberry for dinner. We will see if the clouds move out in the meantime. No matter what, we have had a great day on the Refuge yet again!!
Well, the clouds were still around when we came back through but….I got the shot I have been wanting to capture for years!! A Male Northern Harrier was flying around the show pools. And I nailed it!! Woohoo!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge July 1, 2012
We headed into the Refuge around 8:15am to partly cloudy skies and 62 degrees. There is one great blue heron on the south show pool. It decided to fly over to the north pool. Another great blue heron was feeding in the north show pool was pushed over across the road.
It’s a very quiet morning with still waters. It would be a great day to shoot something on the water but…you know how that goes…probably not going to happen.
Momma ring-necked duck and her five little ones are out on F Pool. Eastern kingbirds, robins, flickers, kingfishers and more are out looking for breakfast for their families. The trumpeter swans are feeding on E Pool.
Our daddy eagle is on the same tree that he was last night on the Marshland Drive. He is keeping clear of his rowdy eaglets that are testing their wings but not yet willing to fledge.
AS we are taking pictures of daddy eagle, he takes off and flies over to the nest to check on the kids.
The muskrats and beavers are floating around feeding in the still morning light. Snipes are calling in the C marsh. Our west end E Pool loons are feeding together along with a big group of trumpeter swans.
As we meander down the drive, the scent of flowering milkweeds fills the air. It says ‘summer in the Refuge’ to me. In C marsh I spot a Wilson Snipe sitting on the top of a dead tree. We stop to watch it. All of a sudden an eastern kingbird came up and sits on another branch. The snipe started chattering and the kingbird attacked the poor thing!! I guess it was the kingbird’s territory.
Our D Pool loons are over near the osprey nest. We decided to hunker down in hopes that they will make their way over to us. Well, we wait and wait and wait. I have an American bittern fly in front of me. But it happened so fast I didn’t get a clear shot of it. Urrgghh! But I was entertained by a cute little muskrat that was feeding right in front of me. At least to him I’m invisible.
The osprey is patiently tending her two young. She is trying to shade them with her wings from the intense sunlight. The other parent delivers a large fish to the nest. The two young eat their share then mom got to east the left overs.
The one loon finally swims off around the peninsula to the other side of the osprey nest out of my line of vision. I decide I might as well try to sneak in a little closer. So I go around to the other cove where I am able to get some nice shots of the one loon with its two chicks. She finally realizes I am there and lets out a hoot as she slowly leads the chicks out of the cove to open water. I thank her and then head back to the truck.
It is a privilege to be able to watch the parents tend their young and interact with other species in such a tranquil environment.
As we head down B marsh we have a pair of Sandhill cranes but not young. Two loons are in the mid C Pool area. Wood ducks are scattered here and there amongst the marshy areas.
Our C Pool trumpeter swans still have one adorable cygnet and our other swans have only two of their four left. Our loons are at the end of C Pool as we leave the Refuge around 11:30 to have a lunch break at the Wigwams.
Our second go round we have a male wood duck in eclipse (non-breeding plumage) in the pool in front of the Visitors Center.
ABJ and family are in F Pool near the osprey nest.
The F Pool ospreys are both near the nest with their two growing chicks. We hear a commotion of screaming ospreys around the bend. We have one osprey near the new nest and two ospreys in the nest. Looks like someone wants to claim that spot. The previous unsuccessful pair is standing their ground. They are claiming this nest as their home in hopes of having a family next year.
A pair of sandhill cranes with a colt is swimming across a small channel. I wasn’t able to get a shot but Michael thinks he did before they reached the other side.
A pied billed grebe is feeding in H Pool. We haven’t seen as many as these little guys as we usually do. Hopefully they are just still on their nests and will be out and about soon. But
J Pool loons still have their one chick. They, of course, stay out in the middle of the pool where photos ops are hard to come by.
We have a pair of sandhill cranes in H marsh without babies. As we head to G Pool, we have trumpeter swans taking over the Pool along with Canada geese. One of the loons is at the east end of the pool where I can see the G Pool eaglet out on a limb near the nest. It is flapping its wings testing them out to see how they work. It is so awesome that the poor little bugger actually survived the intense heat and smoke from the wildfire earlier this summer. The fire was actually all around the nest area…nature is amazing!!
Our D Pool loons are across the pool out of harm’s way and our vision. Our C Pool trumpeter swans with one cygnet our in their cove so I stop to snap a couple of pics.
We head out of the Refuge around 2:00pm as the clouds start to move in. We decide to take a break and will come back in later this afternoon.
The clouds look like they may be moving out. It is 84 degrees with a lovely breeze at 5:30pm. It is perfect weather, not too hot or too humid.
We wood ducks at the Visitors Center and at the start of F Pool. The loons are calling. It looks like the Canada geese are all settled in the northeast corner of E Pool.
The F Pool osprey chicks are up and about at their nest on F Pool with one parent overseeing things.
A great blue heron is behind an island near the osprey nest. It flies to the west and lands in a tree along the drive. As we head that way it flies into another tree in F channel. I love when they land in the dead trees they look so prehistoric. It started to preen so we knew we might be able to get some shots of it before it moved on. Their plumage is so beautiful. That is actually why they almost became extinct bck in the early 1900’s. it became quite the fashion statement to wear the beautiful feathers in the ladies’ fancy hats.
Just a little further down we have a pair of sandhill cranes fly out of F marsh, circle around and land on the drive behind us. Then a single sandhill flies behind them. They aren’t happy about that and cackle and walk into the marsh.
Our little pied billed grebe is still at the end of H Pool. It was gathering food so maybe it has a nest nearby and we will have babies! A snipe is calling and the sandhills are cackling and the common terns on J Pool are screaming.
I love the sights and sounds and smells of the Refuge!!! It is so peaceful and serene, the best medicine for lives little ups and downs.
Unfortunately the winds are changing now and the clouds are moving in. L Oh well, it is still a lovely evening.
As we pass J Pool we spot an osprey fishing. It plunges in the water but comes up empty. That doesn’t deter it. It keeps circling and circling. It finally hones in on its prey and dives!!! This time it had success. It caught a huge pike! It could hardly pick it up it was so big!! That was awesome to watch. Michael got the whole thing on video. Actually another osprey was watching from a tree on J Pool, too.
Merlins are screaming at the end of H marsh where a non-breeding male wood duck is eating.
As we circle around to G Pool we have a couple of Caspian terns fishing and screaming at each other we also spot a loon quietly sitting near the shore at the east of G Pool. We stop to watch it.
Another loon further down the pool is calling but this loon is not responding. It actually backs into the shoreline and tries to melt into the brush. Interesting!!
It finally after about 15 minutes works its way out close to where I am sitting in the brush. I, of course, talk to it. It stays there for some time before another loons flies right over it and lands down near the other loon. Busted!!
It decides it might as well show itself now. So it swims down to where the other two loons are. We head down that way to watch the action.
They do their usual bobbing up and down and diving. They circle each other with their heads pointed in their ‘socializing’ pose. After about ten minutes of that the intruder floats away. Then as we expected it takes off and flies out of the pool, circling then heading over to E Pool to see if it can find a hidey hole somewhere else.
While we were watching the loon at the east end of the pool, a merlin flew into the tree on ridge in the H/E marsh area. It was greeted by screaming young!! Yeah, we will have to investigate next time were here.
We have another pied billed grebe on the west end of E Pool along with wood ducks. An osprey flies over with a fish heading to D Pool. By the time we circle round to the Marshland Drive the osprey is heading back out for more food for its two young.
On the southwest end of C Pool marsh we have a female blue-winged teal with three young along with a beaver and muskrats.
We spot the E Pool adult eagles together on their tree on the opposite side of C Pool along the Marshland Drive. Unfortunately it is getting too late to drive back around and there is no guarantee that they would still be there if we did. But it is nice to see them being a little more visible. We should be seeing the young out along the drive before too long. They look like they could fledge soon. They are sitting in the branches above the nest. So that gives us something to look forward to next week on the Refuge.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 18, 2012
We woke up to rain so decided to chill out a little longer before heading into the Refuge.
It cleared a little around 9:30am so we decided to go say ‘hi’ to the girls at the Visitors Center. Sue and Jan were there but Pat was on her way to Ohio. We found out from Jan that Pat had an accident while out ‘chasing’ wildlife. Hope she is on the mend soon. It just hasn’t worked out to connect with her…yet.
The Visitors Center was very busy so we decided to leave the girls to their work and take a run through. There was a traffic jam at the corner of the Fishing Loop and the Marshland Drive. Unfortunately people don’t always think before abandoning their cars to film wildlife. There are all kinds of turn offs to pull over. Oh well, we made on to the Fishing Loop and actually enjoyed some sunshine along the way.
The eaglets are still on the side of their nests anticipating their next move. The F Pool osprey is feeding her two young. We have a beautiful doe in the E marsh, no sign of a baby.
Frick and the Chick Sandhill cranes are on the E-H Spillway drive where a pair of merlins is carrying on.
We have a major fight going on over H Pool. An eagle and two ospreys are having a territorial dispute! Cool to watch the action from the peanut gallery.
A trumpeter swan family with three cygnets is feeding in the channel on H marsh. The J Pool loon and its chick are out feeding in the center of the pool.
As we wind around on the west end of the Refuge the clouds start moving in. The winds are so strong today that the critters are moving around much. I don’t blame them one bit.
We have Canada geese that are enjoying the H channel on the west end of the Fishing Loop. We usually don’t have too many birds here maybe an occasionally ring-neck or wood duck.
G Pool eagle is soaring over G Pool looking for something to feed its baby.
D Pool loon is still on its nest. I think they should have a chick or two by next weekend, hopefully. The osprey is tending its young. We are sure how many they have yet. They are too young to stick their heads above the edge of the nest.
We have muskrats moving about. They seem to like it know matter what the weather. The pied billed grebe is on the southwest end of C Pool where it hopefully has a nest. We should see young soon.
The male northern harrier is out hunting near its nesting area in B marsh. We have yet another pied billed grebe in the area where we filmed the young ones last year.
B Pool loon is still hanging out at the east end of the pool guarding its territory.
Our trumpeter swan family with two cygnets is staying safe and happy in the cove at the east end of C Pool! Hopefully, we will still have those two little ones. And one of our loons is guarding its territory at the end of C Pool.
It starts to spit rain as we head out of the Refuge at 12:45pm. It sure was a lot nicer than we thought it would be today. We will return to our regular schedule of Sundays on the Refuge and Mondays on the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley next weekend.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 17, 2012
After a hard rain last night, we woke up to clear blue skies and sunshine!! We headed into the Refuge around 8:15am with temperatures around 65 degrees. A jack rabbit hops out in front of us on the Entrance Rd.
We have two great blue herons in the pool in front of the Visitors Center. There is a lone sandhill crane on an island in the middle of F Pool preening itself. The unattached Canada geese are gathered together in several groups along the way.
The muskrats are busy gathering sweet grass along the banks of the pools. The red-winged blackbirds, cedar waxwings, eastern kingbirds and flickers are all out and about gathering food for themselves or their young.
H Pool trumpeter swans still have five cygnets. The osprey was standing on the edge of the nest but flew off when we went by. Sad to say but it is definitely a failed nest. We hear a Wilson Snipe calling. And we find it sitting in a dead tree along the drive before the Fishing Pier. Sweet!!! We both get to ‘shoot’ it while it keeps up its chatter. It was really cool when a cedar waxwing flew up and acted like it was asking the snipe if it was all right! How cool is that?!!
The common terns are carrying on around J Pool where the loons with their one chick are out in the middle feeding it. The trumpeter swans are further out, too. Oh well, at least they are all safe.
Wood ducks fly out of J channel as an eagle watches from a dead tree to the north.
One of the G Pool loons is preening along the drive. It’s sad not to have a successful nest this year. This has been our good luck pool for several years now.
We did get to see a pair of sandhill cranes and their colt swim across to an island farther out in G Pool. It was too far for me to get a shot but Michael was able to get some good footage.
A pair of sandhill cranes flies over E Pool to D marsh cackling all the way. Then they take off after a lone shandhill crane driving it off over G Pool where the pair with the colt started in carrying on. There’s lots of action on the Refuge this morning. Fun!!
D Pool loon is diligently sitting on their nest. The osprey is standing on the edge of their nest hopefully feeding a young.
We have a ring-necked duck momma with eight young on C Pool. B Pool loons are together at the east end of the pool.
The trumpeter swan family of two cygnets is still feeding in the cove at the east end of C Pool. A pair of sandhill cranes is in B marsh.
As we stop at the end of C Pool where the small pool is we spot the trumpeter swan family with four cygnets heading in near the shore. I decide to try to sneak up on them to see if I can get some shots of them near the shore. Before I get too far daddy comes up on the drive. Oh no, I’m not sure how much closer I can go. So I step down in the ditch on the opposite side of the drive. Just when I think I might as well go back…out pops a cygnet!! It saunters up past its daddy and plops itself down!! Sweet!!! I shot it for quite a while when all of a sudden momma comes up out of the ditch onto the drive. Oh, oh now I’ll have to leave. But wait….out pops the other three cygnets!! Momma sits down and begins to preen herself!! This is so totally awesome!!!! They don’t even seem to know I am here. The benefits of wearing all camo are paying off.
I take photos till momma decides it’s time to head back into the water. So the babies and daddy follow her back down into the water and off into the distances. Thank you for letting me share those precious moments with your family!! This is what makes doing what I do so worth it!!!
We do take a quick second run through to check on the Marshland Drive. Our E Pool eaglets are still just sitting on the edge of their nest with one of their parents standing guard in one of the tall pines. The trumpeter swans on E Pool are all being fairly passive. We spot a momma common merganser with her six babies. The west end E Pool loons are together midway down the drive.
I get a picture of a huge snapping turtle that is lounging in the muck on the C marsh side of the drive. Believe it or not while we were photographing the turtle a lady came up to our car to ask if we could move so she could get by. OK, we are on a narrow drive with no turnouts…but I held my tongue and moved quickly so she could speed along on her way. Sometimes I wonder why people even bother driving through.
We also spotted the female Northern harrier in B marsh. She drops down in the center of the marsh where we think they have a nest. It is in the same area we spotted a young one a couple of years ago. The male harrier was also hunting in the area but continued to head to the west.
Wood ducks and ring-necked ducks are along C Pool in the marshy areas. The C Pool loon is out along with our trumpeter swan family near the cove at the end of C Pool. The clouds are moving in with a strong wind making it too dusty for Michael to continue riding his chair. We decide to take a break and go investigate some more hidden treasures that the Upper Peninsula has to offer.
We made a quick run through after 6:30pm. We were greeted by two great blue herons flying over. Then we had two more great blue herons land on an island in F Pool. So glad we decided to make a run tonight.
The momma common merganser was keeping her six young ones safe near the shoreline under the shrubs. A seagull was trying to eat the sunfish he caught. He flew with it then landed several times. Finally he got another seagull to chase him…just what he had been waiting for. A merlin is hunting in C marsh. Ospreys are out fishing around the Refuge. Beavers and muskrats are feeding along the edges of the pools. It’s a beautiful evening just being out enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the Refu
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 16, 2012
We headed into the Refuge around 7:45am to partly cloudy skies. It is 64 degrees with the humidity building. The pools are like glass. The Canada geese good ole boys club is gathered at the beginning of F Pool. We have some wood ducks bobbing back and forth.
F Pool loons are out with their one chick near the Fishing Loop. They are trying to feed it but it doesn’t seem too interested in the food. It takes a couple of fish from its daddy but then ignores its parents. It actually seems to enjoy controlling the situation. They follow where ever the chick leads them.
While we are checking out the E Pool eagles nest we hear ABJ carrying on yodeling his warning. Well, there appeared two loons flying from the west over E Pool. The east end E Pool loons are together without benefit of any young. L They take off across the pool flying around then landing again further to the east.
The eaglets on E Pool are sitting on the edge of their nest anticipating their next step into the real world…fledging! One of their proud parents looks on.
Ring-necked ducks and wood ducks are feeding together in the edges of E Pool. The osprey on F Pool is sitting on the branch next to its nest where its two young ones are resting. The trumpeter swans have five cygnets.
Further down H Pool trumpeter swans also have five cygnets. There are some wood ducks and a pied billed grebe. The new osprey nest looks to be empty. One of the ospreys is sitting in a tree to the west of it. It takes off…but we never saw where it went. It looks like maybe it’s a failed nest. We’ll have to check out later.
J Pool loon is with its one young while its partner is out farther in the pool. As soon as we approach the loon calls for its mate to come…just in case. The trumpeter swans have five cygnets that are feeding near the shoreline but they immediately move out further when we get close.
There is a wood duck in a small pool at the end of H marsh. We spot a quick glimpse of a sharp-tailed grouse.
Yeah! The G Pool eaglet is alive and well. I thought I saw one of its parents feeding it last week. Now I know it is via the photos I got on my camera.
Two baby wood ducks are in the west end of E Pool with their mommy. We hear loons carrying on at D Pool. They are flying behind D Pool past G Pool.
Bummer, it looks like the west end E Pool loons are together, too. That would mean a failed nest. L
D Pool loon is still on its nest, thank goodness! Snipes are calling all around the Refuge, but no visuals.
We have a pied billed grebe on C Pool where a momma ring-necked duck has several babies back by the reeds. Our trumpeter swans with two cygnets are out feeding.
There are now two loons on the east end of B Pool. It’s not looking good for baby loons this summer. L
We have a little fawn following its momma into B marsh. Sweet! I love being able to catch a glimpse o these precious little creatures.
We have seen common and Caspian terns fishing throughout the Refuge. The end of C Pool we have one lone loon. It starts to yodel when we hear a loon flying from the west. It must have passed over B Pool, too, because we can hear them yodeling, too.
We end our first run at 10:15am and head right back in. We were surprisingly greeted by an American woodcock that mystically appeared out of the woods on the Entrance Rd. Sweet!
There are wood ducks in the pools in front of the Visitors Center. We have a beautiful breeze and mild temperatures. With the sun under some haze it helps it from being too hot.
The trumpeter swans are quite passive on E Pool. Usually they are good for some action this time of day.
We have a sandhill crane chasing two other sandhills off of its island.
Yeah, we spot a Northern Harrier flying over B Marsh. Hope to get some close-ups some day in the near future.
We are treated to some precious moments with our C Pool trumpeter swans family with its two cygnets. They are sweet to watch. The sibling rivalry is quite fun to watch! We also got to get a few close-ups of the family of four cygnets in the small pool at the end of C Pool. We end the second run around 12:45pm.
It’s been a great day at the Refuge. The clouds are moving in so we will see what will come of it.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 10, 2012
What a beautiful morning!! Unfortunately, Michael is under the weather, so I head into the Refuge on my own. At 8:15am it is 67 degrees with clear sunny skies.
I am excited to see one of F Pool loons not too far from the shore with its young one on its back. They ride the backs of their parents for only about two weeks. By next week this little one may be off but then again some parents are more lenient and allow the bigger only child to ride longer.
There are a couple of male ring-necked ducks hanging out on F Pool, too, along will a major gaggle of Canada geese. You can see where the snapping turtles have been laying their eggs only to be eaten by marauding critters such as raccoon etc.
Our E Pool eaglets are up and about but still not ready to leave the comforts of their nest. One of their parents is standing guard as usual in the tall pine. The other parent is soaring around looking for more food to feed the fast growing ‘babies’. Further down the trumpeter swans are out feeding their five cygnets.
One of the F Pool osprey parents is fishing while the other is feeding its two chicks. The trumpeter swan pair on the Fishing Loop end of F Pool is out with their six adorable cygnets.
A doe runs in front of me near the channel between E and H. She stops to watch me as I talk softly to her. I didn’t see any fawns though.
Our H Pool trumpeter swans have at least six cygnets that I can see. The muskrats are out and about gathering sweet grass. The red-winged blackbirds are carrying on while the snipes call out of the marshes.
The young osprey nest at the end of F Pool is quiet. As I watch the male comes in with yet another stick for the nest. I am sure his mate might appreciate a little food instead. Oh well, he’s trying to be a good provider. But instead of leaving the stick, he takes it with him and heads across H Pool to sit in a tree.
J Pool loons are out in the middle of the pool feeding their one chick. No photo ops there. As long as I know they have one baby that’s ok. Hopefully, next weekend they will be more co-operative. Across in H marsh a pair of Northern Flickers is taking turns feeding their young. Further down on J Pool a female hooded merganser is out with her one surviving almost grown young.
Several wood ducks flush out of the J marsh as I drive by. We have a pair of merlins in H marsh caring on.
Our G Pool loons have a failed nest, unfortunately. They are out and about spending time together feeding from one end of G to the other. Meanwhile a rowdy bunch of trumpeter swans are back by the G-D spillway. I decide to take a stroll back that way to sit and just see what happens.
The loons come over just so far and then decide they’ve had enough of the swans carrying on so they drift back to the middle of G Pool. The trumpeter swans on the other hand are having fun. More and more fly in to get in on the action. They are chasing each other right out of the pool. Sweet! I get some great aerial shots as well as some courting!! That’s why I like to just stop and observe. Just when you think nothing is going on…bam…young kingfishers are flying right over your head chasing each other!!! It can’t get much better than that!
Reports say that the young eaglets on the back side of G Pool didn’t make it but I could swear I saw one of the parents feeding one and then heard its weak call. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.
And the snipe…they are calling everywhere but I never did get to see one!! But even just experiencing the sounds of nature are worth getting up early for. I soak up the Life that is surrounds me here on the Refuge!!
Our D Pool loon is diligently manning its nest as the osprey does likewise. Our loon in the middle of C Pool is sleeping hopefully while its mate is nesting. Time will tell. The trumpeter swans with seven cygnets are out farther in the pool. Our two east end loons are together so a failed nest there, too. Bummer! The trumpeter swans still have their four little ones that they are busy feeding.
As I am watching the loons and swan a male wood duck glides out from the shoreline right in view of me! So needless to say I snapped a few pictures. Actually he never did fly off like they usually do. He just drifted to the other shoreline oblivious of me. That’s what I love when nature just lets you be part of them.
I end my run through at 11:00am. I figure I had better go back and check on Michael then probably have to head home. But we will be back for one more three day stint next weekend!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 9, 2012
We actually ran through the Refuge late yesterday afternoon in the pouring down rain. We just wanted to take a quick run through our Fishing Loop. We haven’t been on it since the day the wildfire started almost three weeks ago.
F Pool loons have one chick on their back. The baby is at least one week old judging by the size of it. J Pool also has at least one chick that looks to be almost as old as F Pools. It was raining so hard poor young osprey was trying to keep its eggs dry. We decide we might as well wait till tomorrow to see what’s what.
So we head into the Refuge around 9:15am after the dark clouds finally disperse. The eaglets are still in their nest on E Pool. It is very quiet. The older osprey nest on F Pool has two baby ospreys in it.
Snipes are calling. You can hear the trumpeter swan young bucks carrying on at E Pool. We have an American bittern fly over us from G marsh into H marsh. Then two sharp-tailed grouse fly out of the G marsh that had been in the wildfire. Nice to know that there the wildlife is alive and well.
One of the G Pool eagles is soaring over the nest area the other one is at the nest. It is amazing how close that the fire got to their tree!
We have a doe running in C marsh. We can’t tell if she had a fawn or not. The loon is on its nest on D Pool while tis mate is at the observation deck fishing. The osprey is on the side of its nest. We can’t tell if they have young yet or not.
A female common merganser has six young on D Pool. While I am ‘shooting’ her the loon pops up and scares the living daylights out of all of us!!! The momma and babies fly across the water to the other side of the Pool.
The loon is on the southwest end of C Pool. It spooks a little bird out of its territory. As I am ‘shooting’ the bird I find out it is a pied billed grebe. Cool! I’ve never got one actually flying before.
C Pool trumpeter swans have seven cygnets!! Hopefully, a few of them survive the eagles, pikes and snapping turtles to make it to adulthood!! Further down another pair has four cygnets.
There is a loon on the east end of B Pool. The C Pool loons are, unfortunately, together at the east end of C Pool. We stop at the end of C Pool where we spot some wood ducks down on a log. I take a little stroll to see how close I can get before they fly. Two common terns cause a ruckus and off the wood ducks go!! But at least I got a good shot of one of the terns!
We end our first run through at 1:00pm. We decide to take just another quick run on the Marshland Drive to check on the loons there. We saw the east end E Pool loon alone yet. But we didn’t see the west end loons. Oh well, maybe tonight or tomorrow we get a little more action. It is actually too warm and humid today for much action!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal 5-29-2012
We are up early to enjoy the break in the weather. The sun is shining and the temps are in the 50s.
We head into the Refuge around 8:00am. The storms have moved out and the air is fresh and sweet.
F Pool loon is still doing its duty, keeping its nest warm and dry. The painted turtles are coming out to sun themselves.
One of the E Pool eagles is again in a pine tree on the Fishing Loop just off the Marshland Drive. This must be its new fishing tree or maybe it’s a hunting tree for cygnets and goslings.
Sandhill cranes are in the marsh on the northeast end of C marsh.
The trumpeter swans are still controlling the center of E Pool. We stop to watch all of the action. We have rowdy swans terrorizing the others. We have courting, and feuding and just plain fussing going on. It’s a fun way to spend the morning.
While we were watching the swans two American bittern pop out of C marsh and fly off. Then a third takes off ‘gronking’ as it goes. Then the Wilson snipes are calling and carrying on.
There is a pair of trumpeter swans mid E Pool with only one cygnet. An osprey is fishing over E Pool.
We have a momma common merganser with six babies on E Pool. We don’t usually have the common mergansers nesting here. So it was nice to see them.
There is still a lone sandhill crane in mid C marsh. The west end E Pool trumpeter swans still have two cygnets.
There is a pair of sandhill cranes at the end of C marsh with a small colt. It is barely visible in the tall grasses.
We have a pair of trumpeter swans on D Pool with six cygnets. We probably just saved some of their young lives. An eagle was perched on a pine tree along the drive. When we stopped to see the swans the eagle flew off.
There are a few wood ducks and ring-necked ducks on C Pool. An osprey is fishing over C to B Pool.
Two loons are in the middle of C Pool, not nesting yet. We even have a loon on the east end of B Pool. We have seen one there in years.
Our east end C Pool loon is keeping its vigilance as its mate is nesting.
This is the first time Michael has been able to ride the chair all the way through the Refuge this season. We end our first run through at 10:00am.
Our second run through we have a doe standing in the middle of the Entrance Rd.
A pair of wood ducks is at the start of F Pool
The E Pool eagle is in the pine tree on the Fishing Loop again. It flew off just as I got out to take a quick picture of it which was great for me. The eagle actually circled around me a few times so I could get some aerial shots which was even sweeter.
The other eagle is next to the nest where it had just fed the two eaglets. It is waiting its mate to return and take its turn guarding the babies.
We stop and watch the trumpeter swans again. While we are watching the swans we have two American bittern fly out of the marsh followed by a third. Yes!! We were hoping to see them back on the Refuge.
Also while we were watching the swans, the E Pool eagles switched parental duties. The common merganser is further down E Pool with her six chicks.
Before we get to the end of C marsh we hear the glunk, glunk of our bittern. Yes!! We spy one as it sticks it head up out of the marsh. We were actually able to film and photograph it as it performed its courting ritual!!! Totally Awesome!!!
The D Pool osprey is in a tree near the nest where the other one is on the nest.
We have a male ring-necked duck guarding an area that must have a nest in the small channel on the southwest corner of C marsh.
Dark clouds are moving in from the southwest. It looks like another storm is a brewing around 11:30. But we were so happy to be able to have a beautiful morning to enjoy our Refuge. We won’t be back now till June 9th.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal 5-28-2012pm
We had an awesome morning filming black bears on the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley. We now have two mommas, one with two and one with three cubs!!
We didn’t get into the Refuge till 4:00pm unfortunately, by that time the clouds were starting to move in from the southwest.
There is lots of traffic this afternoon. Nice that everyone wants to check on the Refuge to see how it faired the wildfire from last Monday.
As I tell people the wildlife is ready to welcome you!! The F Pool loon is diligently incubating its eggs. It is important that they eggs stay not only warm but dry, too.
One of the E Pool eagles is fishing on top of a pine tree on the Fishing Loop just off the Marshland Drive.
A pair of ring-necked ducks is enjoying the privacy of the small pool across from the eagle nest signage.
The trumpeter swans midway on E Pool are a fussin’ and a feudin’! it is fun to watch their interaction with each other.
The osprey from D Pool is fishing along E Pool midway. While we are watching it a pair of Wilson Snipes pop out of the C marsh and flit and flutter high in the sky. Cool to watch! But while watching the snipes, the osprey got a fish and head back to its nest. Photo op gone! L
The west end E Pool loon is lying low ever vigilant watching for intruders that may cause harm to its mate and its nest.
The trumpeter swans on the west end of E Pool only have two cygnets now. Sad but its nature taking care of nature.
The D Pool loon is back on its nest. We think it was just adding more vegetation to elevate the nest so it wasn’t so close to the water (we hope).
The thunderstorm moves in around 5:10pm. The rain really comes down at times which is great for this parched ground. It will also help keep the hot spots of the wildfire down, too.
We actually just parked and enjoyed the weather. It was still very soothing just to be here even if we couldn’t take photographs.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge 5-27-2012 pm
We spent most of the day checking out the area around the Duck Lake Wildfire. M-123 is open and actually no sign of fire to be seen from that. The Falls area are all fine just not allowing visitors yet till they can be sure the fire is under control. Conditions still dry with unpredictable winds.
We headed out to Vermillion Point Life Saving Station on Lake Superior. The fire I guess came within eight miles of it but no further.
We headed into the Refuge around 5:00pm. It is 73 degrees with clouds moving in. F Pool loon is sitting low in the water keeping watch as its mate is on the nest.
A Great Blue Heron flew into F Pool. This is the first one we have seen so far this season. Sweet!
Turtles are out sunning themselves on a log about twelve deep. Some of the little painted turtles are laying eggs.
A lone sandhill crane is flying over F Pool. We have an eagle in a tree fishing on E Pool. The other eagle is in the nest feeding the two eaglets. A common loon is swimming around near the eagle island.
There are tons of trumpeter swans in the center of E Pool. There was a beaver on the edge of the drive feeding but it quickly got back in the water as soon as we got close.
We can hear Wilson Snipes calling and courting. Sandhill cranes are in C marsh hopefully with babies.
We finally hear the glunk, glunk of the courting American Bittern! Yeah We love these guys.
West end of E Pool has a pair of trumpeter swans with three little cygnets!
D Pool loons aren’t on a nest like we thought they were last night. One was actually acting like it was building a nest but not sure about that either. They usual build their nests as a couple. The other loon was out in the middle of the pool acting very indifferent.
The D Pool osprey is in the nest with its mate sitting in nearby tree.
The Canada geese are out having dinner out with their goslings along C Pool. Wood ducks are out in their usual marsh.
We have a merlin in the area but not being very co-operative with me. Our C Pool is in their southeast corner. They come close to the shore so I can get a picture. We met a nice couple, the Sams, who share our love of the Refuge and Nature. Met up with Larry and Laura McGaffey,too, and visited so…not as many pictures tonight but enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge 5-26-2012 pm
8:00pm it is 66 degrees as we stop at the Wigwams on M-77 at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Everything actually looks pretty normal which makes me feel much better. With the wind direction from the northeast we don’t really smell any smoke in the area either.
The osprey is standing guard over its nest on F-1 Pool. We have a couple of pair of ring-necked ducks on F Pool along with several busy muskrats carrying food to their families.
When we get to the Fishing Loop, we really don’t notice any fire effects. Looks like the new osprey nest at the end of F Pool should be safe and sound as is everything else that we can see.
The eagles are guarding their young on E Pool. One loon is at the east end of E Pool. We are pretty sure its mate is nesting in the vicinity. Sandhill cranes are cackling as they land into the marsh of C Pool.
The trumpeter swans have moved to the middle of E Pool on the south side. Looks like we may have a few more than usual. Kingfishers are flying and chattering.
When we get to the spot where the Fishing Loop runs into the Marshland Drive, we stop to see if we can see any fire damage to G Pool and the eagles nest. Everything looks ticketeboo!! Looks like the USFWS use of controlled burns has paid off with this wildfire. The controlled burns help keep all of the dead grasses etc to a minimum helping to prevent such an extreme fire as is currently burning at Duck Lake.
Yeah!! Our D Pool loons are on their nest!!! That means babies around June 18th or so. The osprey are guarding their nest on D Pool. All is well in the world!
On C Pool we spot a lone loon. Then we spot the west end couple. They are bearing down on the lone. We have a little head popping and diving. The lone loon shows off with a slight take-off and belly splash. The C Pool couple finally just ignore it and move on.
We have a pair of Sandhill cranes in B marsh with a good possibility of a baby just by the way they are acting.
We have a pair of beavers feeding at the end of C Pool. The one is out of the water cleaning itself. I love to see these guys out of the water. They are so interesting to watch. As we look back toward the west we see a haze of smoke hanging over the pools. What has actually happened is the northeast winds have blown the smoke from the Duck Lake fire into the Refuge. It is amazing how far the winds carry it and the smell.
We head out of the Refuge after 9:00pm. Hope we get some rain up here tomorrow. There are thunderstorm possibilities predicted.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal 5-21-2012
We woke up to a drastic temperature change. It had been in the mid 80’s yesterday, today it is 42 degrees. Brrrrr! actually, it is more like what the typical temperatures are for this time of year. We got some rain but not enough to help with the fire danger.
We didn’t head into the Refuge till around 10:00am. We stopped at the Visitors Center to visit. Pat and Sue were gone. Sara and Jan were there with one of the interns, Mike. So we visited them for a while. At that point the wind blew in some clear skies so we made a run through to see what new things we might be able to see.
There was a pair of loons on F-1 Pool right behind the Visitors Center. Sara said they had just come in this morning. As we started the drive I spotted a Wilson Snipe on the top of a dead tree along the drive. Michael pulled ahead so that I get some light on it. Unfortunately its butt end was facing me, so…I just called to it in its only language. It turned its head and talked back to me. That was so cool!! It actually hung around for even Michael to set up his camera and get some footage before it flew off.
F Pool loon is quietly sitting and guarding its nest. It is so interesting to watch them. They heads are turning constantly, diligently looking for intruders. Its mate was over on the Fishing Loop end of F Pool trying to catch something.
One of the eagles on E Pool is in the nesting. Sara said they have eaglets which would account for the active that looks like is taking place. Lots of trumpeter swans are on the northeast corner of E Pool which seems to be their chosen location this year.
The ospreys on F Pool in both nests are hunkered down trying to keep their eggs incubated. Most critters seemed to be doing the same thing. With wind chills near 32 degrees, it is very important to keep their eggs and young protected.
We spot one of our loons on H Pool. Hopefully, this means the other is on a nest, only time will tell.
Cool, we spot two male and one female blue-winged teals on the channel at the end of F marsh before the Fishing Pier. One male is on land with the female trying to woo her. They bob their heads up and down, up and down. The female actually seems a little bored with it all. The one male finally takes off. A little bit longer and the female decides to leave followed closely by the other male. That was fun!
While I was watching the blue-winged teals, a male trumpeter swan decided to kick two geese off H Pool. He chased them over to J Pool then contently returned to his domain.
Yeah, with the sun shining just right and the other loon right near it, we discovered the nest of J Pool loons! They actually changed positions so we were able to see that it looked like they have three eggs. That would be so cool if they all hatched!!
The common terns on J Pool island were screaming up a storm. They were flying and fighting which made for some good entertainment. There was a pair of drake mallard ducks sunning themselves on the island with some of the common terns.
A lone sandhill crane flew over J Pool into H marsh. It was so quiet, they usually makes such a wonderful sound.
We spot a pair of ring-necked ducks in the channel in H marsh where a kingfisher was quietly fishing.
Our G Pool loons look like they, too, are doing the ‘changing of the guard’ soon. It is so nice to have the nests somewhat visible so we can keep track of the loon activity this summer.
One of the D Pool loons is close to the drive while the other is back near the island where they usually make their nest. Hopefully they will be nesting when we get back up Saturday night.
The G Pool eagle is fishing the west end of D Pool which doesn’t make the nesting osprey very happy on D Pool.
We have a pair of Sandhill cranes in B marsh. They don’t appear to have any young. It is really hard to tell in the tall grass but they don’t have the usual defensive positions that they would if they had young.
We now have a pair of loons checking out the west end of C Pool. We had a pair nest there last year but they weren’t successful. An osprey is fishing over B Pool, an eagle is soaring over E Pool and all is right in the world.
Despite the wind it is still a beautiful day to be out on the Refuge. It is always hard to have to leave to head home. But we will be back up Saturday night till Tuesday night this next week!
We finish the run with one of the east end C Pool loons alone. Maybe they have decided on a nesting area finally. A pair of Sandhill cranes ares in the marsh near the end of the drive. It is 1:30 with the temperature at 48 degrees, windy but sunny.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal 5-20-2012
We headed into the Refuge around 1:45pm after spending the morning with the black bears along the tracks of the Toonerville Trolley. It is 82 degrees and very hazy out. It is actually so dry and dusty we have to keep our windows up most of the time. We need rain desperately!!
Lots of Canada geese and their goslings running around the Refuge. Our F Pool loon is still on its nest. A sandhill cranes is flying high over F Pool.
The E Pool eagle is in its nest and the other one in the big pine tree. The osprey on F Pool is in its nest and its mate is sitting in the pine tree on the island across from the nest. Tis the season for sitting and waiting for young to hatch…then its search for food constantly!!
We have lots of monarch butterflies and various dragonflies all around the Refuge!! The new osprey nest’s osprey is patiently waiting for its mate. The mate shows up with not food but yet another stick. And then it doesn’t even leave it. It takes off flying around with it. I think this must be a first nest. The mate doesn’t know what to do so since it can’t pace it’s flying with a stick.
J Pool loon is fishing along the drive. We watch it struggle and finally win out over a nice size sucker.
Yeah! G Pool loon is on a nest! It is on a little island in the northeast corner of the pool. If it my estimation is correct we should have young around June 12-16!!
We were happy to find D Pool loons together. We hadn’t seen them on Tuesday when we went through. The osprey is in its nest and one in a tree on D Pool. Exciting, we spot a pair of Sandhill cranes with a little colt!! They were resting in on a knoll in the shade in C marsh.
There are a few ring-necked ducks in pairs throughout the Refuge. Lots of dust, dust and more dust!!
C Pool loons were playing near their old nesting site near the southeast corner of C Pool. A female Northern harrier is being harassed by a couple of RWBs in B marsh.
We have a doe feeding in the east end of B marsh. And we have the pair of loons enjoying themselves in the small pool at the end of C Pool. We head out for a break from the dust around 4:45pm.
We are back at 7:00pm for a quick run through. It is still 82 degrees and still windy and dusty!!
We spook a doe along the Marshland Drive who spooked a pair of Canada geese and their goslings on F Pool. The trumpeter swans are on all the islands on E Pool.
We stop to watch a pair of Sandhill cranes in the marsh hoping to see a baby. But no luck, they came out of the marsh and walked across the drive to another marsh. Bummer.
Farther down in C marsh we spot another pair of Sandhills. We think this pair has a young one. The one parent was sitting and looking down at something only the way a parent can.
The east end of E Pool loon is lying low in the water near the eagle nest islands. The beavers are out and about again tonight. One dove in the water as we drove by while its mate was coming in with dinner.
There is two pair of ring-necked ducks in the channel across from the west end of E Pool where there is another pair of sandhill cranes.
The D Pool loons are still out and about together as are the C Pool loons and the small pool loons. It looks like it’s going to be a great summer at Seney
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal 5-19-2012
We headed into the Refuge around 8:00pm with temps at 74 degrees and still some sunshine.
We greeted by Canada geese and their goslings around the Refuge. F Pool loon is quietly sitting on its nest. Its mate is enjoying itself just around the corner.
The trumpeter swans are sunning themselves along the Marshland Drive on E Pool. The eagle is sitting sentinel on the tall pine near its nest.
The Wilson Snipes are calling but are showing themselves. We have a pair of Sandhill Cranes in C marsh.
We have a lone loon on the east end of E Pool. Hopefully, its mate is on a nest. The beaver are being very active tonight along with the muskrats.
We actually have a beaver out of the water enjoying a treat while its mate is nearby in the water. An osprey is in the feeding tree at the west end of E Pool.
A front is moving in covering our sun as usual. The beaver and muskrats on C Pool are out and about. There is another pair out feeding near the C-B spillway. A male Northern harrier is hunting along B marsh.
Two loons are near the drive on C Pool near their old nesting area. As we round the corner the sun is dipping below the clouds and coming out a beautiful bright pink (or red). Red sun at night sailor’s delight or is it photographer’s delight!! We’ll see tomorrow.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal May 15, 2012
We woke up to dark skies and 48 degrees with a threat of rain. It is opening day at the Refuge so nothing will deter us from heading out. By the time we get there at 8:00am the rain starts to fall.
There are ring neck ducks on the pools in front of the Visitors Center. Yeah!! We have F Pool loons nesting already!! The nest is on the sandy island at the start of F Pool. We will be keeping an eye on them to see when they hatch. My best estimation is sometime around June 6-8.
There are also trumpeter swans nesting on F Pool, too. E Pool has tons of trumpeters on the northeast end of the pool. We also discovered a lot of bear scat on the Marshland Drive just past the Fishing Loop.
One of the eagles is sitting in the tall pine just down from the nest on E Pool. F Pool had Canada geese with five goslings. We hear a loon calling farther down F Pool. The osprey nest is occupied on F Pool. The other osprey is in a tree nearby. There is one lone sandhill on the drive but it flies off. Maybe it has a mate on a nest? There is a big beaver that spotted us and wet down slapping its tail.
The red-winged blackbirds are flying and fighting all over the place. I love their trill. H Pool has geese with goslings, trumpeter swans on a nest and some common terns screaming around.
Yeah! We have a new osprey nest on F Pool just before J Pool. It is really close to the road so hopefully everything goes well. It will make for great photo ops if they have babies. While we were watching the mate brought in a very large stick for the nest. Cool!
There is a pair of wood ducks were on the west end of H Pool. It is 8:45am and it has already been a great day despite the weather!!
J Pool has a ring-necked duck, three sandhill cranes flying and nesting trumpeter swans. The common terns are back nesting on an island in the middle of J Pool. There is also a lone loon hanging around the island where they had a nest last year. So hopefully they are nesting, too. Two loons fly over heading west.
Yeah! The E Pool eagle is fishing at the west end of J Pool where they usually like to hang out. While I am photographing it, loons are calling and flying over. It is so awesome to be back here!!
Sandhills are in H marsh, wood ducks on in J marsh along with a beaver. As we hit the far west end of the Fishing Loop the skies start to clear and the sun comes out!! Who could ask for a better day?
We spot a Northern Harrier hunting over the west end of H marsh. Then we hear the familiar screeching of the merlin. I spot a female on a tree with her tail up trying to entice a male. He comes over for a minute then goes lands in another tree. She keeps screaming at him then he takes off. She needs to play a little harder to get.
As we hit G Pool we spot a pair of blue winged teals heading into an island cove. Then a Caspian tern entertains us by fishing diligently in a big circle right in front of us!! I got some awesome shots of this beautiful bird.
Around the bend we have a couple of pair of geese with goslings. There is a nesting pair of trumpeter swans. A turkey vulture is circling G Pool when an eagle comes high tailing it out from the nest area to chase it off.
At the west end of E Pool we spot six ring-necked ducks and a little pied billed grebe. There were also six wood ducks weaving in and out of the reeds.
The ospreys on D Pool are on their nest but not a lot of other activity around. C Pool is quiet with a ring-necked male duck and some muskrats out and about.
At the end of C Pool in the cove we spot a loon! We watch it for a while when it takes off. It circles the end of C Pool twice right in front of me before it lands out in front of the point.
There is another loon on the small pool along with a pair of nesting trumpeter swans. As we near the end of the drive we have six sandhill cranes fly over us. We end the drive at 11:30 and head to the Wigwams where we find a loon on the south show pool along with several geese with their many goslings. All of a sudden everyone starts making a fuss…due to an eagle flying over several times.
We headed in for a second run through around 11:45am. I was able to shoot a few pics of the loon on its nest on F Pool. The turtles are finally out sunning themselves. It is a beautiful day.
Eagle is soaring near the nest on E Pool where the trumpeter swans are eating en masse.
Wood ducks quickly fly away as we pass near them on the Fishing Loop. The little buggers do not like people!!
We have a territorial fight going on with the two F Pool osprey pairs. Looks like the new homesteaders are crossing their boundary line so the local osprey is putting it in its place. Cool!!
The other F Pool loon is at the far south end preening itself and just relaxing. The common terns and seagulls are having fun on H Pool. Screaming and flying and eating as they go.
We stop to photograph the new osprey nest from a safe distance. We are hoping the mate returns again with another stick or maybe lunch. As I wait I photograph the terns all of a sudden I hear snipes. I turn in time to see two landing in the marsh near the osprey. So I switch places and face the marsh. I am entertained by the coming and goings of at least six Wilson snipes!! Awesome!! I was able to snap a few photos which were cool.
The osprey finally returned and put on quite a show coming in with a very long stick for the nest. It circled several times fighting the wind. It finally came slowly down into the nest where its mate was being very cautious of just where it was placing the stick. It is so cool to be able to experience nature up close and personal like this.
Also while we were watching the osprey we discovered two loons on H Pool farther back. That is why you really need to just stop and watch and listen to what’s around you. You can’t just drive by and think that there isn’t anything there. Because believe me there is always something out there!!!
The common terns are settling in to their nesting island on H Pool and the one lone loon is still standing guard especially when another loon flies over.
We could hear our female merlin still carrying on across from G Pool in H marsh. She ain’t got no satisfaction…yet! Yeah! We have a pair of loons on G Pool near the end where they nested last year. Hopefully by next weekend they will be nesting.
There is another osprey squabble going on at D Pool. It looks like maybe a young has come back but mom and dad are telling it to get lost. It is sad but just part of all nature’s life cycles.
The loon is still at the end of C Pool so maybe it has a mate nesting? We’ll see next weekend. The weather finally catches up with us as the skies darken and the thunder and lightning move in.
So at 2:30pm we bid goodbye to our Refuge till next weekend. What a great day it was!!! We couldn’t have asked for a better day!!!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal April 14, 2012
It’s time to head back to our favorite place, Seney National Wildlife Refuge!! Sharp-tailed Grouse count this morning. Woke up at 4:45am to drive 35 miles to Driggs River Rd. and walk a mile back to the lek where the STG do their courting. We were serenaded by the birds waking up in the haunting fog from Sandhill Cranes to red-winged blackbirds to the sharp-tailed grouse. We started our count at 7:05am. It was foggy and damp most of the morning so not a lot of action.
It wasn’t till our hour long count was done that we actually had a male dance. But even then it wasn’t too excited to really even pick a fight with another male. Oh well, maybe tomorrow!
As we are walking back out to the truck we have a couple pair of tree swallows trying to decide which house to make their new home. Wilson Snipes calling, Pileated Woodpeckers were talking and some ring-necked ducks were flying along the Diversion Ditch.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited