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.
Finally, our first trip into the Refuge since last Fall at 8:20 pm. The South Show Pond has a pair of Trumpeter swans starting to nest. They have a spectator, a great blue heron and a male ring neck.
There is a trumpeter and a couple of ring necks on the pool in front of the Visitors Center.
There is a single loon on the start of F Pool, maybe a nest near by?
Yeah! Our eagles have a successful nest on E Pool. They have two eaglets. This is great news after last year’s loss. One of the parents is in the tall pine nearby.
here are two Sandhill Cranes in the east end of C marshes. There is one Sandhill crane closer to the Eagle’s nest.
There is a pair of Sandhills midway down the C marsh area, hoping to nest?
It is so wonderful to be able to be back into this serene, peaceful place. The stress of work just melts away.
A harrier is flitting over the marshes of B pool. And the C Pool loons are looking over the nest situation. Then there is a lone loon at the far east end of C Pool. Also spooked up a male wood duck at the end of C Pool.
Sunday May 31,2009
It’s a frosty start to the morning at 6:00 am. There are trumpeter swans starting to nest on the North & South show pools. Beavers are diligently working to refurbish their dens after a long winter.
F Pool has a trumpeter swan nesting near the start of F Pool. The ospreys are nesting on F Pool on the Fishing Route.
Sandhills are starting to move as the sun starts to warm the air over H Pool. There is a lone doe at the end of the marsh on H Pool. Ready to drop her fawn?
On G Pool there is a pair of trumpeters nesting at the north end. At the west end of E Pool there is a single loon. And a female common merganser just landed nearby.
There is a pair of loons starting to nest on D Pool. Hopefully there will be a few more successful nests this season. There is also a pair of osprey building a new nest on D Pool near the loon observatory.
Our female merlin is still around the C/B marsh area. So hopefully we will be able to catch a glimpse of the nest.
Our loons are on C Pool looking at different nesting possibilities. There is also a single loon at the farthest end of C Pool. There is a pair of Sandhills in the east end of the B marsh. And a pair of trumpeter swan hanging out at the marsh at the end of the drive.
We completed our first run at 9:30 am. Cold and windy which helps minimizing the bugs, but sunny which is fantastic.
On our second run through we took the Marshland Drive, the trumpeter swan still on nest in F Pool and Sandhills on the east end of C marsh.
We also have a trumpeter swan nesting on E Pool. And believe it or not a loon nesting nearby!
The eagle family is quiet. One of the parents are standing watch nearby from the tall pine.
While we were watching it flew over E Pool to C Pool. As we were watching a loon came near the shore from the west.
All of a sudden Michael noticed a big shadow moving overhead. A pair of trumpeters and a mature eagle flew over us to the west. The eagle landed in the top of a pine tree up the road from where we were. As we moved slowly toward it, Michael would stop so I could get a few snaps of it. Yeah! That was fun!The pair of Sandhills are still in the same area on the west end of C marsh. And Mrs. Merlin took off screeching as got close to her.
A male blue jay was trying to tempt a nearby female with is squawking and flapping. I did get a cool shot of them ‘kissing’.
The loons are on the other side of their old nesting area on C Pool, with a doe on the other side in the marshes of B Pool and a trumpeter on a nest in what was B Pool(now drained back).
As we end our second run through at 12:30 the clouds start to move in. We decide to take a lunch break.
We started our third run at 1:30 pm overcast and 50 degrees. We took the Fishing Route this time. The trumpeter swan is still on the nest on F Pool with the osprey flying around.
We can see the eagle family. One adult is in the tall tree the other one is in the nesting feeding the young a huge fish.
The osprey is still in the nest on F Pool. A lone Sandhill is the tall grasses on H Pool.
There is a trumpeter swan on a nest in the middle of J Pool with a lone loon nearby.
The trumpeter swan is still on the nest in G Pool. There is a doe on the edge of E Pool. There is also another swan nesting at the west end of E Pool.
The loon is still on the nest in D Pool with its mate nearby. There is also on osprey on the nest that they were building earlier.
There is a pair of loons on the little pool at the east end of C Pool. She is talking to him as he ‘struts’ around the pool for me. It is 58 degrees less wind but more bugs and darker clouds moving in at 4:15 pm.
We decide to make one last quick run through for the day to verify facts on the eagle and loon nests.
There is definitely two eaglets in the nest!! Yeah!! This will make for an entertaining summer as the young start demanding more from their parents(and their parents ignore them).
There is definitely a loon on a nest in E Pool and D Pool. Not sure what’s happening with the C Pool loons.
The eastern kingsbirds and redwing blackbirds are being very entertaining on this last run. And the two loons are still on the ‘little’ pool at 6:00 pm.
June 1, 2009 It rained last night and into the morning so we decided to wait till it cleared off a little before heading out. We stopped in at the Visitors Center shortly after 9:30 am to visit the girls, Claudia, Karen and Pat. We were introduced to Ryan (the new Carrie) who due to our schedules we had never met. We were also shown the new documentary that replaced the old slide show. Wow! Very impressive, loved the aerials. You can really see the immense size of the Refuge. It is very informative, too. Questions that we have been asking for the last 5-6 years were answered. Thank you, Seney Historical Society. Well after a three hour visit the clouds had moved in, so we decided to head over to Munising. Back to the Refuge at 4:15pm. It is mostly cloudy and windy with 53 degrees temperature. The Trumpeter swans have a nest on F Pool. The osprey is fishing over E Pool. The Trumpeter swans have a nest on E Pool.
There is a new pair of loons nesting on the east end of E Pool. We were coming around to where we sit to watch the eagles nest when three loons started having a confrontation, the new one from the east end and ‘our’ regular loons from E Pool. Michael was able to capture some of it on film. Sweet! While that was taking place our eagle parents both came back to the nest with dinner for the two eaglets. The one quickly heads out while the other stays to keep an eye on the young. The Sandhills are still in the C marsh area. There is also a pair of Sandhills just about a mile down the drive. The loon is on the nest at D Pool with the Osprey flying overhead. We hear the osprey on the nest raising a fuss. When we looked up we spotted a second year eagle flying over the osprey nest. The male osprey came to her rescue and chased off the young eagle. Could this be ‘junior’ that we banded two years ago here on the Refuge? It is a possibility. The harriers were flying over the B marsh area. One went down and caught something. The loons are on C Pool still undecided on where to nest. As we were watching the loons, I thought I saw a flock of trumpeter swans heading our way. But no way, it was nine White Pelicans. That’s right, WHITE PELICANS. We have pictures and footage to prove it. Michael called Ryan and headed out to see for himself. Sweet! We were there for over two hours watching their feeding frenzy. As if that wasn’t cool enough but the eagle came flew around and landed in a tall pine tree just across from us. Then a flock of black bellied plovers, godwits and a HUGE flock of Canadian geese flew over with half of them coming down in front of us. Then before we left the other eagle had gone and the female came and landed in one of the big pines. What a GREAT day in the Refuge. You just never know what you may see in this great outdoors. But you must stop before you can really see. We ended the drive with a loon on the far east end of C Pool, a male wood duck near the ‘dead’ pool and kingfishers building nests in the sand. Sweet! We can’t wait to get back out in the morning. Who knows what it waiting out there to be discovered!
June 2, 2009 Started out at 6:00 am. It is 36 degrees with some cloud coverage. It did frost this morning in places.
Ground fog over the show pools . The trumpeter swan are both on their nests. There is a big red-tailed hawk near the exit from the Refuge work road on M-77.
Ring necks are still on the pool in front of the Visitors Center. Two families of Canadian Geese are on the start of F Pool. Trumpeter swan with a nest on the east end of F Pool chased an intruder away.
The loon is patrolling the east end of E pool where his mate is on a nest. There are Sandhills in the C marsh area. Stopped at the Eagle Point where the loon was patrolling. Two loons from the other end of E are patrolling. We first thought maybe our E loons but not sure because two more joined them. There was no calling or threatening like the night before. One flew off and one separated from the couple.
Another loon flew over. Male Baltimore oriole, eastern kingbirds and little warblers enjoying the morning. The eagle flew in and out of the tall pine. And we finally are hearing the Wilson snipe calling.
Eastern kingbird is building a nest on the south side of E Pool.
The D Pool loon is on the nest with the mate out in front of it. There is a family of geese in front of the loon observatory. And the osprey are both on the nest.
Male wood duck on C Pool midway. Pair of trumpeter swan but not on a nest. The loon on C Pool with an osprey flying over.
There is our doe near the ‘dead pool’ who moved across to the B marshes.The loon is on the east end of C Pool as usual. There is also two loon on the small pool.
Started our second round at 12:30. The dragonfly hatch is on. Amazing what can change it such as short time.
The eagle is in the tall pine and the other one is soaring over E Pool with an osprey circling around. Confrontation? Not this time.
It is getting cloudier. But 65 degrees. Two trumpeter swan in the marshes west of J Pool
The trumpeter swan nesting on G Pool is fighting a poor Canadian goose family. He scattered the goslings. One parent went across the road with a couple of them but dad stayed to try to hold his ground but two of the goslings were getting in the line of fire.
There are now two loons at the northeast end of G Pool. Two sand hills at the west end of C Pool. Trumpeter swan with at least three cygnets. Thefirst we have seen so far on the Refuge. Hopefully they will still be here when we return in a few days.
The loon is still tending the nest on D Pool and the osprey are at their nest left of the loon observatory.
Two sand hill crane at the west end of C marsh.Pied billed grebe on C Pool midway. The eagle is flying over C to B near the eagle observatory. I think they like to show the visitors that there really are eagles on the Refuge. J
There are two loons on the east end of C Pool and our doe is in the B marsh.
June 6, 2009 8:30 pm overcast and 53 degrees.
The trumpeter swan are both on their nests on the show ponds. Ring necks are still on the pool in front of the Visitor Center. And the osprey is over the nest behind the Visitor Center.
The ‘good ole boy’ club of Canadian geese at the start of F Pool. There are two families of geese settling in for the night. Also a loon is near the start of F Pool. Might be ABJ this seems to be where he likes to hang out.
We decide to take the fishing route. Sandhills are flying over F Pool with a beaver swimming nearby.
The eagle is on the tall tree and one in the nest with the young. Muskrats are busy, busy, busy gathering sweet grass.
The Osprey is fishing on F Pool with its mate on the nest in F Pool. There is a Canadian Geese family with eight young (for now).
There is a pair of ring necks on H Pool and muskrats all over the area working diligently. A sand hill flew into H Pool and started cackling. A nest nearby?
The trumpeter swan is still on the nest on J Pool along with some geese, muskrats and a beaver.
We stir up Wilson Snipe on the end of H marsh. There is a goose family at the end of H channel probably the ones that the trumpeter swan attacked on Tuesday. The two loon are still on G Pool with a loon flying over screaming. On the other side of G pool there is a mommy mallard with ten tiny babies. The loon is still on the nest on D Pool with its mate out in front of it. The osprey just flew up by the nest where the mate is. Sandhills in C marsh west end. Ring necks on C Pool with a beaver nearby.
The trumpeter swan is still on the nest on B Pool but no white pelicans this time. The loon are on C Pool with one near the nest area. A family of geese and a beaver are on the small pool. We headed back to camp at 9:45pm.
June 7, 2009 woke up to rain so decided to wait before heading out. So at 9:30 it is cold, wet but not raining anymore.
The trumpeters are on their nest on the show ponds with a loon flying to the east over M-77. As we start down the entrance road a Pileated woodpecker flew across the road. An osprey is sitting in a tall pine nowhere near the water. Interesting.
The two geese families are on F Pool. A snipe is calling in the marshes.
We take the Marshland Drive where the eagle is in the tall pine and at least one of the eaglets is up and about.
The trumpeter swan and the loon are still on their nest on E Pool. Sand hills are on the east end of C marsh.
There is a sand hill in the marsh near the E-C spillway. It is acting hyper, pulling at the grasses. Possibly tending a nest hidden behind a clump of scrub brush. Behind it on C Pool is our pair of loons. Scoping out the possibility of a new nest area? A loon flies over C to E. Yeah! An American bittern just flew out of the grasses near the spillway. There are two more sand hills farther down the marsh. Possible confrontation?
Yep we hear a ruckus after we move on down the road. The loons are on E Pool near the swan observatory but not on their nest.??
Another pair of sand hills are on the west end of C marsh. Trumpeter swans are on the end of E Pool with four cygnets.
The loon is still on its nest with its mate nearby. And the osprey flew to the nest where its mate is waiting on the nest.
Yeah! There is Great Blue heron on a dead tree in the middle of C Pool!! There are lots of trumpeter swan on the drained B Pool farther back where there is still water.
Canadian family on the small pool where a lone loon is calling as a pair of sand hills fly over. We end this trip at 12:30. And head back for a little lunch and to catch up on my journaling.
We took our second trip through at 3:00. It is still overcast but warmer 58 degrees.
Ringnecks still on the pool in front of the Visitors Center.
The two geese families are in their usual spot on F Pool. Two beavers swimming together on F Pool.
We took the Fishing loop where an osprey was flying. When we looked again the osprey was chasing and hassling an eagle. It was so cool the eagle would do a flip with talons up. They did that as long as we good see them.
There is a lone loon on H Pool. We have never seen a loon on that pool before. Interesting.
Also a lone sand hill flew onto an island on H pool where a grebe was hiding in the sweet grass and a muskrat was gathering the sweet grass.
A harrier flew out of the marshes of H and disappeared over J marsh. The eagle is flying over the west end of E Pool where the osprey is still is hassling it.
The trumpeter swan is still on the nest in G Pool but her mate is way to the south end of G Pool. She must have said, “get out of my face. Your aggressive behavior toward others is making me nuts”.
The two loon are on the farthest side of G Pool. Muskrat with his mouth full of sweet grass on G Pool, too.
The loon on D Pool is still on the nest with her mate out in front of her. And the osprey is on the nest to the left of loon observation deck.
Two male wood ducks on the back side of C Pool at the west end. The eagle is at the eagle nest observation deck where the osprey made a couple of attempts at knocking it out of the tree. Sweet!!
A red-tail is flying over the east end of C Pool where two pied billed grebes are. The lone loon is at his usual spot to the end of C Pool, too. Also the goose family is lounging on the banks at the end of C Pool. The eagle is flying back over C pool to E pool.
As we are leaving the Refuge the red-tail hawk is sitting in the same tree as when we went in near the exit road to the Refuge on M-77. We left at 5:30. We hope to make another run through later if the sky clears out a little.
It finally started to clear off about 8:30pm. So we decided to take a quick run through again. The show pond trumpeter swan are both on their nests.
As we start down the entrance road a grouse almost runs into us. I am able to shoot off a couple of good shots before it wanders back into the foliage.
At the entrance of the Marshland Drive on F Pool there is an industrious beaver hauling a big limb of foliage to his den.
The two geese families also greet us as we enter the drive.
The eagle is sitting sentential in the tall tree keeping an eye on its sleeping babies. The trumpeter swan and loon are still on their nest. There are sand hills across in the marsh. The loon’s mate is at the southeast end of E Pool. There is also a ring neck couple at that end of E.
Beavers and muskrats are busy on every pool in the Refuge. Sandhills are midway in the C marsh. As we drive further down our E Pool loon are gliding along with the family of trumpeter swan of five babies not the three or four we though earlier.
Then on the island nearby ‘Junior’ a two year old eagle is perched in a dead tree watching over the west end of E Pool. We feel sure it is the eaglet we banded two years ago. We don’t think the adult eagles would tolerate any other eagle that close to the current nest. Even then they don’t usually tolerate ANY eagles being that close.
There is a pair of ring necks on C Pool. Our C Pool loons are near the shore as the sun is setting a beautiful reddish pink. Toward the end of C is a pair of trumpeter swan and a lone male wood duck that took off the minute we saw him.
We end the drive at 9:45 pm. It was a pleasant end of a gloomy day.
June 8, 2009
We woke up to a red sun in the east at 6:00. You know what they say, ‘red sun in morning sailor take warning’. Well we thought we would take a chance. Hoping that we might catch a fraction of sunlight.
Shortly after we got to the Refuge the clouds over took any chance of sunshine for the day. Michael was excited to see fresh coyote scat on the entrance road. There was also a bunny and a ruffed grouse to welcome us.
The geese are up and about trying to keep their young together while they find their breakfast. The beavers and muskrats are still busy this morning.
The eagle is in the tall pine watching over the still sleeping eaglets. A lone loon flies over E Pool to the west. The trumpeter swan are congregated on E Pool. Some are flying from one pool to the next and back again. I guess it’s morning exercise time.
There are a few wood ducks on the start of E Pool via the Fishing Route. The loon is still on H Pool from yesterday.
The loons are on G Pool but not close. There is a doe in the marshes on E Pool.
D Pool loon is still on the nest but she appeared to have company. Three single loons were there. We thought one might be her mate but no. Her mate came from behind the island. We thought there might be a confrontation but …no. The loons really didn’t do much of anything but flew off separately.
The trumpeter swan with the first cygnets have five not the original three or four that we thought. There are lots of geese and goslings running around. Some hatched much later and are therefore smaller.
The osprey was next to the nest on D Pool. Sandhills are across the road in C marsh.
There are five loons on C Pool where are pair usually nests. The pair still haven’t seemed to make up their minds as to when or where to nest. Not sure why none of the loons are chasing the others off their territory. Have to ask Damon when we see him.
The other eagle is in the tallest tree on B Pool across from the eagle nest observation deck. Down the road a bit is a single sand hill in the marsh.
I am beat so we are going back to the trailer to see if the weather changes for the better or not.
For more information regarding loons check out www.commoncoast.org. Damon McCormick works out of Seney National Wildlife Refuge as a loon researcher with this important organization dedicated to monitoring and protecting our loon population.
Seney Notes June 27, 2009
It is 46 degrees and partly cloudy at 5:30am. The north show pond trumpeters have four cygnets and the south show pond have at least three that we can see. As we enter the Refuge bunnies dodge back and forth across the road. A kingfisher greets us on the front pond.
The Canadian geese still have four goslings on the start of F Pool. We took the Marshland Drive to check on the loons at the east end of E Pool. We hear loons screaming and carrying on. There is a pair of Sandhills on an island of E. An eagle is flying over E ,the other adult is in one of the pine trees on the ’Eagle’ island where the two eaglets are still sleeping.
The pair of trumpeter swans that were nesting on the east end of E Pool have at least three cygnets. The loons that were nesting near by have two babies riding on the back of one of the parents.
An osprey is flying over E Pool. The eagle chased after it then the eagle actually dove down and snatched a fish . It went immediately into a tree near the nest and ate it all itself.J
The loon babies eventually climbed off their parent’s back. The parent then went and scrounged up a little breakfast for the babies.
There are also eleven unattached trumpeter swan at the east end of E Pool. In the center of E Pool are four loon. What happened to our nesting pair? Did they lose their young or wasn’t it a successful nest? We’ll have to ask Damon. On E Pool there is a wood duck with nine or ten little ones.
The loon pair on D Pool do not have babies either.L Not good. The osprey are still on the nest at the south end of D Pool.
There is a pied bill grebe with nine little ones. Both adult eagles are on the dead tree in the center of C Pool. There are also five loons on C Pool which means what happened to our pair that usually nests there?
Both adult eagles are flying around from C to B Pool and beyond. Taking a break from the twins? J
The loons are screaming around again. What’s up with that? Kingfishers are chattering and carrying on all around the Refuge. Our B marsh doe crossed the road to C pool to get a drink then back over to the marsh.
The trumpeter swan on C Pool have at least three cygnets. Oh my gosh! There is a black bear on the little peninsula at the end of C Pool. Michael takes a walk down the trail to see if it will try to cross there. But in fact it swam over to the backside of C marsh off the Marshland Drive. Sweet!
There is a loon on the small pool at the end of C. A female wood duck in the marshes and a Wilson Snipe on the top of a tamarack calling for a mate. We ended our first trip around at 8:20am.
We stopped at the ‘teepees’ for a little break. There were a pair of cedar wax wings gathering material for a nest. The wild irises and shrub roses are beautiful and prolific.
It is 64 degrees at 8:40am and mostly sunny when we start our second run through. The mother mallard on F Pool still has two little ones but for how long? The trumpeter swan have at least three cygnets. The osprey is flying over E Pool. We take the Fishing Route this time where there is a family fishing. A cute little boy about three or four is walking carrying a fishing net twice as big as he is. Cute!
The osprey is on the nest in F Pool with its mate nearby watching as it eats the fish he brought her.
There is a pair of Sandhills with two babies on H Pool. Michael was able to get some footage of them before they disappeared. A merlin is screaming over F marsh while a couple of Wilson Snipes are trying to communicate. As I take a walk the osprey comes back over H to F Pool with another fish for his wife. A Caspian Tern takes a dive right in front of me then a trumpeter swan flies straight over me. Sweet!
There is a female wood duck further back on H Pool also the lone loon is there. There are two loons flying over J Pool to E Pool. The female Harrier is flying over the marsh on H Pool.
There are lots of trumpeter swan on J Pool but none with young. The loons on J Pool though do have two babies. They are on the backside of J Pool so not quite as easy to see.
Muskrats are busy all over the Refuge, gathering their sweet grass. There is another Sandhill at the end of the marsh on H with a young that is half grown. Wow! It had to have been born really earlier. Lucky for it that it is still alive with the cold weather we have been having.
Our doe is at the end of H marsh where she wanders and is bleating/grunting. We thought at first is was a fawn calling but it appears to be her. Looking for her young? She meanders over to where we are filming her and comes right out to the road by us. She then saunters across the road and proceeds to swim across the creek to the island where she quits bleating. Curious. Is there a fawn there? For whatever reason, Michael was able to get some good footage of her.
So he has filmed a doe swimming and a black bear swimming in the matter of less than two hours.
Further down the Fishing Route a Wilson Snipe is on the edge of the road. It flies over to the water and then back into the tall grasses. While that was going on a male Harrier flew over the marsh on the west end of J.
There is a muskrat on G Pool but no trumpeter swan that had been nesting there. But there is a loon midway. Make that three loons. The one finally flies off to E Pool. The other two loons proceeded to swim along the edge of the Pool so that Michael and I could each get some good footage. Thank you for being so cooperative. While I was shooting the loons a Merlin attacked a small birds nest.
E Pool has a momma wood duck with nine teeny tiny babies. They are so fun to watch. Another muskrat is gathering more sweet grass.
The loon pair is still on D Pool but NO babies!L
There are trumpeter swans at the west end of C Pool with the ‘reddest’ heads you have ever seen! All the tannic acid in the water really stains their beautiful white feathers.
Further down C Pool is a momma grebe with seven chirping hyper babies. And I thought the wood duck babies were hyper.J
There are two loons on C Pool the osprey is flying over B Pool to wherever. The lone loon is still at the east end of C Pool.
Hey the osprey nest toward the backside of the small pool at the end of C Pool has an osprey in it and its mate setting nearby in a tree.
We ended our second run at 12:45. We decide to take a lunch break and siesta.
Seney NotesJune 27, 2009 pm
We took a break. It clouded up and sprinkling at 3:45. It is 72 degrees. The osprey is above the nest at the Visitors Center. F Pool loons, ABJ and his wife, have two babies. They are fairly good size so probably about two weeks old.Muskrats are busy gathering their sweet grass. The eaglets are both up and about. The female Harrier is flying over C marsh on the west end. The osprey is flying over E Pool fishing for his family on F Pool.
Another osprey is circling over G Pool. The D Pool loons are out by the large island preening themselves. The osprey ends up flying over D to the south end where its mate is waiting on their nest.
Yeah! There is a American Bittern flying over the west end of C marsh. Wood ducks are bobbing back and forth like the ducks in an arcade.
There are seven Pied Bill Grebes scurrying here and there, chirping at their mom to help them eat. There is a loon out in the middle of C Pool. One of our Eagles is on a dead tree on the edge of what used to be B Pool.
There are three more loons toward the end of C Pool where a pair of trumpeter swan have three cygnets.
Mr. Loner Loon is at the furthest end of C Pool. Another American Bittern just flew into the backside of C Pool where we had seen the black bear swimming earlier. The osprey and mate are in and near their nest on the small pool at the end of C Pool. They switched ‘egg sitter’ around 6:00pm with light rain falling. A lone Sandhill flew over to the north by the nest.
Finally a Great Blue Heron flying into the Refuge from the southeast end of Marshland Drive.
We decided to go back to Driggs River Rd. where there all we saw was a Sandhill, two small snapping turtles and a doe trying to stay away from the bugs.
A lone loon flew quietly over as two female wood ducks float around in Diversion Ditch. Then we went back into the Refuge via the Marshland Drive at 8:20pm 65 degrees.
Momma mallard and her two teeny tiny babies are being stalked by a pair of Ring necks (looking to adopt?). The trumpeter swan and cygnets are settling in for the night on F Pool.
The osprey is flying over E Pool where a beaver is busy . We watched a beaver on C Channel as he went back and forth gathering mud? Not real sure what but he went back and forth for a good fifteen minutes.
The loon on E Pool was out and about with their two babies but not within good photo range.
There are lots of trumpeter swan on the east end of E Pool. A gaggle of geese at the east end of the ‘eagle’ island. A beaver is swimming by with a big branch to take home to the little lady. There is another loon out in front of the swan observationdeck. More beavers all along the drive. Another lone loon at the west end of E Pool and there is an osprey in the feeding tree.
Wow! There are three ‘redheaded’ trumpeter swan on the end of C Pool. A new subspecies? Not really, it is the tannic acid from tree leaves that causes the water to turn rust colored.
Our C marsh doe ran across in front of us into B marsh. There is a male wood duck in a small pool near the road but, of course, flew off when we stopped.
Two does were wandering around the east end of C Pool and B marsh. The loons are at the end of C Pool where it is starting to rain at 10:00pm and 64 degrees.
Seney Notes June 28, 2009
We got a much needed rain last night. We slept in till 7:00am then headed out to partly sunny skies and 62 degrees.
We were greeted by the flapping of a female wood duck’s wings and the chattering of a kingfisher in front of the Visitors Center. F Pool trumpeter swans are showing off their three cygnets. As well as, ABJ and his wife and their babies.
The osprey from F Pool is fishing over E Pool. The eaglets are up and waiting for their parents to return with breakfast. A lone sand hill is flying over E where one of the loons is floating w/o young.
We took the Fishing route where a male ring neck is taking a morning dip in the little pool rightat the beginning of the drive.
A kingfisher just leapt from the bridge to capture a little breakfast. Trumpeter swan are at the end of the pool with one cygnet.
We have been hearing the Wilson Snipe calling for the last two days. We finally got a good look at one on top of a dead tree at the start of H Pool.
H Pool has three loons bobbing up and down. As soon as we stop to get some shots, the one loon takes off to the southeast. But the other two stay and entertain us for a while. The F pool osprey returns to its nest where a muskrat is diligently gathering more grasses.
J Pool has fifteen or more trumpeter swans. A pair of Sandhills are in the middle of the drive but fly off to an island on J pool when we approach them. Needless to say they do not have a baby.
One of the adult eagles is fishing from a tall pine tree at the end of J Pool but, of course, takes off as we get near. We then see some different bird at the edge of the drive. We approach it as slowly as possibly with out spooking it. We finally see that is a sharp tailed grouse. We had never seen one till now so that was exciting.
A male wood duck flies out of a small pool at the end of H marsh where our doe is feeding just around the corner. If she has a fawn we would never be able to see it in the tall grasses.
The male Harrier is gliding over the end of H marsh hunting for something to feed his family. The poor Canadian goose family that was attacked two weeks ago by the nesting trumpeter swan, are enjoying a morning stroll safely away from G Pool. J
An osprey is flying over G Pool where two kingbirds are attacking the poor thing. They have nothing to fear. Osprey only eat fish.
Yeah! Another American Bittern flew over the end of E marsh. The G Pool trumpeter swan are way back on the far side with their three cygnets where a pair of Sandhills are feeding on an island.
It’s a beautiful morning at Seney National Wildlife Refuge. There is a gentle breeze and 68 degrees at 9:00am, the birds are happily singing where ever we go.
The D loons are out enjoying the morning sun. The snipes are calling everywhere. I love to hear their call.
Trumpeter swans are sunning themselves on the island in front of the loon observation deck. The osprey is perched near the nest.
The ‘redheaded’ trumpeter swan is still on the C marsh. Our C marsh doe is out feeding. There are three loons on C Pool. Two Sandhills are in the middle of what was B Pool. And another single one is on the peninsula. Yeah! Another Great Blue Heron is flying over.
The female Harrier is flying from the Refuge to the east as we end our first run at 10:00. It is 72 degrees and a simply beautiful day. Thank you, Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
We started our second run at 10:20 am. The osprey is on the tree behind the Visitors Center. Trumpeter swan with their cygnets make a lovely picture as they float in the center of F Pool. There is a pair of Sandhills with a half grown baby in the marsh at the end of C marsh.
There is an American Bittern in the small pool on C side passed the Fishing Route. The two eaglets are sitting on the edge of the nest without parental supervision. We spot aporcupine waddling down the trail between E & C Pool.
The trumpeter swans are congregated at the east end of E Pool. One of the adult eagles is flying back to the nest where it quickly drops off breakfast for the young. The loon with two babies is floating toward the middle of E pool between the ‘eagle’ island and the drive.
There is another pair of Sandhills with a good sized baby on B marsh. Then a Merlin flew out of a dead jack pine between C& B marsh.Yeah! We have an actual Great Blue Heron in the middle of C Pool.It’s been awhile since we have seen one here. The first year we traveled through the Refuge six or seven years ago, there were Great Blue Herons everywhere we looked. We are always asking, why?
A female ring neck is surrounded by her nine babies. Further down the drive on C Pool, we discovered a lone loon. They aren’t generally back this far on C Pool(to the west). Michael and I both got out in hopes of capturing a few photos of him. I talked quietly to him and told him he was a pretty baby. He seemed to feel at easy with us. As cars went by he would dive below the surface. It was such a special moment for us. As I was talking to him, I asked him to preen for me and believe it or not-he did! He stayed with us for a good twenty minutes till we had to finally say goodbye. These are the moments that make what we do so very gratifying.
It cant’ get any better than that. As we end our second run through the clouds start to move in. We aren’t sure if there will be any more nice weather the rest of the weekend but we are so thankful for the time we have had.
Seney Notes 6-28, 2009 pm
Well, we finally decided to take a last trip into the Refuge tonight. It is spritzing and 63 degrees. Just traveling on M-77 there are three turkey vultures on a dead tree waiting for their supper to ripen a little more. Also a brown duck flew over and a pileated woodpecker.
Even with the gloominess there is a serenity surrounding you. You forget the gas guzzler you’re driving, the cell phone in your pocket and just immerse yourself in the nature all around you. Just breathe. Ahh!
ABJ has his family in the backside of F Pool. The osprey is in the big pine tree in the middle of F Pool. He just caught a fish and his mate is swooping after him. He lands back in the tree and proceeds to devour it all by himself. She goes back to the nest and screams and screams at him.
While driving tonight I stop to consider just how fortunate we are to be in such good health. And especially what a blessing it is to have healthy eyesight. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t express myself through my camera and share the passion we have for our Michigan wildlife.
One of the adult eagles is keeping watch over the two eaglets who have settled down for the night.
The male ring neck is still on the small pool at the beginning of the Fishing Route. Maybe his mate is nesting? A loon is flying all around F Pool not sure where he wants to go. There is a pair of trumpeter swans with two cygnets on the northeast end of E Pool.
The beavers are busy throughout the Refuge. You know what they say ‘busy as a beaver. I kind of feel that way every now and then. Or is it ‘no rest for the wicked’?
J pool must be the ‘singles’ pool again for the trumpeter swans. A few are in pairs and they parade around proudly in front of the ‘losers’.
The loon with babies are on the back side of J Pool far from the maddening crowd, so to speak.
Wood ducks are in the marshes at the west end of J marshes.
G Poolstill has the two loons along with the goose family who must have been given pool privileges again.
There is a pair of Sandhills at the west end of E between the two islands. We can’t tell if they have any young though.
There is a slug of wood ducks on the north end of D Pool where there usually isn’t anything.
My baby(a loon) is further down onC Pool then he was earlier in the day. He looked all around when I called him.
We end the evening with a couple of loons on C Pool, a pair of Sandhills on B Pool and a big fat beaver crossing the road. Hope to have a little break in the weather again tomorrow. But if not, we have had a great couple of days. And there is always next weekend. We plan to return Saturday night, the fourth of July.
Seney Notes June 29,2009
It’s a rainy Monday morning full many surprises as we stepped out to greet a new day. Mosquitoes!! Are they protected under any Federal law? J I hope not because we would be in big trouble otherwise. Just FYI the “Off” clip on mosquito repellent fans really do work. We have used two of them all three days attached to the visors in our vehicle. With our windows down 90% of the time, we were fairly bug free.
There were six ‘lovely’ turkey vulture on a dead tree(appropriately) on M-77 still keeping an eye on their future meal. The trumpeter swan on the south show pool are down to two cygnets.L
We stop in to catch up the news with Ryan, Karen and the other girls. It seems our white pelicans have called their family members(upwards of 30) to come up and enjoy the northern hospitality and eats. Unfortunately they can devour large quantities of fish in a relatively short time.
We finally begin our only run through for the day at 10:00. We are greeted with the screaming of loons on F Pool. ABJ is telling the two intruders not to even think about coming near his loon family. The pair of trumpeter swan still have two cygnets.
There is a pair of Sandhills with one small baby on the drive on the east end of E Pool. I tried to get a shot of the baby but the parents quickly herded it off the drive into the tall grasses. That makes at least five pair of Sandhills with six young three of which are already half grown.
As we cross the C/E spillway we spot a pied billed grebe in the channel on C side. There is mother with seven young in the reeds of C Pool. You can hear them chirping to be fed.
There is a single loon flying over the center of E Pool where the two eaglets are perched on the edge of their nest waiting for the parents to come back with food. We understand that the research team from Clemson University, Kendal & Walter, were here on June 14 to band the two eaglets here and the eaglets on C-3. Unfortunately we didn’t in contact with them in time to go along. But Ryan was able to go and take photographs. So stop by the Visitors Center and take a look. They thought that the eaglets on E Pool should be fledging at anytime now. So watch for a lot of activity along the drive as the parents start their ‘tough love’ training. The young need to be able to fend for themselves come winter. Survival rate is 50/50 that they will make it through that first winter.
There are four loons on E Pool near the swan observation deck. They started carrying on with their heads elongated skimming the surface of the water. Then one took off and circled back to fly over us to the east. Another one took off to the west. A Sandhill is on the island to the west of the swan observation deck.
Our ‘redheaded’ trumpeter swan is in the channel on C west end across from E Pool. We spotted a ruffed grouse on a pine branch along the drive. An American Bittern was flying around in the marsh on B. There is momma ringneck duckt with her nine little ones on C Pool. There are also three loon midway on C Pool doing a little aggression bobbing. We noticed five white pelicans toward the south side of what is left of B Pool.
Another American Bittern just flew across the small pool at the end of C where a lone loon had just crossed.
Another ruffed grouse is on a tree on the B side of the drive eating. They must like the rain. This is the second one today that we have seen. We also had a Great Blue Heron fly into the Refuge as we were leaving around 12:30.
Seney Notes 7-4-2009 evening
We made it up in time to make a quick run through the Refuge. It is a picture perfect day. Sunny 73 degrees!!
The trumpeter swan on the North Show Pool still have 3 cygnets. There is a pair of Sandhills with a halfgrown chick on the South Show Pool. One of the parents is banded. We were able to get a few shots off before they went over the hill into the tall grasses.
The goslings are all getting there distinctive markings and are almost as big as their parents.
There are three loons on F Pool NW corner doing their bobbing up and down. Where is ABJ and family?
Trumpeter swan with two cygnets are on E Pool. Mister Beaver et al are busy where ever you look. There is a single Sandhill in the east end of C marsh.
The loon family is past the C-E spillway on E Pool. The babies are floating alone. Another loon flies over calling. As soon as one of the parents hear that they pop right back up to the surface toward their young.
One of the eaglets is on a branch away from the nest with the other one on the nest. Are they fledged yet? We’ll find out tomorrow.
There are four loons farther down on E Pool closer to the swan observation deck challenging each other. There is a single loon in a cove on E Pool not moving or reacting to the two loon taking off of E Pool.
There are two Sandhill on the island behind the loon.
Loons are flying everywhere. There are two more on the west end of E Pool. It’s a beautiful evening at the Refuge. Who needs fireworks when you can catch the brilliant prisms of the sun as it hit’s the calm water?
A pair of trumpeter swan have four cygnets in the northeast corner of D Pool. Further down in front of loon observation deck is four loons having a little fun as the osprey flies into it’s nest.
There are two loons on C Pool. Seven Sandhills are in the muddy remains of B Pool having a little snack.
C Pool has a couple of beavers and a muskrat near the southeast corner with a loon around the corner.
We end the evening with a glimpse at a bear as he heads for cover at the end of the C marsh near the end of the Marshland Drive. Sweet!
Seney Notes Sunday July 5, 2009
We thought it was going to be a clear morning so we headed out at 5:30am. It’s 45 degrees with clouds slowly building over the northwest.
The trumpeter swan on the North Show Pool still have three cygnets. The swan on South Show Pool still have two. As we start down the Refuge entrance drive we are amazed at the amount of bunny rabbits out and about. No fox or coyotes in this part of the Refuge right now otherwise…
The little songbirds are waking up making a ‘joyful noise’ but everything else is still on ‘snooze alarm’.
The eaglets are up but no parents nearby. We take the Fishing Route hoping for some action. OK, a gaggle of geese is not what we are looking for. J
One of the osprey is in the nest waiting to be feed. Loons are flying over H to the west . Trumpeter swan have five cygnets yet. Good parenting skills. Sandhills are flying over H and land on a small island cackling as they do. The Refuge is starting to wake up at 6:00am. J Pool is full of trumpeter swan where two loon land on J Pool screaming all the way. Further down near the end of J Pool is a pair of ring necks and two doe come bounding out of the marsh.
There is a single Sandhill on the drive at the end of H/J marsh. It of course flies away as we approach it.
An osprey is fishing over G Pool. But otherwise it is quiet, quiet, quiet except for the occasional songbirds.
There are two loons at the east end of G Pool just hanging out. An osprey is on the feeding tree at the west end of E Pool. A pair of Sanhdills are across D Pool to the west with one loon and a male wood duck near the loon observation deck.
Yeah! Finally the sun is coming out from behind the clouds. The wind is picking up which is helping to clear out the clouds. The pair of trumpeter swan have four cygnets. And there is a single loon on the small pool at the end of C Pool with an osprey in the nest.
We decide to take a quick break at the teepees on M-77 where we discover our Sandhills and chick at the edge of the park. We decide to follow them as they graze along the South Show Pool drive. I get up on the tailgate as Michael drives, stopping andfilming as he goes. We shoot them for over forty five minutes. They finally decide to turn back the way they came so we continued back to the Refuge for another run through.
The baby loons are on F Pool with one parent who decides to take off leaving the young as they float behind an island.
We take the Marshland Drive this time through. Trumpeter swan are on E Pool with two cygnets while two loon fly over E as they do our E Pool loons with young send out a challenging call.
We catch a glimpse of an American Bittern as it flies into the E side of C marsh. Mom and dad eagles must be out fishing.The one eaglet is still out at the end of a branch where he is flopping and flapping his wings trying out their strength. Michael films them off and on for forty-five minutes.
There are two loons in front of us bobbing around. One takes off but not sure where the other one went. L
An Osprey is finding on E Pool while the eaglets went back into their nest for a siesta. That was short lived as one of the parents brings backa meal then flew off toward C Pool.
There is a doe swimming off an island on E Pool where there is a lone loon further down.
It is clear and beautiful day at 10:30 68 degrees. There is one loon on D Pool. Two loons are midway on C Pool with a Great Blue in the grasses at the end of C Pool. An osprey is in the nest in the small pool.
We decide to eat a bit of lunch at the teepees and take another run through before clouds move back in.
So we shot a few more pics of the Sandhills and young along the South Show Pool. It is 71 degrees as 12:00pm.
The loon family is on F Pool a little ways out with the babies bouncing around trying out their diving techniques as mom and dad feed them a little brunch.
The drive is very busy now with visitors. We don’t usually go through at this time because we know the wildlife takes it easy in the heat of the day. But we had thought it was going to cloud up which happily it didn’t.
So we make a quick trip and note the few critters that are out and about. The F Pool osprey are screaming for food. One of the eagle parents snatches up a fish and takes it up to the young in the nest.
People are out fishing and picnicking on this beautiful Holiday Sunday.
J Pool is full of trumpeter swan with a doe across the Pool running through the edge of the water trying to lose some bugs. Caspian Terns are squawking around one of the islands.
A single parent Sandhill and it’s young are on the knob in the middle of G marsh. There is a mature eagle soaring over G Pool being harassed by a seagull. It takes a dive but we don’t see where it ended up.
There is also a porcupine in a tree across the pool.
The single Sandhill we saw earlier went into the west end of E marsh where a pair of trumpeter swan with their four cygnets along with a ring neck with eight babies.
As we end our drive there is a great blue on the South Show Pool and the trumpeter swan on the North Show Pool show off their three cygnets.
Seney Notes July 5, 2009 pm
We made a quick go-round at 4:00. We had thought about going to Munising but the too much traffic for my nervous to take.
It is 75 degrees, sunny but real windy. F Pool loon family was out midway amongst the islands.
Nothingout of the ordinary. The most exciting thing was that the C Pool loon couple had settle in a cove away from the strong winds. When we stopped to take a few pictures they were sleeping. The one woke up to investigate what we were up to. I talked to him to tell him everything was alright. He just stayed close and finally went back to sleep. Sweet, we have never been able to get that close to this pair.
We came back in for our last run of the day at 7:30pm. On our way to the Refuge we spotted a female Harrier working the ditch banks along M-77 so we turned around to get a better look. She was sitting on a two track but spooked and flew off. But we got a good look at her. She was gorgeous pearl gray. I can’t wait till I can capture her photograph.
The Sandhill family was still working along the South Show Pool past the teepees. It was nice because a few people were able to get a good photo op.
We took the Fishing Route where we could see one of the adult eagles in the nest with the two eaglets. There was also a beautiful Great Blue Heron right near the shore on E Pool past the F-E spillway.
H Pool has a loon back on it. Beyond the pool in the H marsh is a Great Blue Heron in a dead tree.
J Pool baby loons and one parent are near the drive which is so not usual. We watch the parent feed them for awhile. The whole pool is full of trumpeter swan.
The sun is starting to be gobbled up by a bank of clouds at 8:45pm but amazingly it stayed out the rest of the evening. There were a number of vehicles using the drive. We caused a traffic jam while we photographed and filmed a young bear in B marsh. It was sitting on its haunches when we saw him. I managed a few shots and so did Michael before we were eaten up by the bugs. I can’t imagine what the poor bear was dealing with as he turned around and sauntered back the other way into the tall grasses.
This makes the second evening in a row that we saw bear here on the Refuge. And it makes three we have seen since last week. Sweet!!
Seney Notes July 6, 2009
We headed out to the Refuge at 7:am to mostly clear skies and 41 degrees. Yesterday we went in earlier but not ‘everyone’ was up due to clouds and cool temps. The wildlife seemed to be more active around 7:30am.
We were greeted at the teepees with a Great Blue Heron in the tall grasses on North Show Pool. We had just commented on how there used to always be Great Blues in the show pools.
On the entrance drive there was only a lone bunny rabbit. The start of F Pool had a lone male wood duck in the cattails. The ABJ loon family was gathered for breakfast in the first cove on F Pool.
The eaglets are up and the Sandhills are cackling as we start down the Fishing Route. Further down on F Pool is a pair of trumpeter swan with two cygnets along with a Great Blue Heron blending in to the backdrop of a dead tree. All of a sudden the male trumpeter took off after an intruding trumpeter. They had a little. The intruder stood his ground but didn’t go near the family of swans. In the background theyoung osprey are crying to be fed.
It’s been a long time since I have been able to get a good photo of a Great Blue. This is the second day in a row that I have. Sweet!
The pair of trumpeter swan on H Pool have the largest number of surviving cygnets so far, five. Toward then edge of the pool on dead tree wasa Wilson Snipe calling for a mate. Michael and I were both able to capture some good footage of it.
At the end of H marsh our doe was wandering around trying to escape the bugs. When we got close to her she practically came up to the window of the truck. She did that last week when we filmed her. But she definitely didn’t have a fawn. We have seen a fawn with any of the deer we have seen in the past few weeks.
A pair of Sandhills were in the drive as we continued toward G Pool. They flew up and over our truck then back around to where they had been.
It is starting to rain and clouding up fast.L A male wood duck flew over us on his way t G Pool where a lone loon and trumpeter swan with four cygnets were.
A Wilson Snipe flew out of the reeds on the west end of E Pool. Further down the first cygnet to be born on the Refuge this spring were showing off for the visitors. They still have four.
Both of the loons are on D Pool nearer the shore and the loon observation deck which is alwaysnice for the people traveling through the Refuge.
C marsh doe was out eating and also another doe was further down across the pool in the water. “My” loon was in the same spot he was last weekend. We stopped and I said ‘hi’ to him.J
C Pool loons are back over in the cove while another loon flying over C to E Pool. There is also a male and female wood ducks further in to the cove. Of course, this time we stop they don’t fly off right away. If it had been good lighting and I had wanted a picture, they would have immediately flown off.
We hear a Wilson Snipe in the B marsh. And a couple of deer wander off the road down into the marsh at the end of the Marshland Drive. We head back to the trailer at 9:30 59 degrees. I need a little R & R before heading backin or home depending on the weather. Michael is going to visit Claudia, Ryan and the girls. And see if he can get a hold of Greg McClelland about some Refuge business.
Seney Notes July 11, 2009 evening
Got up here with plenty of time to make a run through at 8:00pm. It is a gorgeous night breezy and 65 degrees.The trumpeter swan are on the North Show Pool but can’t see how many cygnets they still have.
Wow!! There is a lone loon on the South Show Pool. We have never seen one out here before. That’s a nice way to greet visitors. J
F Pool has a gaggle of geese on it. Terns are flying around and the trumpeter swan still have two cygnets.
We take the Fishing Route where the trumpeter swan on F Pool have two cygnets. Big Daddy swn took off after the poor gaggle of geese clear back on the other end of F Pool. Whatever!
The osprey is in the nest with the young. There is a lone loon still on H Pool where also a Great Blue Heron is fishing at the of an island . The trumpeter swan still have five cygnets. Yeah!That means the eagles must be catching lots of fish to feed their growing eaglets.
On J Pool young terns are squabbling and carrying on while all the single trumpeter swan are sleeping with their heads tucked under their wings. There is a pied-bill grebe at the marshy end of J Pool.
There are two beaver at the end of H marsh. One is out of the water gathering fern. It then takes it down to the other beaver in the water and they ‘kiss’. Sweet.
There is fresh bear scat on the drive betweenJ Pool and G Pool. Then on G Pool is the two loon and trumpeter swan with four cygnets.
There is a loon calling on E Pool with on flying over G Pool. One of the osprey flew over the west end of E Pool.
The trumpeter swan on D Pool still have four cygnets along with two, no make that four, loons that are bobbing up and down for attention.
The west of C is very quiet. There are a few wood ducks, trumpeter swan and a grebe family midway down the Pool.
A Great Blue Heron is flying over B marsh kaleidoscope of confusion at the end ofC/B. Snipes are calling, loon is wailing and Sandhills are flying. that’s the way to end a beautiful evening as the sunsets on Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Not done yet there are two Sandhills spending the night at the teepees on M-77.
Seney Notes July 12, 2009 6:20am
It’s a partly cloudy day and 42 degrees. Still a little early for the sleeping critters. The lone loon is still on the South Show Pool.
The osprey is on the nest at the Visitors Center. A few wood ducks and geese are at the start of F Pool
We take the Fishing Route this morning where we can see one of the eaglets on the edge of the nest the other one must be sleeping yet. An osprey flew over us to thetrees near the nest. Another osprey flew low along EPool to the west. A momma ring neck has six little one on H Pool where the trumpeter swan still have their five cygnets.
A loon is flying over to E Pool. An American Bittern is in the marsh end of H Pool. Four loons are flying off of J Pool to the west.J Pool is full of trumpeter swan still sleeping.
G Pool has a couple of loons on it but not much else.There is another American Bittern at the west side of E Pool. I was able to get a few shots off before it flew but lighting was not really in my favor.
There is a pair of Sandhills in D Marsh which we were watching when out of nowhere came a third year bald eagle. Sweet! Then we discover six loon on D Pool but they all took off shortly after we stopped to film them. L
There is a doe in B marsh, a few wood ducks on C Pool along with a few young Pied- Bill Grebes.There is a single Sandhill flying over C to B. The two loons are bobbing around with an osprey flying over.
Three very quiet loons flew over C. Two circled back and landed. The other loon landed at the end of C Pool where a few wood ducks were. A Wilson Snipe is calling on the east end of B marsh. There is another loon on the small pool at the end of C.
We ended the run at 8:30am and it is 58 degrees.
We stopped at the teepees for a little break before starting our second run at 8:50. It is now mostly sunny. The South Show Pond trumpeter swan have three cygnets.
The osprey is above the nest at the Visitors Center. A snipe is calling at the start of F Pool.
We take the Marshland Drive where the trumpeter swan have two cygnets. The eaglets are on the edge of the nest. No parents are in sight.The two loon babies are on the southeast side of E Pool with one of the parents but out too far to get any photos. Another bummer year for shots of the babies on the parents back. L
Wow four Great Blue are flying over C heading north. Hope we will be able to get a shot of them. There are two Sandhills in C marsh near the C/E spillway. There are lots of geese and trumpeter swan around the eagle island.
Cool! One of the eaglets just flew over to another pine tree to the west of the nest. We knew they would be fledging soon. Now we know for sure. The other is in the nest going ‘no way that I am going to do that”J
Then the fledged eaglet flew over to a tree on the other side of the nest. His sibling is trying to prepare himself by flapping his wings and hopping around the nest.
A loon flew over E and turned to go over to C. Also a Sandhill flew over E to C marsh. More loons are flying around every which way. We waited for over two hours for the mature eagles to come back to the nest. But alas, to no avail. There is a loon out past the swan observation deck on E Pool. Also the first trumpeter swan to hatch their young still have four cygnets. An osprey is flying over E Pool where a loon just flew across. And we spotted a couple of merlin on the drive almost at the end of E Pool.We try to track a Harrier as he flew over the west end of C marsh but alas no luck.
One of the loon is on D Pool near the shore. It lets me take a couple of shots then drifts out into the center of the Pool. One of the osprey is by the nest at the end of D Pool.
Our loons on C Pool let us shoot them for about twenty minutes. That was so cool. They usually do not like us to be that close. Finally as we near the end of B marsh, we find a Harrier floating over the end of B marsh. We end the run at 1:00pm It is 69 degrees.
Seney Notes July 12, 2009 third run
We stop and take a lunch break at the restaurant in Seney then right back out at it. We decide I can work on the computer out on the Refuge as well as at the trailer. And still be able to enjoy the beautiful day and catch a little wildlife, hopefully.
No major changes on the Pools. We stop and hang out at the Eagle stop. An adult just flew out of the nest. Bummer,we missed them bringing in lunch to the babies.
We spot one of the mature eagle soaring as we come back around to C Pool. It was nice that it soared over near the eagle observation deck where a few people were looking at the old nest.
We spotted an unusual hawk soaring over the end of C Pool. We’ll have to check out Michael’s footage to see what it was. We stopped for a few minutes near the small pool. While we were sitting there a merlin flew with a little kingbird chasing it. And we discovered where the Great Blue Herons were. Three of them just flew out of the end of C Pool. Two headed east out of the Refuge. One circled back to land in a dead tree. And both osprey were in the nest in the middle of the small pool where a lone loon was snoozing.
We decided to go right back around. We took the Fishing route. Nothing out of the ordinary till we got at the west end of E Pool where the sun was shining on a loon. We got out to snap a little footage when a bittern flew right near where I was standing. The loon did let me get fairly close as I talked to it. Also the kingfishers were having a fight and flew right in front of me. But unfortunately Icouldn’t capture any of that on the camera.
The loon on D Pool let me talk before it moved away from the shore. Another loon flies over then circles back and landed near the other one.
Nothing else any different then when we left. So ended the day at 8:30pm at 62 degrees with the sun still up.
Seney Notes July 13, 2009
Headed out at 7:30am. It is a clear sun filled day at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
All the geese seemed to be out for a stroll. But not inclined to move aside for large motorized vehicles.
Loons are flying around. We take the Fishing Route where there are five loons on H Pool. We stop to try to take a shot of an American Bittern who is just visible over the tall grasses on F Pool. There is also a Great Blue Heron a little farther down on H Pool.
You can tell it is a calm day, unlike yesterday. We can hear Wilson Snipes call throughout the marshes.
We finally spy the baby loons on J pool tucked between two islands out of harms way.
G Pool has one loon and three tiny baby Pied bill Grebes and their momma floating around.
Our morning became more stimulating once we got to D Pool on the Marshland Wildlife Drive. We had seven loons parading around in front of us. They stayed within our viewing and photographing range for over one and a half hours.!!! Sweet!! A couple of them performed their ‘dancing’ on water for us. The lighting was spectacular and the water like glass. I got some great reflection shots as one by one four of them took off. Eventually, quietly two came back and landed right in front of us. So then the five of them continued to parade about till finally one by one four of them left the pool to its resident loon who proceeded to glide and dive in front of me till I had to say ‘good-bye’ until next time we are up(in two weeks).
Oh, during all of that, one of the osprey who have a nest on the southeast end of D Pool flew over the loons. He was trying to fish. Then he continued to fly right over my head. I got some great shots of it as it was looking down at me. Sweet!! Later the ospreys had a confrontation with some ravens. We are not sure just what happened.
We ended the morning run with a Great Blue Heron on C Pool along with a couple of pied bill grebes. One loon at the end of C with an osprey in the nest and one fishing over the small pool at the end of C.
As we were getting ready to leave the Refuge, a momma ruffed grouse and seven little one crossed the drive in front of us. Cute!!
We stopped to see Ryan and the girls. It was almost 11:00am by the time we got out of there. We had a nice chat said we would see them in two weeks. And promised to give Ryan a ride on our new addition(a swivel seat on the back of our truck). Sweet!!
We made one more quick run through the Refuge. The wind had picked up like yesterday and the dust was flying. We did get a couple of shots of one of the mature eagles fishing on a stump between the drive and the ‘eagle’ island. The eaglets we being passive until the mature spotted us trying get closer and went screaming over to where the young were. That got them up and riled but not enough to fly.
Wow the bittern are flying around everywhere. Is it because the wind is disturbing them or what? Well we know that they are finally back at the Refuge. As we were leaving the Refuge to head back to get our trailer we meet Pat and Karen heading home. It must be after 1:00. Neither of them saw us. We don’t think they really know what kind of vehicle we drive, a dirty one.
Seney Notes August 1,2009
Well we woke up to dark clouds and impending rain. So we turned over and fell back to sleep. We finally decided to head out to the Refuge around 1:00. It is now 69 degrees with a stiff wind blowing.
Michael finally got to put his “360 filming chair” together. A friend welded a bracing that fits into the hitch where upon Michael placed an old swivel office chair(with additional welding). Sweet. Michael is able to shoot over the roof of the truck and turn completely around if need be. This enables him to shoot and follow anything that flies.
Well he started by filming the two young loon on F Pool. They were floating around near shore at the end of F Pool where the Fishing Route starts. Their parents were drifting in and out from behind a distant island.
We followed the Fishing Route. There is one eaglet in the nest and the other in the tallest pine on E Pool.
H Pool has a flock of young terns screaming and chasing each other around. There was also a single Sandhill on the edge of the Pool who flew off to the north when we approached it.
The trumpeter swans still have five very large cygnets on H Pool. Also a pair of Sandhills flew off an island on H across to J Pool.
There are two loons bobbing up and down in front of the fishing pier on J Pool. We were both able to get some good shots as they continued to go back and forth.
And at the end of J Pool/marsh is a clutch of young wood ducks. A great blue heron and an american bittern flew over the west end of H marsh.
An osprey is fishing over the west end of E Pool.
Michael just radioed me to say the songbirds were not singing in the area we usually see Merlin. And lo and behold there was one in a dead tree straight in front of us. Then there was two then three no make that four. A male and female and two young Merlin were carrying on chasing each other. Supposedly Merlin do not nest in the same area year after year. But this is the third year there has been Merlin with young in this area. Michael was so stoked. He would have never been able to capture any footage of them if he had been in the truck.
There is a lone white pelican preening himself in the dregs of what is left of B Pool. He is surrounded by a flock of Caspian Terns who are enjoying the easy pickings of the Pool.
Our lone loon is still at the end of C Pool where he usually hangs out. A few wood ducks are around the peninsula where a pair of trumpeter swan still have three cygnets.
There is an osprey in the nest on the small pool at the end of C Pool. One osprey parent is in a dead tree to the far east of the nest and the other one is fishing nearby.
We finally finish the first run through at 5:00pm. The clouds are clear off some and the wind has eased up a little. We decide to take a quick break before making one more run for the day.
The second run we were greeted by Frik and Frak at the entrance of the Refuge. We hadn’t seen them yet this year.
Well, it was my turn in the chair but was not very productive. We did see the two young loon on E Pool but they were too far out to get any good shots. An osprey was fishing over the west end of E Pool.
There was still one Merlin keeping watch over the C/B marsh area. Our lone loon had moved over to the small pool at the end of C.
The best shot I got was of an american bittern in the marsh near the end of the drive. If I hadn’t been on the chair I definitely wouldn’t have gotten the shot. We headed out of the Refuge at 7:30pm.
Seney Notes August 2,2009
It is a gorgeous day at Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The sun is shining with not a cloud in the sky at 7:30 in the morning when we enter the Refuge. It is 48 degrees with a stiff southwest wind.
It is my turn in the chair this morning which was good for me. The first thing I shot was a pair of young Merlins just after we started on the Fishing route. They were screaming and chasing each other around.
Next we were greeted by ABJ and his family. They paraded in front of us for a while then the parents drifted away. There were six loons flying and screaming all around.
Farther down across from H Pool I spotted an American Bittern. Michael was able to get out and film it too. A couple from our neck of the woods was behind us. They walked slowly up to see what we were shooting. They were so excited to see the bittern. They said they would have never been able to see it if we hadn’t been in front of them. So needless to say Michael invited them to follow us.
We had a harrier off to our south in the H marsh but otherwise a quiet cold trip around the west end of the Refuge. When we got to G Pool we had a group of six loons but out to far to get pics. The trumpeter swan have four good sized cygnets.
E Pool trumpeter swan have three cygnets along with a momma wood duck with six young.
We had a Great Blue at the B/C spillway. There was another one on the end of B Pool where they are building a new road.
At the end of C Pool was our lone loon and also a Great Blue Heron in an area we don’t usually see them.
We ended our run at 10:45 and headed into the Visitors Center to see Ryan. He introduced to the Frables who volunteer at the Refuge. We invited Ryan to take a ride in ‘the chair” after he gets off work today.
We decide to take a break and go to DQ in Munising. We get back around 2:30 and start a second run. F Pool loon babies were up near the shore with mom & dad looking on farther out.
Our bittern was in the same area as this morning. We were both able to get great shots of it. It was clueless that we were even there. It finally got its fill and sauntered into the coolness of the sweet grass.
Meanwhile the osprey were soaring over with a young one screaming at its parent to feed it. This is the beginning of “tough love”. Soon the parents will be heading out for South America and the young are left to fend for themselves.
J Pool loon babies are also near the shore with mom & dad calling nearby to say everything was fine.
Not a lot of anything happening till we get over near B/C spillway where a Great Blue is fishing. It caught a nice size fish but didn’t seem to know what to do with it. It dropped it, picked it up and tossed it around. It finally caught sight of us and flew off with the fish still not eaten.
We get back to the Visitors Center where Ryan was waiting for us to get his “ride”. He said he was ready for a quick ride. He had worked all day and needed to get home to his supper. We took the Fishing route then cut back through to I Pool with the help of Ryan’s key.J We had a little chat then promised to see him sometime Tuesday. We decided to head back to the trailer for the night and see what we had captured for the day. All in all it was a very good day. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Seney Notes August 3, 2009
Woke up to an overcast day so we decided to head west to find the sun.J We did find it around Marquette. Amazing how calm Lake Superior was all along US 28. The winds were definitely coming out of the south for a good portion of the day. We traveled as far as Ispheming before turning down US 95.
We had not been through the area for at least seven years. Amazing the progress that is taking place in some of the area. Marquette’s lakefront has really been improved on. It is nice that the city fathers had the foresight to keep the lakefront accessible to the public. And they all have at least a McDonalds or a Burger King. Progress? Oh well, luckily there is lots of State and Federal Forests that prevents total “progress”.
We circled down to Escanaba, back up USF13 to Wetmore and then decided to take a quick evening run through the Refuge. It was a beautiful 70 degrees with a nice breeze blowing. Clouds of course started building back up before the sun could set.
There was lots of traffic through the Refuge. Michael was, of course, riding the ‘chair’.J It definitely stops people from driving right up close to us while we are filming. They are much more courteous.
We didn’t see anything till we got on the Fishing Route. There were two loons bobbing around on H Pool. J Pool loons and their young were split up and farther out.
G Pool had three loons strutting their stuff for a few of the visitors. It was getting too dark so footage and pics not too good.
There were lost of loons flying and screaming all around the Refuge. They couldn’t quite settle down on just one Pool.
There was a beaver trying to enjoy a peaceful supper of poplar on C Pool. While we were filming it the cars that came upon us kindly turned their lights off (as to not disturb the master as work ).
We were really glad we mad the run despite the cloud cover. It is such a relaxing way to end the evening with loons calling and gentle breezes blowing. Ahhh! And it doesn’t even cost a dime. I think it is better than any time spent at a spa. Nature’s Day(& Evening) Spa guaranteed to take away the worries and stress of the daily grind.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 4, 2009
We planned to start our day at Soo Juncton and the Toonerville Trolley to photograph the bear population in the area. Our hosts were kind enough to set up a blind for us. We have been trying to get there since Saturday but the weather just hasn’t co-operated. By the time we got there the dark clouds once again started to roll in. We had hoped maybe the clouds would break before noon but…
So we turned our truck and trailer around and headed back to that place we love even on a drab day-Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The stiff north winds broke up some of the cloud cover for us by 11:00.
The Visitors Center was very busy. A Merlin whizzed over us as we started the drive. There were several cars of people out fishing. It was nice to see so much activity.
Michael rode in his chair as a Great Blue Heron tried to buck the wind head first over F Pool.
Otherwise it was a very quiet day on the Refuge. Everything was hunkered down waiting to see what might blow in. As we were drawing nearer to the west end of E Pool I heard a splash of water. A loon had just appeared to have landed but I actually think it was trying to intimidate us while his family stayed safely behind the sweet grass and cattails.
A pair of loons showed themselves briefly on D Pool. But all in all the trumpeter swan, ring necks, wood ducks et al with young were nestled in the bulrushes.
Even though it was not a productive trip, it was a satisfying trip. It was definitely better than hurrying home to start another work week. So we decided to do it again. This time with me in the chair.J
Well the osprey were very active trying to quall the screaming of it mate and young on F Pool. A lone loon was bobbing in the waves on the Fishing Route side of E Pool as an osprey fished from overhead.
A pair of trumpeter swan appeared to be scoping out a future nest in the G Pool channel. One of them was removing downy feathers and leaving them in a pile in the bulrushes. Interesting. We will have to keep track of that area next year.
An osprey was fishing over G Pool then over E Pool and finally over D Pool where its hungry family awaited its arrival loudly.
There were three pair of trumpeter swan in a small area on C Pool. They appeared to be pairing up. Young love? Interesting.
Well it was certainly a day for the osprey. The ones on the small pool at the end of C Pool were raising a ruckus as one came in to the nest with dinner. And as we were going back to pick up our trailer at the Visitors Center two of the osprey from that nest were flying overhead.
Michael ended up showing off the trailer to not only Ryan but a couple of other interested visitors(men of course).
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 15, 2009
Hazy, humid and 75 degrees at 8:00 pm.The clouds are covering the sun. L A great blue and trumpeter swan with young are on the South Show Pool. The trumpeter swan with two cygnets are on the North Show Pool. A pair of Sandhills are flying into the Refuge from the east.
The loons on F Pool between the islands. There are three loons that just flew into H Pool and Michael was able to capture it all on film. If he hadn’t been in his chair he could have never been able to get it all.
The two young loon are on J Pool where another loon flew over. Quiet through most of the Fishing Route.
C Pool had two loons messing around and an osprey fishing. A great blue heron and a pair of Sandhills were in B Pool where they are working on the road.
And our lone loon is at the end of C Pool. At least we were able to get through the Refuge (even if very quickly) tonight.
Seney Notes August 16, 2009
Happy Birthday Michael!! It’s a hazy morning at 7:20 am. and 62 degrees out.
The South Show Pool has the trumpeter swan with four cygnets. The North Show Pool has the trumpeter swan with two cygnets. Frik and Frak are at the entrance of the Refuge to greet everyone.JThey then flew into the Refuge and landed on an island on F Pool.
Two loons flew over F Pool going possibly to H Pool. We take the Fishing Route where the osprey is crying in the nest on F Pool.
There is a Great Blue Heron on the tippy top of a dead pine tree in E Pool. H Pool has five loons on it. They are bobbing up and down. One shoots out of the water doing the dance. Sweet!! Hopefully Michael was able to capture it on film( he was in the chair).
There is an American bittern in the channel on F marsh. But it is not in the right light to get any good footage.
The loon familyis out in the center of J Pool. We are greeted with a sharp-tailed grouse momma in the middle of the H/G drive. She is trying to lure us away from her one young. It comes out of the tall grasses to find her. They wander down the road in front of us for awhile then she flies off and leaves him in the underbrush. G Pool is fairly quiet except for the trumpeter swan and their four large cygnets. A pair of Sandhills are in the marshy north end of D Pool where an osprey flew over with a fish for its family on D Pool.
C Pool is busy with lots of wood ducks, some pied bill grebes and two loons. B marsh is full of Sandhills, Canadian geese and a number of other waterfowl. A great blue is near the B/C spillway and another is in B marsh near the road construction area.
Two loons fly over C Pool where four female wood ducks are and the trumpeter swan with three cygnets are eating. Our lone loon is at the end of C Pool close to the shore(for the moment). So I was able to get a couple of shots of it before he moved away.
The osprey is on its nest in the small pool at the end of C Pool. Two loons are flying over us as we leave the Refuge at 10:00.
Before we start our second round Michael stops to drop off an order for Claudia in the Gift Shop and ,of course, to talk to Ryan. J
I decide to get a little exercise so I walked the first mile before Michael finally caught up with me. A loon flew over F Pool. Two pied bill grebes are in the first part of F Pool. I love watching them, they are like submarines going down in the water.
There are trumpeter swans everywhere you look on E Pool. We don’t see the eaglets in their nest. Maybe they are napping. The E Pool loon family is out near the C/E spillway. Further down there is a pair of Sandhills by an island napping.
Whoa! There is another loon family with one much younger baby farther down on E Pool. We will have to ask Ryan about this. We thought ouroriginal E Pool parents lost their young? We will let you know when we find out anything. The funny thing is they came right up to us. The one parent brought the baby close to shore where I was shooting them. The other one went down to where Michael had walked back from the truck to film. How cool is that?! A few other people were able to get some shots of them too. We were there with them for at least forty-five minutes. While we were there not one but two Bald eagles were perched in trees across the Pool from the loons. We feel that the loons probably thought we were the lesser of two evils. J
D Pool quiet with only the trumpeter swan and their two cygnets but two loon flew over on their way to who knows.
We stopped at the tall pines midway on C Pool to have a quick lunch.
One of adult eagles were flying over B Pool where at least eight Sandhills have gathered. We will have to keep track of this location for possible Fall gathering.
A lone female common merganser flew into C Pool where an osprey was fishing. Oh no, an older couple with a Georgia license has put their travel trailer in the ditch. Poor man I don’t think is wife was too happy with him. She was sitting in the shade with her dachshund. They had already called for a wrecker coming from Engadine. They have a place at Michigamie.It is 82 degrees at 1:15. We decide to head back to the trailer to cool off.
It is 4:30 overcast but still warm when we decide to take a last run through for the day. Before we get to the Refuge though we spot a male Harrier. I attempt to take some shots as we raced down the highway after it.J (we were probably going 35 miles an hour).
The loon family were spread out on F Pool but ABJ was near one of the young that was acting peculiar. It was “flattened” out and low in the water. We observed it for awhile then decided it was probably fine.
Nothing much going on till we got to H Pool where a Great Blue Heron got startled and flew off before Michael could get on it.
An osprey flew into a tree out in the middle of H marsh. Our sharp-tailed young was further down the drive but no sign of its mom.
The osprey is in its nest of D Pool where the trumpeter swan with two cygnets are still gliding around.
C Pool is getting more wood ducks, grebes etc. Two loon are in their usual spot on C Pool. We hear a Snipe calling in B marsh as an osprey flies out of a tree.
Whoa! There is a Great Egret on B Pool along with abevy ofother waterfowl such as green winged teals , wood ducks and godwits. Trumpeter swan with three cygnets at the end of C Pool. But nothing else showed itself to us from there on out. So at 6:00 we headed back to our trailer to plan our next move.
Seney Notes August 17,2009 We woke up to fog so we waited for it to burn off. We headed into the Refuge around 8:15. It has turned out to be a gorgeous day . Just a few lingering clouds floating around.
One loon is out in F Pool near the usual islands. Two loons are fling into F Pool on the Fishing Route side. Another loon is flying over toward I Pool and yet another flying over E Pool. It looks like it should be a good “loonie” day. J
A pair of Sandhills is cackling on an island on E pool. A pair of trumpeter swan have two cygnets on F Pool along with a few geese. F Pool baby loons are near the shore passed the F/C spillway. An osprey is flying along by us on E Pool. A pair of Sandhills are flying low over F Pool and land on the marshy west end.
The trumpeter swan still have their five cygnets busily eating on H Pool along with a ring neck family.
There are five good ole boy loons on the back side of J Pool. We decide to wait and see what they are going to do. One of the young loons is floating near the shore for the early morning visitors to see. The young terns are swooping and chasing each other. They are as noisy as any typical family of siblings.
OK three of the five loons are taking off. Yeah one of them flies straight over us! Both Michael and I were able to get some sweet shots! Now there are four loons flying all over the place. Soon three more come back to land on J Pool.
The baby loon is still just floating along the shoreline minding its own business.There is a great blue heron on an island in the middle of J Pool. Michael sets up one of his cameras to film him. It is cool how the morning light is shitting him. All of a sudden three of the loons decided to head out of J Pool to the east away from us. So we move on down the road.
On G Pool there is one lone loon and the pair of trumpeter swan with four cygnets. Otherwise it is fairly quiet. Another couple went around us and stopped passed the D/E spillway to shot a loon. I informed the gentleman that if they parked at the end of the Fishing Route and walked just over the hill that he could shoot the other parent with its baby. He thanked us and proceeded to follow my suggestion. That is half the fun of being on the here, sharing our knowledge of the Refuge.
A great blue was sitting on top of a tree but flew before we could stop on C Pool. A pair of Sandhills is flying over B marsh to the mud flats. And there are more loons screaming and flying around. Sweet.
There is another great blue in a tree farther down on C Pool. It flies over to the other side of a lagoon and sits in a tree. There are two loons around the corner of C Pool. One takes off and flies right over us. Sweet!
There are godwits in the mudflats where they are working on B Pool along with a great blue.
As we are driving we hear a loud clunk on the top of the truck. It happens again. I look up(I am on the chair) there is a red squirrel knocking down pinecone from a jack pine. He is biting them off so they will drop down to the ground. We have to laugh it is so comical.
Our couple stop to see if they can get a shot of it. The gal notices that there is another great blue in a tree a little further back. An osprey is fishing over the east end of C Pool as the other one waits patiently in the nest on the small pool passed C.
It is 11:15 and we decide to go visit the girls and Ryan at the Visitors Center and give them my report from yesterday.
We didn’t get back on the Refuge till after 1:30. We spent an hour in the Visitors Center which was very busy (yeah!). We got to talk to the couple we met on the drive. They are from Chicago and traveling around Lake Michigan from Wisconsin through the Upper Peninsula then the Lower Peninsula.
It is clouding up a little but still beautiful out at 80 degrees. We decide to take the Fishing Route again but I had a feeling we should go the other way. We checked out the eagle’s nest and discovered one of the young in a pine on the island. But I could hear an eagle screaming and discovered the other eaglet in a dead pine I knew to be on the other side of E Pool right on the drive !!!So don’t tell anyone but I backed up (not far-a few feet) and changed our course to the Marshland Drive.
We were first greeted by the east end loons with their two young. But the lighting wasn’t good so we moved quickly on to see what was up with the eaglet.
Yeah, it is still in the tree which we practically parked under. Michael was in the “chair” filming and I was getting a stiff neck from tipping way back to get some good shots of the “baby”. Sweet!! He was crying and carrying on wanting one of her parents to come and feed her.
She did eventually fly, soaring around a little before heading back to the nest on the island. We thanked her then moved on down E Pool. One of the west end loons with the baby were out near the shore on the last straight away along E Pool. Then a lone Sandhill flew right across in front of us to an island on E Pool behind the loons.
There is also an osprey fishing around the west end of E Pool probably to feed his family on D Pool. There aretwo loons on D Pool messing around but not close enough to get any shots. Lighting wasn’t good anyway.
Yeah, this time we get to the B mud flats we discover the Great Egret is still here at the Refuge along with great blues and Sandhills feeding in the same area. Around the corner an adult eagle is flying over C probably trying to find some “fast” food for the kids. J
The last thing we see is the osprey in its nest on the small pool past C Pool. We call it quits at 3:30. After a couple of calls downstate we decide to head to Grand Marais to see what we can see.
7:15pm. Making a last run through tonight. Clouds have moved in but it is really nice out at 71 degrees.
We are going to check out eagles before choosing a route. No one in sight so we head down the Fishing Route.
Geese are acting goofy, taking off and landing on F Pool and E Pool. The osprey is in the nest in the middle of F Pool while another one is in the tall tree to the east with the sunlight is hitting it.
There is a great blue in the F marshy area. The trumpeter swan with the five cygnets on H Pool are busy eating their dinner.
We can only see one loon on J Pool and a Great Blue at the end of J. We were surprised to see the sharp-tailed grouse back on the H/G drive. But this time there was two young not just the one we saw yesterday.
G Pool has the trumpeter swan with their four cygnets but then in comes a loon landing next to them.
Our little eaglet is spreading her wings. She has made it down to the west end of E Pool in the “feeding” tree. Hopefully she isn’t thinking about trying to have one of the cygnets below her for dinner.
I don’t think the adults would take to kindly with that course of action.
We have a doe on a hill in the west end of B marsh. She is busy trying to keep the bugs off of her, poor thing. The great blues have been much more visible this weekend. Tonight one flew over C pool to B marsh. Then another flew into a tree on an island in C Pool. There are two loons on C Pool where the beavers are busy, busy, busy. We even have a family of beaver at the end of C Pool working to gather “food”.Oh, and the great egret is still in the mud flat area of B near the construction area. The sunset was spectacular as we end our drive at 9:00.
Seney Notes August 18, 2009
Sunshine and a breezy 64 degrees at 8:00am. My turn in the chair this morning. If heard a snipe around the start of the drive. One of our eaglets is in the tall dead tree between F Pool and I Pool. She is easily visible if you know what you are looking for. The other eaglet is on the eagle island in the middle tall tree.
A merlin is swooping over F Pool looking for a tiny morsel for breakfast. The trumpeter swan with their two cygnets are floating blissful around F Pool near one of the adult loons.
There is an osprey on and by the nest in the middle of F Pool. Lots of wood ducks on E Pool near the E/F spillway. The male wood ducks are going through some kind of molt so they don’t look quite like their usual handsome selves. They will get their ‘dress’ mating feathers in September through June.
F Pool baby loons are farther out behind an island not like they were yesterday when theyshowed off for some of the morning visitors.
J Pool has one loon, no make that five loons. Three of them take off flying around and out of the area. We can still hear them calling but not sure where they ended up. One flew back in and landed near the two that were left.
An osprey surprised me and flew out of a tree to swoop down and catch a fish on the west end of J Pool. Further down a great blue heron is fishing intently as three female Northern Shovelers play in the mud.
It is all and all a quiet morning. Nothing visible on the H/G drive except a blue jay or two and a kingfisher.
G Pool is rough with the wind blowing out of the northwest. The trumpeter family is this side of an island out of the wind enjoying a snack. The four cygnets are really growing thanks to the protectiveness of their parents.
One of our eaglets is back in the ‘feeding’ tree at the west end of E Pool but before we get close enough to shoot her, she takes off(maybe because an osprey came screaming toward her).
The marshy start of C Pool is starting to fill up with wood ducks and an occasionally pied bill grebe or two. A great blue heron is on a dead limb on the “dead” tree island midway down C Pool. We couldn’t believe our luck, it was still there when we came around the corner to get a closer shot. Another great blue flew over that one and then they both flew off.
While we shooting the great blue we heard one of our eaglets screaming. Sure enough she was back in the same tall dead tree on the Marshland Drive as yesterday!! We hope she stays put till we finish this round.
Sandhills and geese fill the mud flats on B pool. A great blue is in his usual place in the corner of B where the construction is taking place.
On the small pool at the end of C Pool, an osprey is in the nest crying. Finally we see a doe in the marshy area at the end of the drive.We haven’t seen any of our usual girls lately.L
Well, we immediately head right back on to the Marshland Drive to try to catch our eaglet before she decides to leave. Oh no, the two adults are in the tall dead tree between F & I Pools sitting side by side. Looks like they are eating a fish. Hope the babies don’t decide to hone in.
Yeah! She stayed put in the same tree as yesterday. She was higher up so was able to get much better footage than yesterday. Besides the sun is shining off and on and the blue sky keeps showing behind her. Should make for some good pics! She turns around to get more comfortable so I move quietly down the drive to get a better view of her. She seems fine with that. She merely glanced down and continued to cry occasionally for attention from her absent parents. Poor Michael has to move the truck to let two cars by us. The first car didn’t care what we were shooting they just wanted to speed along. I am not sure why some people even bother driving through. They don’t realize what they are missing out on by hurrying through life. Sad.LThe second car was visitors from Germany who were very happy we showed them the young bald eagle. They loved the Upper Peninsula and thought it was very beautiful.
Well as the cars were traveling underneath her, I talked to her and told her that no one was going to hurt her. She cocked her head and continued to look for her family. At one point the other eaglet was soaring over her also searching for their parents.
Then it happened. She decided to take off but not before she swooped by me not once not twice but three times. My heart leapt with the sheer joy and exhilaration of seeing this magnificent young creature respond to my admiration. Words cannot express the sense of wonder and the thrill that came over me from this simple response by this wild untamed raptor.
Wow, everything else is just gravy from here on out.J Our west end E Pool loon was showing off its young. It was trying to teach it how to do a little fishing. We meet a couple from Jackson, Michigan, Charlotte and Tom. They were so excited to see all the trumpeter swan and the loon with the baby. They were disappointed that they missed out on the eagle but enjoyed seeing the pictures I had just taken. It is always nice to share the common bond that nature instills in so many of us.
Well further down the road we ran into a truck full of fishermen that we had seen earlier in the day. They were getting out of their waders etc. and pulling leaches off themselves. Yuck!!! The one guy had blood running down his leg. L Of course, Michael had to stop and ask them how the fishing went. There were three dads each with one son. The two younger teenagers got out their pike and Michael and I photographed them. I told them I would mention their names in my journal and post their photo on our website www.mcgillsnatureinmotion. I also told them I would see if the Visitors Center would put it on their photo gallery display. So here’s to Hugh Comben and Jack O’Shea good job guys. Hope you enjoyed eating your trophies. J The one man has spent five years in Iraq and his son has been in Afghanistan . Both are waiting to be called back. The dad was full of fishing stories but not the usual ones. His stories are from all around the world. His favorite place is the Philippines but he has also been to Thailand, Cambodia etc etc. His father owns the Buckhorn Inn nearby.
That is what makes what we do so much fun. You never know who you will run into but you know it will be someone who shares the common bond of nature.
We weren’t done yet. We trekked out to the end of the point near the B Pool mud flats where two Sandhill cranes and the Great Egret were feeding. I was able to get a few good shots off before the egret caught sight of us. Sweet!
Then further down the way at the C/B spillway a great blue heron was feeding with a male wood duck as a companion. It was a fairly cloudy day but the sun seemed to stay with us most of the time. What a gloriousand exhilaratingday at Seney National Wildlife Refuge. We so do not want to leave but we will be back next Saturday night.J
August 23, 2009
It is 56 degrees at 8:30 am It is cloudy and cruddy. L The trumpeter swan and their two cygnets are on the North Show Pool.
An American bittern flew out of F Pool at the startwhere ABJ and his young are feeding. The juvenile eagle is in a pine tree on the west end of Eagle island. There is a great blue heron flying over E Pool as two loons fly over F Pool. We are taking the Fishing Route with Michael taking the first turn on the ‘chair’.
In the marshes of F Pool is another great blue heron. Wood ducks and northern shovelers are busy feeding on H Pool. And yet another great blue heron is on the island in the middle of J Pool where a few trumpeter swan and a loon are feeding.
There is a great blue heron in a tree in the middle of E marsh. It is so nice to finally be seeing a few more of these intriguing creatures. The trumpeter swan family is on the back side of G Pool feeding where two loons just took off. And another American bittern just flew out of a grassy area not the typical reedy marsh. Interesting.
There is a pair of Sandhill cranes in the marshy area passed the E/D spillway. A Northern Harrier is swooping around the west end of C marsh but not able to capture it on film. L
There are three loons on D Pool where a great blue heron is wading and the osprey is crying in the nest. I love the sounds of nature in the morning even on such an ugly morning as this. We have seen a few areas with bear scat on the drive.
I think it is the same harrier flying around the marshy west end of B Pool. It went down for something and stayed down for several minutes. When it did come out of the tall grasses it sat in a small pine tree. It is a beautiful reddish brown. I am sure it is a young one by its actions and color.
Three pied bill grebes are on C Pool with a scattering of wood ducks bobbing to and fro. The loons are flying and calling but not settling down. The two C Pool loons are floating near the nesting area. Sandhills are in the B mud flats with various little other shore birds. We can see ‘princess’ on her throne that she likes on the Marshland Drive. Sweet! It is cool to be able to spot her clear across the Refuge from where we are. You just have to know where and how to look for nature.
The trumpeter swans have invaded the east end of C Pool. What’s that all about? Have they eaten all the vegetation everywhere else?
We discover more bear scat at the end of the Marshland Drive at 10:45 where it is still cloudy and only 60 degrees.
We started the second round at 11:00 but got stopped by a red-tailed hawk before we hit the Refuge entrance.J It was a juvenile who hadn’t acquired a fear of humans yet. It posed for us over thirty minutes but was disrupted when a young man and his father pulled up behind us and called out loudly, “what are you filming”. L Urgh!! Oh well, we had a nice visit with them and found out the young man was in the military and his father was wildlife biologist from Buffalo, N.Y. The young man would like to study zoology in order to work with wolves. He first needs to learn caution even his father said that. J We told them where they should be able to see the eaglet at. They really wanted to see an American Bald Eagle in the wild.
We stopped at the Visitors Center to say to Ryan and Claudia. They were extremely busy. Yeah! Gave them a picture of ‘princess’ the eaglet we had shot on Tuesday on the Marshland Drive. As we FINALLY start the second round we spy a merlin in a dead tree on the left side of the Marshland Drive. It took off over F Pool where ABJ(the loon)and his kids were floating.
Our ‘princess’ is in a scraggly pine tree in the middle of C Pool area just west and across from Eagle island.A great blue heron is in E Pool at the start of the Fishing Route. wood ducks are on the channel of E/H. one of the yound loons on J Pool is floating by itself. A merlin flew out of H marsh across to J marsh and landed in a pine tree.
G Pool has a couple of pied bill grebe. There is a young osprey flying and crying over D, G and E Pools hoping to get ‘someone’ to listen to him. The swan family is sunbathing on the beautiful banks of G Pool’s southside.
The two loons are on D Pool where an osprey is sitting by the nest crying up at the sky.As we venture on a pair of Sandhills is in the drive cackling at another pair that is on a knob in B marsh. Our juvenile eagle is still sitting in the scraggly pine tree.
Pied bill grebes and wood ducks are all bobbing up and down and in and out of the marshes of C Pool.
The two loons are further down in their usual spot on C Pool. Sandhills cranes are stilling enjoying the benefits of having B Pool drained back to mud. The great blues seemed to enjoy it to along with a bevy of other mud lovers.
The sun is finally breaking through. Wow, everything smells better when the sun shines on it. It is around 2:30-3:00 where we stop to watch some of the antics of the invading trumpeter swans. We decide to have a snack break. Of course, a young man from Ohio stopped by to see what we were filming. “Is it going to be on Discovery or National Geographic’s?” J We had a pleasant exchange and he headed on his way.
We had a break and then headed out for a couple of rounds through the Refuge. The sun was not cooperating with us this day. Nothing extraordinary happened but always enjoyable none the less.
Seney Notes August 24, 2009
It is 45 degrees at 7:30 am and foggy but hopefully will burn off.A great blue heron on F Pool took off before we could capture any footage.
We hear ‘Princess”, the 3 ½ month old eagle, crying from’ her’ tree so we change course and head down the Marshland Drive. As we turn the corner the east end loon family are our for a morning snack.
'Princess’ posed for us for over half of hour before trying out another tree to get her parents attention. So if you are driving down the Marshland Drive make sure to look up you never know what you might find there.
One of the west end loons is in front of the swan observatory. Wood ducks on E Pool scattered as simultaneously two great blue herons and two Sandhill cranes fly onto an island.
There are two loons flying overhead. The other loon parent and baby are just around the corner but not good lighting. There are six loons at the west end of E Pool where the trumpeter swan with their four cygnets are feeding. It is a noisy morning on the Refuge-sandhills, loons, eagles and osprey.
One of the six loons is moving toward where the baby loon is. I think it is the daddy saying ‘enough guys time to move on’. All of a sudden four of the loons take off then the fifth. Looks like the loons are heading to D Pool.
Yes, the five boys are indeed on D Pool make that six loons. It must be the D pool male. We watch them mess around for quite awhile. Meantime red squirrel is busy eating pine nuts. A hummingbird flits in and out around the wildflowers. And one of osprey young is perched in a pine tree by the loon observatory crying for a little attention.
Eventually five of the loons flew off but three later returned. A great blue landed in one of the pine trees at the north end of D Pool. Two loons left to the west. The last one posed a little went into the corner and flew off right in front of me. Five minutes later he returned to his Pool, the D Pool male.
The great blue herons are flying around. It is so nice to see them throughout the Refuge. The last few years haven’t been productive for them. C Pool and B Pool mud flats are good feeding areas for them.
Princess is still in her tree calling her parents. Loons are still flying around the Refuge.
We take a second run through. The sun is shining and we don’t want to go home. But we will be back next weekend hoping for at least one nice day.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 30, 2009
We work up to sunshine,clear skies and 48 degrees at 8:30 am. The baby loon is on F Pool near the Fishing Route entrance. We can see one of the juvenile eaglets in a tree on the Marshland Drive.
Sandhills are flying out of the H/E marshy area two and three at a time. At least fifteen flew out in a matter of minutes.
The beaver family we saw last night is still at the end of J channel in the sweet grass. We think they are training their young one.
Still more Sandhills flying out of the marshes. The trumpeter swan family of four cygnets is at the east end of G Pool not where they usually are. They must be expanding the young ones horizons.
D Pool has five loons on the back side of it. We decide to hang out awhile to see if they take off anywhere near us. They all take off to the northwest not toward us. But they circled back and flew right over us. Yes, patience pays off.
We hear the osprey screaming. When we finally locate it, there is a juvenile eagle being attacked by not just one but two osprey. The eagle eventually hightails it out of the area.
We move on down the road to C Pool where a few wood ducks are bobbing to and fro. Michael spots a Merlin in a dead tree on one of the islands on C Pool. Two loons fly over us heading toward B Pool.
Two trumpeter swans fly into C Pool and performed a dance when they faced each other. The osprey from the small pool at the end of C Pool is flying over B back over to east end of C where a great blue heron is sitting in a tree on the peninsula. There is a pied bill grebe, ring necks and some wood ducks splashing around along with a number of trumpeter swans at the end of C Pool.
There is also an osprey in the nest in the small pool. We end the run at 10:30 to clear and sunny skies.
We do a fast run through on the Marshland Drive this time. Before we get to the Fishing route turnwe spot ABJ and one of his young. ABJ was feeding the baby small minnows. If ABJ couldn’t see the baby he would call porpoise like till the baby surfaced. And vice versa, if the baby couldn’t see daddy it would squeak even more porpoise like.J
One E Pool loon baby is out at the east end of E pool. The adult and the other baby were further down.
Now sign of eagles this go round. It was fairly quiet. We think the wind was driving everything to seek shelter.
We take a break and come back at 3:30pm to sun with clouds starting to move in at 63 degrees.
At the east end of E Pool are one of the loon adults with its two young. A great blue heron is in C marsh east of the E/C spillway.
We thought that Princess was in her tree but it turned out to be one of the adults. It immediately flew out and soared to the northeast. Shortly after that the juvenile flew from the west into the nest tree where it immediately started screaming for attention.
One of the west end E Pool loons is near the swan observatory. The baby was further down the Pool to the west. When we reached the area, Michael started filming it. It was so cool, it started turning over and flapping its wings like it was trying to learn to fly. Yes!! Then we discovered six Sandhills on an island further down on E Pool. While watching them another pair flew behind them.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal August 31, 2009
It is frosty and 31 degrees at 8:00am. As we near the Refuge a heavy ground fog appears. As we start the drive a great blue heron flew out of the small pool at the beginning of the Fishing Route.Trumpeter swan are flying out of E and eventually swing back to come into J Pool.
A great blue is in the middle of H Pool where the trumpeter family of five cygnets is just having their morning breakfast.
The young loons on J Pool are farther back toward the middle of the pool. We startle another great blue heron out of a pine tree on the drive passed J channel. As we continue down the drive we are dazzled by the glistening of a thousand cobwebs, nature’s artwork, touched by the sun’s rays.
We stop on G Pool so Michael can do a panoramic shot of the still morning water. As he was doing so he noticed a great blue heron on a stump in the middle of an island on G Pool. On further inspection he discovered a second great blue heron in front of the island.
The morning was not only still but very quiet. An occasionally honking of the trumpeter swan or the sounds of the raven family having a squabble.
As we come around to D Pool we discover, of course, our five ‘good ole boy’ loons near the back of the pool. So we park our vehicle and again wait patiently for what is to come. While shooting the ‘boys’ carrying on and doing belly ‘dancing’ a group of Sandhill cranes fly over us. We were both able to get off a few good shots. Sweet. Back to the ‘boys’, after muchposturing four of the five take off. They fly away from us as we knew they would because the prevailing wind is out of the northwest. Birds always fly into the wind when taking off or landing. They did circle back but not close enough for any aerial shots.L
During all of that commotion, the osprey adult and young were doing some aerials of their own. They both eventually flew right over the top of us. Sweet shots!
As we are driving along C Pool, Michael hears a Wilson Snipe. It seems to be staying in front of us on most of the drive.
Princess, the four month old eaglet was in a tree on the south side of the drive. She was sitting very low in a fairly small tree. She must have been hunting or trying to. She flew off and eventually landed in a tree near the ’old’ nest where the Eagle Observation Deck is.
Sandhills are flying and cackling around the B mud flats. As we round the last corner on C Pool we discover a great blue heron in the same tree he was in yesterday. I think it is so cool to see them sitting in the scraggly trees. It makes them appear even more prehistoric then they already do. There was also another great blue along with twenty plus trumpeter swans in the cove behind.
It is 11:30 and time to stop in to say ‘Hi’ to Pat, Karen and Ryan. The girls got to see the ‘chair’ for the first time. I think they were impressed. Pat definitely wants to ride it, Karen’s not quite sure yet. They wave goodbye as we start our final round of the day.
ABJ and one of his young are out farther in F Pool. The E Pool east end loon with one young was near the E/C spillway. They were both taking a snooze. Sandhills were flying out of E Pool to the south. The trumpeter swans on C side were raising a ruckus.
As we meander down the drive, there is not a sign of the eagles.L But the west end loon with its one young are feeding near the shore so we could capture a few shots. The adults might all be gone by the time we come back up in two weeks. So I bid them goodbye and good health till next spring.L We are amazed at how quiet the second run is. We guess on such a beautiful day everything is just chillin’ out.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 13, 2009
We head out at 8:00 to heavy fog and 52 degrees. We are greeted by a pied bill grebe on F Pool along with trumpeter swan shadowed by several wood ducks. A Wilson Snipe flies out of the tall grass along the drive near the Fishing route.
A great blue heron flew out of small pool near E Pool where a beaver entertained us for awhile. The great blue heron flew back farther to hunker down till the fog started to lift. An osprey screamed from out of the fog to the north. Everything started to wake up around 10:00 which at that time we decided the fog was not going to lift.
One of our baby eagles is in the tall tree on the eagle island. Frik and Frak are near the E/F spillway in E Pool. There are some grebes and a couple of Sandhills on H Pool. A pair of Sandhills are along the channel on J Pool.
A mature eagle lands in the tall white pine in the middle of G/J marsh. A Sandhill is in the marshes on the west end of E Pool near G Pool. There is a great blue heron in the middle of G Pool with the trumpeter swan family. Everything is quiet even when it flies.
The adult loons have moved on toward their winter grounds. The young ones are left to work on strengthening their wing power before heading out. It is sad not to hear the adults mournful calls even when they are flying.
There are a couple of Sandhills on the west end of E Pool with some trumpeter swans. There are also two Sandhills on D marsh. There are grebes on D Pool where the trumpeter swan and their cygnets are feeding along with a couple of wood ducks.
One of the osprey is on a tree next to the nest on D Pool. We think that the adults have headed to South America for the winter but not sure. As we continue along we find a great blue in the reeds on C Pool where a parade of wood ducks are working back and forth. Further down a double crested cormorant is still on a dead branch sticking out of the water where we saw him last night. Strange.
We end the drive a little down hearted. The clouds have filled in with not a glimmer of sunshine.L
We try again at 3:00 to see what we can see. Michael stops in to see Ryan while I take a walk to stretch my legs. I walk as far as the C/E spillway where I stop to photograph trumpeter swans. One of the juvenile eagles is still on the eagle island but this time near the nest. Another eagle flies into the top of the tree. I assume it is one of the adults. But wait, it kicks the juvenile out of the tree. She heads across the Pool toward C Pool. We head down the drive to see if we could locate her. But before that happens another adult comes in and chases the intruder out of the area. As I shot the intruder I found out it was a four year old eagle not one of the mature parents. Interesting.
As we travel farther down we spot a merlin hunting in the C marsh. We also find one lone loon baby hanging out near the shoreline. I feel sorry for it being left all alone. We end the drive again but with just a hint of sunshine this time. It is after 6:00. We decide to go grab a bite to eat.
Well it has finally cleared off at 7:00pm. So we decide to give it one more try. Thank goodness we did.
The eagle was in still in the tree on E Pool. The one lone loon is further down on E but farther yet is another lone loon. This one must be our youngest loon whose parents kept hidden most of the summer. Well as we are watching the loon a great blue heron flies over us to land on an island on E Pool. As we move down the drive another great blue heron flies along the shore and out to a small island.
Oh my gosh, we were just wondering what happened to the second juvenile eagle when there she is in the feeding tree at the end of E Pool where two double crested cormorants are flying in circles deciding where they want to land. All of a sudden we hear a very loud scream coming from overhead. We discover an osprey with a fish flying over the west end of E Pool where the juvenile eagle is sitting. It heads back over us to D Pool and its nest. As the osprey swoops over us two great blue herons leap out of a pine tree on the drive by D Pool.
As we drive along D Pool another osprey comes screaming away from the nest where the other osprey is eating its fish. This one flies over us to E Pool to, we assume, go fishing for itself.
C Pool is full of wood ducks where a great blue flies into the top of a tree. The other great blue is practically where it has been all of today and last night. But it finally moves when a third great blue heron swoops over it. They both take off further down C Pool. Wow, there certainly has been a lot of action. But it is not over. As we stop for Michael to shot three beaver, three Sandhills fly over from B Pool. Sweet.
To end our evening we discover another eagle in a dead tree on the B mud flats. It isn’t one of the adults or juveniles or the four year old but a three year old (maybe Junior from 2007?). Hope this is a sign of what is to come tomorrow. We will see.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 14,2009
Fog finally lifted around 8:30. The north show pool had a great blue heron in the front channel. The south show pool had the trumpeter swans and cygnets. Sandhills cackling in the distances. It is going to be a gorgeous day. The sun is burning through with just a gentle breeze.
Groups of Sandhills are flying out of the E/H Pool area heading out of the Refuge. The trumpeter swan family is feeding at the front of F Pool. Daddy swan takes off after an intruder(or so the he thought).
We hear a loon calling! Yeah! ABJ is still here with one of his young in the little cove on F Pool. We were going to stop and grab a few shots but a fisherman disturbed our plans. ABJ’s other offspring is farther down near the Fishing Route.
Michael is riding in the chair so we take the Fishing Route. A great blue heron flies over us to E Pool. There is a pair of Sandhills on an island in F Pool near the E/F spillway. An osprey is flying low over E back to its nest on F Pool.
A great blue is feeding in shallows of H Pool where a Sandhill crane is also feeding.
J Pool has a Sandhill feeding between the two long island to the east. The two young loons are still here. One is practicing his take-off and landing skills. Two Sandhills are standing on stumps in the middle of J Pool. They take off and land near the other Sandhill between the islands.
There is a pair of Sandhills barely visible in the middle of H marsh. A Harrier is swooping over the channel on J Pool. I love to see them work an area. I want so badly to capture a close up of one of these beautiful raptors.
Michael and I both notice a great blue heron in the distance at the end of J standing sentry on a tree stump. We figure there is no way we will get close enough to capture it before it takes off. But…I s-l-o-w-l-y creep up on it (in the truck) while Michael is shooting video of it. I snatch a couple of photos then creep up a little more. We were amazed just how close we got to it before it got suspicious and left. We both got some good footage. Sweet!
The trumpeter swan family is still dominating the landscape on G Pool along with a few little pied bill grebes.
Our baby eagle is watching over the mud flats at the end of B Pool from a tall dead tree near the construction area. And the young osprey is flying over his nest area in the small pool.
We end the first run at 11:30. We make a quick stop to say hi to Pat at the Visitors Center and to drop off yesterday’s journal.
We hit the Marshland Drive this time with me in the chair. Actually I stand more than I sit in it.J
The wind has kicked up but it is still beautiful. The osprey is fishing on F Pool near the Fishing route.
Michael and sat and watched the trumpeter swans on the east end of E Pool as they cavorted around. As we do that, two great blue herons fly over from C Pool then back over the spillway of E/C to C marsh.
One of the young loons at the east end of E Pool is also practicing his swimming skills.
You know it’s Fall when you are too hot in the sun and too cold in the shade. Wait that’s what we had all summer.L It doesn’t seem fair somehow.
A single Sandhill flew over from C marsh to an E Pool island passed the swan observation deck.
An osprey is soaring over the west of end of E Pool hoping to catch his next meal. Our youngest loon is fishing near the shore at the west end of E Pool. I stop to capture maybe my last photo of him.L But maybe we will see him in the Spring. The male loons return to their birthplace to breed. Females come back to area 30-50 miles from their birthplace.
Five Sandhills landed on an island in E Pool. They are starting to be social and gathering in the evenings. They are preparing for the large exodus out of the cold winters to somewhere a little warmer.
Our Harrier is now swooping around D Pool where the old osprey nest used to be. The osprey is in the nest raising a ruckus as a great blue heron heads over to the marshes at the west of C.
Now the Harrier is over C Pool. He is really working the area. We are sure it is the young one we saw earlier in the summer.
C Pool marshy waters is starting to brim with wood ducks. Sweet! We will have set up our blind this Fall to be able to spy on their comings and goings.
Sandhills are in the mud flats on B Pool and the osprey is in his nest in the small pool at the end of C.
That’s it for this visit. We hate to leave. It is so beautiful. But hopefully there will be more migrating going on next week. We just have to wait and see. That is half the fun!!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 20-2009
Woke up to fog so we didn’t head out till after 8:00. There is a great blue heron out on the south show pool along the family of trumpeter swans and some visiting waterfowl we can’t make out in the fog.
Trumpeter swans on E Pool are carrying on challenging each other. We can hear Sandhills cackling through the misty haze. There is a great blue heron in E Pool past the F-E spillway and a beaver in F Pool heading into his den.
It is such a heavy fog we can’t even see H and J Pools except right next to the shore. We could just make out two pied bill grebes on J Pool. Farther down at the end of the J marsh are a number of wood ducks bobbing back and forth in the tall reeds.
As we approach G Pool, two great blue heron take off from along the shoreline and head west. There are a few wood ducks and ring necks floating along the north end of G Pool. A lone Sandhill is on a knoll on the E side of the drive. Before we get any closer he takes off toward the ‘feeding tree’ island.
The cobwebs are spectacular with the dew heavy on them while glints of sunshine hit them like shards of glass.
At the west of E Pool, a great blue heron is flying around trying to find that perfect feed place. Wood ducks, Canadian geese and Sandhills share the same area in a companionable manner. We hear a snipe calling at the end of G Pool but can’t locate in the fog, of course.J It is hard enough to find them in clear weather.
On the north end of D Pool is another great blue heron snoozing in the emerging warmth of the sun. Pied bill grebe and Canadian geese are also welcoming the sun.
As we travel down the drive toward the south end of D Pool, we discover not an osprey near the osprey nest but an immature eagle. Sweet! We decide to take a hike down the blocked off drive to see if we can capture it on film.
Well I got there in time to shoot a couple of photos. On further investigation we discovered it to be not this year’s juvenile but a third year eagle. We had seen this one last week, too. We think it might be Junior from 2007. It was an only child who had separation anxiety. You never know!? J
A great blue heron is still on the little of spit of land we call ‘great blue island’.
As we travel back down the marshland drive we spot two doe grazing on a shaded hill on C Pool. Of course, people stop to see what we are filming. As they did further down the drive when Michael was trying shoot a great blue in the top of a tree. But…
Farther down on C Pool another great blue and a couple of grebes are sharing space. Also on the B Pool mud flats are a pair of Sandhills, Canadian geese
We end the first run at 11:45 at 68 degrees.
Second run starts quietly with the trumpeter family on F Pool. We spot a mature eagle across the Pool on one of the dead trees.
There is a great blue flying over E Pool. He lands in the small cove on E by the Fishing Route. We stop to do a little filming. We have the great blue and a group of rowdy trumpeter swans. Across the drive we have a couple of brown ducks sunning themselves when out of the murky water emerges a nasty double crested cormorant to push them off. Overhead a flock of waterfowl fly over E Pool, across F Pool and keep heading north? After looking at my photos we discovered they were American Wigeons. Sweet.
One of the loon babies is floating off shore on E Pool but not close enough to capture.
We spy thirty plus Sandhills heading south. Out in the mud flats of B Pool is still pair of Sandhills and a great blue in the top of a dead tree. I love to see them in trees. They look so prehistoric.
We stop to film a trumpeter swan family of five as they feed near the drive. As we are shooting them we notice another duck coming closer to see if it can share the ’digs’. We thought it was a ring neck but it turned out to be a male redhead duck. Sweet!
We start our third and final run at 6:00pm at 69 degrees. A great blue heron is on the south show pool again. It is so great to be seeing more of them then what we have seen in a long time.
Another great blue heron is in the same place he was when we went through the last time on E Pool.
On H pool a pair of Sandhills, a few wood ducks, mallards and a whole lot of Canadian geese way in back where the Sandhills usually gathered this time of year.
There went a harrier right in front of the truck. I wasn’t quick enough to react to get a shot. Michael was on the chair so he was able to capture it swooping over H marsh.
Just when I thought the young ospreys had headed south, we discover one ahead of us on a dead tree on J Pool.
I don’t know if it is the same osprey but now there is one in the nest on D Pool. Hmmmm.
Once again the great blue is on ‘great blue island’. There seems to be a lot more wood ducks gathering along with ring necks and some that we couldn’t identify.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal September 21, 2009
It started to rain about 4:00 am so we made a point of not getting up too early. Still raining at 10:00 when we went to visit Ryan and the girls. The temperature was 60 degrees.
We enjoyed Pat’s homemade cookie bars and shared a few insights to our various personalities(including some politics). We also were able to answer a few of “our “visitors questions as to sightings etc of “our” wildlife in the area.
Two hours later, the rain had turned into a fine mist so we decide to take a quick turn through the Refuge. As we started out we encountered a few ring necks in F Pool with some trumpeter swan, geese and wood ducks. Across the pool we could see a mature eagle in one of the tall dead trees.
We decide to take a quick run through so we took the Marshland Wildlife Drive. Our great blue is still in the little cove on E Pool at the Fishing Route corner.
Our youngest loon is still here on the west end of E Pool but out too far in the pool to get any photos ops.
A little further down we spot a mature eagle flying into a small pine on an island in E Pool.
As we get toward the end of E Pool Michael spots a great blue heron sitting inconspicuously in a pine tree in the middle of C marsh. As we round a curve there is another great blue further back in another pine tree. They were both just hunkered down trying to stay out of the weather. At the end of E Pool the trumpeter swan family is entertaining a group of wood ducks.
Most of the osprey have headed south. The adults leave first then as they get stronger the young will head out on their own. We still have young left on D Pool. We spotted it in the nest where it was mournfully crying. It is so sad to see it all alone but that, as they say, is life.
As we continued the drive down C Pool, Michael spotted a large dark bird sitting on a stump out in the marshy area. As we approached the area via a tree covered hill, a great blue heron flew out of the marsh. We thought for sure the bird would get spooked and take off but it didn’t. Yeah!
As we started filming it, it stretched out its wing and tail feathers. I knew then it was a harrier! Yeah!! I think they are one of the most beautiful birds. The females and the juveniles are a beautiful brown with a pinkish brown belly, white striped tails and gorgeous marked eyes. They look very menacing with dark eyes and light marks above and below the eyes.
We got as close as we could without spooking it. After a short while it decided to take off only to circle around and land again. Sweet! After a little more stretching, another bird flew in from the west. A great blue heron came at the harrier and forced it off its perch. It flew around then headed to the east. Michael and I were both excited to have been able to capture the encounter. So even on a bad weather day, it is a good day in Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
As we continued our drive we spotted a couple of more great blues in C Pool along with ring necks, grebes and wood ducks. A pair of Sandhills were in the B mud flats as another pair flew in farther down near the construction area.
SeneyNational Wildlife Refuge Journal September 27, 2009
It is partly cloudy and 58 degrees at 8:45. Canadian Geese are honking and flying. A mature eagle is flying from E Pool over F Pool to its usual “fishing” tree. The “baby” eagle is in the nest crying hoping that one of her parents will feel sorry for her and bring her a treat.
The trumpeter swans are gathered around the south side of “Eagle” island between another bank of islands.
As we drive past the ‘eagle’ corner Michael notices some birds in the middle of E Pool. On further investigation we discover them to be three horned grebes. Sweet!! They are in their non breeding plumage of grey, white & black.
As we were watching them a mature eagle flew into a tall pine on the north side of E Pool. Also eight plus Sandhill cranes flew out of the west end of E heading east.
Our E Pool baby loon is still bidding his time till he feels prepared to leave his home. The trumpeter swan family of four cygnets are feeding nearby with a following of wood ducks cleaning up their scraps.
D Pool has a few wood ducks on the north end with a few geese and swans. The osprey is still here and in the nest crying. We find out there is a mature eagle on the island fishing. It takes off to the northwest in search of quieter hunting grounds. Meanwhile another osprey flies into the nest where the screaming child is.
The wind is picking up and it is feeling colder. Of course I am the one on the chair this morning. L
Wood ducks are bobbing back and forth in C Pool. Further down the pool pied bill grebes submerge as we get within filming distance. A great blue heron is fishing in a protected cove out of the wind.
We end our first run through at 11:15. We take a quick snack break and head back out at 11:00.
It’s Michael’s turn on the chair. It is 65 degrees and windy. One of the mature eagles is again flying over E Pool to F Pool to settle on its favorite ‘fishing’ tree. The baby is still in the nest crying. Whatever! Then the other mature heads over to the ‘fishing’ tree in F Pool. The eagles then sat and talked to each other. Cool!
A great blue heron flies out of E Pool just past the F/E spillway. As we meander down the Fishing Route we discover a pair of Sandhills are feeding in H Pool where another great blue heron lands.Our trumpeter swan family of five cygnets are feeding in the marshes of H Pool.
There is a cormorant in J Pool along with a few trumpeter swans, pied bill grebes and wood ducks.
As we cross the bridge further down the drive Michael discovers a great blue heron fishing intently.
Another great blue heron is fishing further down behind the island on J channel.
It is fairly quiet as we pass by the H/G marsh area. A lot of the songbirds have headed south. As we approach G Pool a mature eagle is soaring over heading west.The trumpeter swan family of four cygnets is feeding at the north end of G Pool with is wood duck following.
There is a pair of Sand hills at the end of G marsh. A great blue heron is on the north end of D Pool.
As we approach the end of D pool the osprey is still in its nest. I decide to walk back down the trail to get a closer vantage point to photograph the screaming baby.
I was able to get close enough to capture a few good shots without making the osprey too nervous. It did finally fly but it swooped around a couple of times so I could shoot it. Then the adult, which we thought had headed off to South America, came circling around to see what the problem was. Usually the adults just abandon the young by this time of the year. Interesting!
C Pool has a large of ring neck along with a great blue heron that just caught his lunch.
Geese, mallards and a couple of Sandhills are all that’s visible of in the B Pool mud flats. There is a Rough-legged hawk flying over the small pool at the end of C Pool. Then finally something in the marshes, a couple of young hooded mergansers. Sweet.
We headed back to the trailer for a bite of lunch then decided to head right back out. The clouds were rolling through but we thought we would be able to squeak a little more sun in before it is gone.
We discover the east end E Pool young loon is still here. It is happily fishing in the wavy water. A flock of ring neck swoop intothe backside of C Pool.
Our west end E Pool young loon is also fishing on its end of E Pool. Before too long they will both be heading out on their own before winter makes it impossible for them to survive here.
The wind gusts are getting stronger and it is finally starting to rain. Since neither of us is using the chair because of the dust devils, Michael decided to take it off before it got too bad.
We have a flock of geese ‘practicing’ flying together, not very well if I do say so. The numbers of wood ducks on C Pool seems to be growing. We see fresh cuts of trees from the beavers preparing their lodges for winter.
Our final interesting sighting is on the small pool at the end of C Pool. A female ring neck and a female hooded merganser are swimming closer and closer together until they cross paths and continue together across the pool. Interesting!
Well the weather is looking worse so we decide to take a trip over to Munising. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow. Our days are dwindling down. October 15th is just around the corner.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal October 4,2009
It is raining and 44 degrees. Looks like it is here to stay for the day. As we hit the front show pools we finding them full of visiting Canadian geese.
There is a beautiful male wood duck in full breeding plumage(again)for winter breeding in the south.
A ruffed grouse walks in front of us near the small cove on F Pool.
F Pool also has a flock of ring necks and Canadian geese are in F Pool where the trumpeter family is entertaining a few wood ducks.
The Fishing Route is now closed for the Fall migration from October 1 through October 31.
There are a lot of trumpeter swan in the east end of E Pool but no sign of the eagle family. There are more ring necks and Canadian geese farther down on E Pool where another trumpeter family is entertaining more wood ducks.
When we get to the west end of E Pool we discover not only our west end loon young but another visitor? We are not sure if it is our Seney loon or migrating loons. One of the loons dived under the water then came up in defensive position with its neck out flat along the water. The reason was an intruding female common merganser who immediately took off. The loon then just sat and posed for us. What is so strange to us is that the vehicle behind us didn’t if stop and acknowledge they saw it.
As we continue down along D Pool we note there is no ospreys, no eagles, no great blues and no sand hills. C Pool has lots of ring necks, Canadian geese and wood ducks even a small flock of Coots midway down the drive.
B mudflats are empty of any creature even seagulls. Strange. There are a few pied bill grebes at the end of C Pool.
We ended the drive with a stop at the teepees where we find our young Red-tailed hawk sitting in a dead tree. As we are watching him a great blue heron comes flying in from the northwest into the south show pool. Strangely it has its neck almost completely stretched out, not in its usual S shape. Interesting.
We take a break and headed out to investigate the Manistique River where to access and where to have another vehicle. We had hoped to take a trip with Ryan but not sure if the weather is going to co-operate or not. We will see.
We take another run through the Refuge around 4:00 it is 52 degrees and partly cloudy with a few peeks of sunshine. We are greeted immediately with a Harrier swooping over the Entrance Rd. heading south. Then almost as quickly a ruffed grouse flew across the road heading the other way. We have noted that the ruffed grouse seem to enjoy being out in the rainy weather.
The two loons are still on the west end of E Pool but further out this time. They seem to be enjoying each others company. We will keep track of them over the next couple of days.
C Pool has a great blue heron in the marshes who just caught a big fish. He is not quite sure what to do with it so he flies in a circle and lands on a spit of ground in order to eat it.
As we check across C Pool looking toward E Pool, we note a mature eagle sitting in one of the dead trees on the Marshland Drive. The sun is hitting its beautiful white head like a beacon. It is not the first time we have had an eagle do that to us(decide to land in a tree after we had already gone by).
Finally there are a few trumpeter swans back on B Pool. Also we discover some fresh bear scat on the last straight away at the end of the drive. There is also lots of crushed grasses around some berry bushes.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal October 11, 2009
Today is starting out like yesterday with sunshine and frost. But hopefully it doesn’t turn out like yesterday, cold and wet.
It is sadly quiet as we drive down the entrance drive. A few Canadian geese are on the pool behind the Visitors Center.
As we drive along F Pool a female wood duck flits along the shoreline quickly getting out of sight. A few more Canadian geese along with the trumpeter swan family are feeding in the sunshine.
Periodically we sight a pied bill grebe. We are surprised they haven’t migrated on. As we start around E Pool the daddy trumpeter swan takes off after something as his wife and children look on.
We finally spot an eagle, no make that three eagles, soaring high over the west end of E Pool. They soar higher and higher and further and further to the north. At least we did see them. Any day you can see an eagle is a great day!
The trumpeter swan family of four cygnets is feeding at the west end of E Pool where four black bellied plovers flew over.
As we drive around C Pool we discover that there are still about 20 Coots back near the marshy area. The trumpeter swan family of two cygnets is near the end of C Pool where a few pied bill grebes and a number of ring necks are feeding.
We took a quick break then decided to take another quick run through while there was still a \little sun left.
We did see a flock of widgeons flying over E Pool. As we were rounding D Pool a lone trumpeter swan flew low over like it wanted to land but the family of trumpeter swan were nearby. The parents quickly took off chasing the poor intruder clear over to G Pool then returned to D.
There were a few more wood ducks and ring necks feeding at the west end of C Pool. We were also noticing large numbers of robins gathering. We know that they will gather in areas where they can glean berry bushes to survive into the colder weather.
Well we will see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully we can make one more run. If not then this is goodbye till next Spring. But we will be preparing for our winter treks to our ‘eagle’ blind soon. So keep checking our website
www.mcgillsnatureinmotion.com “Eagle Journal” page for interesting developments. Keep your eyes to the sky and the trees and the waters. You never know what you too may find around the corner.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Journal October 12, 2009
We stopped at the Visitors Center to say our seasonal goodbyes to the girls. And to bid au revoir "till we meet again” to our friend, Ryan, who will be moving on to new adventures. We wish him well but know that we will meet again somewhere ‘out in the wilds’ of America. We are so thankful for all the great friendships we have made along our ‘journey’. And will, hopefully, continue to make throughout our lifetime of exploration.
Back to the Refuge, it is 35 degrees and snowing. It’s not an accumulating snow just wet and sloggy.
The wood ducks continue to bob around the marshy areas. The trumpeter swans will stay as long as there is open waters in which to feed. We are surprised that the pied bill grebes are still hanging out along with ring necks. The small flock of coots is still midway down C Pool back along the marshy area happily feeding.
And a lonely great blue heron is steadfast on his little island hunched down waiting for easy eats to come his way. We discover three new beaver lodges that have just been built within the last couple of weeks. That means some of the young are now breeding age and ready to tend to their own families.
The waters across the Refuge are serenely calm despite the messy moisture falling from the sky. The quiet is starting to encompass the area despite an occasional interruption from passersby. As we near the end of the drive a large flock of robins is gathering in the meadows finding comfort in numbers. So farewell till next spring. Catch us on our website www.mcgillsnatureinmotion.com. Check out our ‘Eagle Research Journal’ as we continue our winter studies of the American Bald Eagle.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited