Another gorgeous morning as Claudia dropped me off to enjoy the sunrise at 5:45am. 48 degrees with a slight breeze. Trumpeter swans flying. I quietly sat and enjoyed the morning on H Pool. An osprey was flying as the common tern fished for its mate. Red-winged blackbird females chased off a snipe on the shore of H Pool then back to their nests in F marsh with breakfast.
I sat on E Pool then and watch the eaglet waiting for someone to come feed it. I was just thinking how cool it would be to have a sandhill to photograph…when out of the brush stepped a handsome fellow. He looked at me then turned and walked along the opposite shore. He took his time feeding, drinking and preening for me. I had quietly found a place to nestle into to photograph him. He was content with me keeping my distance and not being intrusive. What a delightful 45 minutes as I photographed him in the golden light of morning. While I watched the sandhill…the nesting trumpeter swan came in chasing off the young Canada geese.
Both ospreys are now on F Pool….they appear to be nesting….maybe. Still lots of snipes flying and turtles out and about. A lone loon flew over F to E Pool and beyond. It had a red band on its right leg.
Jeannie picked me up and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon of photographing our Happy Place. We found the G Pool eaglet on the edge of the nest. One of the loons was cruising around an island. We then took the Marshland Drive and found a big snapper lying on a log with a little painted turtles on E Pool. We found all the young, single trumpeter swans near the observation deck with a pair of young hooded mergansers.
There is a lot of action but at least we enjoyed the time.
In the evening Michael and I returned around 8:00pm 74 degrees and partly sunny. Goslings everywhere…F pool still on the nest…both ospreys were on the F pool nest with one flying over screaming.
I enjoyed time with my lone sandhill this time on H Pool…enjoying the setting sun. He was the highlight of my morning and evening. I love these gentle souls. Bittern and snipe were calling as I was photographing him.
There are lots of muskrats all over the Refuge. The beavers that working on a lodge have abandoned. G Pool both loons are still together. It is definitely not a good year for our loons again….to late of a spring has thrown the dynamics of the pools off considerably.
We did finally see one of the D pool loons fishing by the island near the observation deck. A pair of beavers were playing…face to face pushing each other around…like they were hugging. We were so excited to finally find a pied billed grebe on C Pool. It was getting dark so I couldn’t get any good photos. But it was great just to see one. C Pool loon is still out in the middle hopefully guarding a nest.
We enjoyed a lovely sunset with some cool cloud formations…and doe along the last marsh as we left at 9:50pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 9, 2018
We arrived so we could make a quick run through the Refuge before unpacking. 7:40pm it’s 75 degrees quiet and calm. Several Canada geese with their goslings ranging from tiny to a couple of weeks old. An osprey is fishing from a pine tree at the F/E spillway…as an eagle guards its nest on E Pool. F is still on a nest. H Pool has one common tern and three Caspian terns. We finally saw another Eastern kingbird sadly not too many around. There is one sandhill in the J channel. A few ring-necks throughout the Refuge…and turtles are out and about. A harrier flew over C marsh. The loon was far out in C Pool. We were happy to find four male wood ducks in B Pool. We ended early to get ready for tomorrow.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 10, 2018
Claudia dropped me off at the Fishing Loop to enjoy the sunrise. It was a perfect morngins ESE winds around 7mph at 5:45am and a few low clouds to add to the sunrise. I love being able to spend this quiet time on the Refuge. The loons wailing…the sandhills cackling…trumpeter swans trumpeting…totally magical.
I spooked a sandhill that flew over to the island on F Pool. A loon flew calling…trying to stir up trouble. Four trumpeter swans flew off E Pool to the far side of F. Eight trumpeter swans were flying over E Pool…out for their morning exercise
One H Pool one common tern was fishing diligently. He would catch something then take it to his mate who I believe is on a nest. A pair of Canada geese have two tiny goslings….but seemed fine with me in the area. A Caspian tern and osprey flew over upsetting the common tern who attacked the osprey.
I was able to watch ABJ up closer then I have all season. He even did a little preening for me. This was about 8:30am. A single loon flew over F Pool but the loons there did not respond. And osprey is at the F Pool nest. I think Dumb and Dumber are still trying to figure out where to nest. Snipes are calling everywhere…and winnowing as they flying. I also heard a sora in F marsh.
I only found one single loon on D and J Pool after Michael picked me up to go the research blind. The G Pool loons are still out together…then one of the ospreys was over at D Pool. Five swan in C marsh. The young ones seem to be spreading out a little. A pileated flew in front of us along C Pool. One lone loon on C Pool and a wood duck. We left at 10:40am to 71 and sun.
Back at 8:00pm to 73 and sun…a slight breeze…and perfect. Not a lot happening…ring-necks and wood ducks in F Pool…Canada geese and goslings. Lone loon on F Pool, common and Caspian terns on H Pool, one loon on J Pool. We witnessed a loon fight on G Pool. The territorial pair had an intruder which seems to be what is causing them not to settle down and nest. We found an American bittern at the edge of C Pool. But it was too dark and it flew into the B marsh. But the sunset was pretty…as we left at 9:50pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 5, 2018
We got to the Refuge at 9:00am 50 degrees still windy but partly sunny. Sandhill in the marsh across from F Pool. One eaglet visible in the nest at E Pool….with an adult guarding from another tree. F loons still nesting…only one visible.
F marsh a male blue-winged teal and snipes calling…also a sora. Common terns flying over H Pool…two Caspians on a spit of land.
Cormorant on G Pool. The G Pool loons were calling…because one of the G Pool eagles was flying over. The eaglet was sitting on the edge of the nest…only one visible.
Snipes calling in D marsh. Trumpeter swan feeding near the shore on C for some nice photo ops.
We checked out the North show pool…a pair of breeding solitary sandpipers was feeding along with the pair of trumpeter swans and Canada goose family with one gosling.
Back along the Fishing Loop…we found an osprey screaming and flying around the old F Pool osprey nest. Two ospreys were in the nest working on it…or else stealing sticks. We think this could be Dumb and Dumber the two very unsuccessful ospreys that have nested in several areas throughout the Refuge for almost five years. They could be who we saw in D pool nest….and possible be the ones working on a nest on A pool that Ranger Jen report to our friends. Time will tell.
This time on H Pool we found six Caspian terns…interesting. Still the G Pool loons together toward the south end of G…eaglet out on the nest…adult flying. C loon near the island….as we leave the Refuge at 12:30pm. Still a little slow on the Refuge. Hopefully there will be more young hatched next week. Always fun to photograph babies…no matter what they are.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge June 4, 2018
Cold west wind at 5:45am clouds covering the sunrise and 50 degrees with a windchill in the 30’s. But I still had Claudia drop me off to hike. Nothing better than to be alone with nature as it awakens.
F Pool loons still nesting. Merlin screaming along E/H marsh. H pool common terns and blue-winged teals. A pair of trumpeter swans flew over H where the territorial pair was out feeding together.
Wood ducks on J Pool…a lone loon on J Pool…along with the trumpeter swans. G Pool loons are still together…then a lone loon flew over…later two loons flew over calling. Kingfishers chattering. Michael picked me up at the top of D Pool. That was a long cold hike. C Pool one lone loon…kingfisher in the swamp at the end of Gray’s Creek Pool.
We took another run through. We saw ABJ at the start of the drive. Eagle on J Pool sitting in a tree but flew before I could get a photo. One lone loon on J Pool. Turtles still out laying eggs. H pool trumpeter swans appear to have abandoned their nest. They were together all day. We found a pair of common terns attacking them. The swans were on the terns island. Hopefully they have eggs there. G Pool loons were finally close enough to shore to see their bands. It appears Greenie the double green banded left leg female has reclaimed her pool after being ousted by another female. She kept returning last year keeping things stirred up. She appears to have a new mate…orange/red band on his left leg…green band on his right leg. The waves were making it difficult to get too many clear shots…but I was happy to see them.
Not much different as we end the run. At least the sun was out more than not…only 56 degrees at 11:00am. Still strong 14-16 mph winds keeping everything stirred up.
We came back at 7:00pm…61 degrees but still windy…but partly sunny. More Canada geese seem to be finally having their young…almost a month behind. I heard an American bittern in F marsh…and more in the marsh along the back side of the Fishing Loop. Hope to see them…last year was not a good year for them.
A male harrier was hunting along J channel…the beavers were still working on their new lodge. G Pool loons were still together…more turtles in the drive.
A lone sandhill in the marsh near the E/D spillway. Took a quick run through the Marshland Drive as the winds picked up and the clouds moved in. Another night without a sunset.
The young swans have all moved to the swan observation deck on E Pool. A lone sandhill in C marsh…a lone loon near the island…two sandhills in B marsh. We were treated to an afterglow of the sunset at 9:45pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 3, 2018
Typical Sunday morning…rain. We went to the research blind along the tracks of the Toonerville at noon.
7:00pm 55 degrees and a cold northwest wind. Canada geese and their goslings….looks like they lost one of the little ones….probably snapping turtle or pike.
Two wood ducks were on the small pool across from the start of the Fishing Loop. Another wood duck at the start of the Fishing Loop E Pool side. F Pool loons appear to still be nesting…only seeing one at a time.
The snipes are calling and winnowing as they fly. Good to hear so many of them. A pair of common terns flew over F Pool.
We found a sandhill on H Pool along with a Caspian tern. J Pool scouting out the trumpeter swan island. Snapping turtles are out laying eggs in this cold weather. Common yellow throated warblers singing away along J channel and back side of the Fishing Loop. We did find one lone sandhill at the end of J channel.
A beaver family was busy building what looked to be a new lodge along the back channel. Dad brought in the big sticks…mom brought the grass and mud…the kids just got in the way. Fun to watch nature at working.
We found an osprey fishing on C Poo….one of the C Pool loons…one loon on B Pool along with a pair of trumpeter swans. They C Pool swans seemed to have spread out in various areas…like the swam after Gray’s Creek Pool. We ended the day with clouds and 9:00pm.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal June 2, 2018
We arrived in time to make a quick run through the Refuge. It was still sunny but very windy…64 degrees. A merlin was screaming around the offices. ABJ was out preening at the start of F Pool. Beavers were busy. Canada geese with four and five goslings…of various sizes were on F Pool.
We found a lone sandhill on H Pool so the pair are still nesting nearby. J Pool lone loon near the trumpeter swan nesting island. Canada geese with three goslings on the west end of E Pool. A lone sandhill flew over D Pool.
B marsh we found two sandhills out feeding together. Doze trumpeter swans and three pair of ring-necks on the east end of C Pool.
The clouds swallowed up the sun before it set…at 9:10pm One loon around the bend from where they had been nesting. It was still a lovely start to a three day weekend.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 28, 2018
Claudia was kind enough to drive me to the Refuge before sunrise. I enjoyed a few moments of the dawn with still waters. But once the sun started to rise the clouds over took it…then it started to spritz.
We drove through the Refuge where we found three loons on G Pool. I had a friend say she had videoed three ‘fighting’ on G the day before. That isn’t a good sign. If they are nesting that could disrupt them. Then the G Pool flew around and around looking for something to catch but ended up sitting in a pine tree.
Michael and I returned at noon to temperature of 78 degrees…mostly cloudy and quiet.
The turtles were out…Canada geese and their goslings. Osprey back on I Pool dead tree. One of the sandills was feeding along the shore of H Pool. I was able to quietly follow it as it enjoyed feeding. Eventually a red-winged blackbird came over and attacked. It walked across the drive and back into the nesting sight. An osprey flew over as I was watching the sandhill.
We found bear scat along G Pool in several spots. Canada geese with three goslings on G Pool. We found the G Pool loons. We watched them as they went island to island still acting like they are looking to nest…maybe the intruders caused them to abandon their nest…or they just haven’t settled on a spot yet. Time will tell. We watched them for almost an hour.
We did finally see an eaglet in the nest on G Pool with its parent nearby. It looks to be 6-7 weeks old sitting on the edge of the nest.
A sandhill appears to be nest in the west end of E Pool marsh. The trumpeter swans are stilling hanging out in their west end, too.
Still a lone sandhill in B marsh…nest nearby? I was able to get some shots of the C Pool loon…no bands present. Sadly I did find an empty loon egg on the edge of the drive. Looks like a predator destroyed the egg. We turned into the Refuge. Hopefully the loons still have another egg to incubate or re-clutched. Time will tell.
We left the Refuge at 3:00 still 78 degrees but partly sunny.
We went home via Rudyard an still found two snowy owls.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 27, 2018
We were greeted by an osprey carrying building material to its nest behind the Visitor Center. We found a doe looking like she was ready to drop her fawn anytime. Hope it makes it.
The eagle is guarding its eaglet(s) on E Pool. F Pool loons are still hopefully nesting. We found a pair of common and Caspian terns on H Pool. Trumpeter swans are still on their nests.
A sandhill crane flew out of F marsh being chased by male red-winged blackbirds. It flew to the west where its mate was located. We watched the RWB continue to attack the poor things. But they are just defending their nesting area. The one sandhill lowered itself…settling on to a nest!! Yeah!! Happy to see them nesting nearby.
On J Pool the trumpeter swans are still on their island nest. One loon was cruising around the three stumps on the far side. So hopefully its mate is on a nest.
Yellow warblers and common yellow-throated warblers along the drive. G Pool lone loon along the drive…and the eagle was sitting near the nest. I still haven’t seen the eaglet(s) yet.
The young swans are enjoying their end of E Pool. The osprey was near the nest on D Pool….no sign of the loons. They are all being very elusive this year.
A lone sandhill crane in B marsh…hopefully guarding its nest near the old osprey nesting site. C Pool loon was behind the island…where two trumpeter swans and two Canada geese were sitting.
We left at 3:15pm but returned later in the day at 6:45pm still hot…85 degrees.
A female merlin was sitting in the drive having a dust bath at the start of the Marshland Drive. ABJ was around the curve preening. Of course the lighting was terrible…it’s the closest I’ve seen him all season.
Little Eastern kingbirds were at the start of the Fishing Loop. Good to see they have returned. The osprey was sitting in the dead tree on I Pool. It appears we only have the pair behind the V.C. and the pair on D Pool. We used to have four pairs.
E Pool lone loon at the east end…hopefully its mate is on a nest. The eagle was still guarding its nest. Two ospreys flew over it. One eagle took after one of them. F Pool on their nest. Sandhill in the E/H marsh in aggressive pose…so hopefully that means a nest nearby. We found a sora in F marsh…it gave me a quick shot before it went back into the brush. H Pool a common tern…pair of ring-necked ducks and a lone yellowleg were on one of the islands. An eagle was on the far side of H on a dead tree.
The monarchs are back, too. We found a beaver in the channel along with a pair of trumpeter swans. They are playing house…probably a new couple trying to figure out life.
Bittern glunking in the marsh….hopefully we’ll see more them then we did last year. G Pool was quiet. West end of E Pool…the trumpeter swans gave me some great reflection shots in the lowering sun.
We found the C Pool loon near by the island again with activity by the trumpeter swans. I stopped to capture the sun setting in the perfect spot of C Pool. As the sun lowered in the sky the calm waters reflected its beauty. I was gifted with a pair of swans slowly moving into the reflection. I was able to capture a very magical moment when the pair came together and formed a heart. Priceless. The reason I love to spend my early mornings and evenings on the Refuge.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 21, 2018
Claudia drove me to the Refuge so I could hike in before sunrise. My first sunrise of the season. It was a perfect. I enjoyed the sunrise with the sound of sandhills…yodeling loons…trumpeting swans…as nature awakened all around me. I enjoyed quiet time on H Pool with a single pair of Caspian terns and a pair of Common terns. The Caspian male kept bringing fish to his mate. At one point the common terns attacked the bigger Caspian terns. I found one loon on J Pool…yellow warblers and common yellow throated warblers along the drive past J Pool. I made it to G Pool where the two loons were out and about. Michael picked me up at that point. We took another run around and found F Pool loon….a lone J pool loon. We saw our first Eastern Kingbird….several pairs of kingfishers and of course lots of trumpeters swans on west E Pool. We also found about six spotted sandpipers at the end of E Pool, too. There is a pair of common mergansers possibly nesting at the end of D Pool near the E/D spillway. D Pool ospreys are on their nest.
We found a pair of sandhill cranes in B marsh…the trumpeter swans at the end of C Pool on the island…with the loons swimming around further out. We found a broad-winged hawk at the end of the run. We ended our run around noon.
We headed over to Rudyard on the way home where we found three snowy owls
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 19, 2018
It was cold and wind as we entered the Refuge around 7:30pm We were greeted by a lone sandhill cranes. It was very quiet…trumpeter swans were on their nests on F, H and J Pool. There were still about a dozen Caspian terns on H Pool. The G Pool loons were together. Ring-necks…blue-winged teals…a wood duck scattered around the Refuge. The young trumpeter swans are congregated at the west end of E Pool. One of the C Pool loons was near the island along with a few trumpeters swans…and a lone sandhill crane in B marsh.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 20, 2018
It started out cloudy and cool…so we headed to the bear blind to get it set up for the season. Then in the afternoon headed up to Grand Marais to see the two visiting Brant geese that were there. Sweet little guys…very co-operative.
We headed into the Refuge at 7:15pm. Along F Pool we found a pair of Canada geese with four goslings. The E Pool eagles are standing guard on each side of the young in the nest. Two common loons on H Pool…no Caspian terns. G Pool loons were together. Snipes were calling across from G Pool. The D pool loons were way out on the back side of the pool. Enjoyed the setting sun with several trumpeter swans along C Pool. The C Pool loons were still hanging out together.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 14, 2018
Another gorgeous morning 50’s at 8:30 getting up to 70 degrees.
I found a beaver casually feeding along F Pool oblivious to my presence. A sweet pair of blue-winged teals was in the channel. The trumpeter swans were way out on E Pool. But my Caspian terns were my main form of entertainment. They gave me amazing aerial shots…with three or four of them chasing each other. I heard a sora across from H Pool. I heard Virginia rails at the start of the drive…and lots of snipes throughout.
I finished my hike by way of the Pine Ridge Nature Trail…still quiet…a kingfisher and a yellow warbler was all I witnessed.
We headed to Rudyard on the way home where we found two snowy owls.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 13, 2018
Gorgeous morning 42 degrees and sunshine. I found a pair of hooded mergansers on F Pool. I found one eaglet for sure in E Pool nest. Three pair of trumpeter swans on E Pool with one male chasing everyone off. I found a huge snapping turtle further down trying to get away from me as fast as it could. I found a female merlin on a snag in F Pool. They have a nest across the drive in a large pine tree.
More fun with the Caspian terns on H Pool. The males bringing in fish to attract a mate. Sometimes the female will take it…sometimes not. Sometimes the male won’t give it to the female that wants it…typical. Lots of copulating going on today.
I also found eight long billed dowitchers on the same spit of land with the terns.
I saw the J pool loons again further out. And the I Pool loons actually came in a little closer to where I was taking a break. Also a pair of kingfishers around I Pool.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge May 7, 2018
Another nice morning…but still cold as I hiked in to the Refuge. I was excited to see three white pelicans flying over E Pool. I had a blast on E Pool with the trumpeter swans…lots of challenging going on…young chasing young…pairs chasing off young. I did still see the loons briefly. The eaglet was visible. Over 30 Caspian terns on H Pool along with a few yellowlegs and the trumpeter swan on its nest. I Pool three pair of trumpeter swans vying for territory. I continued along to J Pool and I Pool to finish my hike after four hours. Not much action along the way…a few trumpeter swans…ring-necks…blue-winged teals…still a little slow after a late winter. I did see an osprey on the F Pool nest…but only one…screaming. Also found loon pairs on J and I Pool. As I was leaving the nesting ospreys at the Visitors Center were challenged by another pair of ospreys. I went to the North Show Pool and found 40 + yellowlegs and a few blue winged teals.
On the way home we found five snowy owls at Rudyard on just the Loop.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal May 6, 2018
It was raining most of the morning. So I arrived around noon to cloudy skies and 50’s. There were a few ring-neck duck…a common merganser pair…and of course Canada geese along F Pool. A pileated flew over me further down along F Pool. I found the east E Pool loons together. E Pool eagles also have at least one eaglet…possibly two! There were tons of trumpeter swans on E Pool…quite entertaining. I also found 20+ Caspian terns on H Pool. I sat and enjoyed just watching them. I also found three sandhill cranes were feeding and two pair of green-winged teals…and a few yellowlegs… were at the far end. I decided to back track to check on the F Pool loons. I did see ABJ or V4 near the long island sleeping. While I was watching them a pair of trumpeter swans came up to visit me…up close and personal.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge April 30, 2018
I decided to take it easy and spend some time on the North Show Pool. It was nice to just hunker down and enjoy the wildlife around me. The sun was shining but definitely cold out. Blue-winged teals were vying for the attention of a female…yellowlegs were flitting about. A pair of sandhill cranes appeared on the back side of the pool. An osprey and cormorant flew over. A pair of Northern pintails flew in which was fun to see. I stayed for a few hours then headed out. It was just great to spend time out with nature again.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge April 29, 2018
My first time to hike the Refuge…since my car accident April 17. I have a chipped C5 so have to wear a neck brace. Ice is still on most of the pools but breaking up. I found ABJ and mate out farther…they just returned this week. F Pool buffleheads…common mergansers…and a young eagle flying over. I found the E Pool eagles have at least one eaglet! I found a couple of pair of Caspian terns on H Pool….along with green-winged teals and American widgeons. The song sparrows and red-winged blackbirds are busy and singing. The young eagle was sitting in a big tree on the back side of J Pool. When it flew off…I heard the wail of a loon. Along I Pool trumpeter swan were have a squabble with Canada geese…spooking off a few ring-necked ducks. Then I found a lone loon out past the ice.
I ended my four hour day with a quick trip to the North Show Pool where the territorial pair of swans came up to me. Sadly people feed them…not a good thing to do. They eat vegetation…no bread. But they gave me some great photo ops. Happy to be back at my Happy Place.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited