Monday, December 25, 2006

Proud Dad!

The top photo is a piece of original artwork done by my daughter JLR of the bottom photo. I received the original piece for Christmas. My photo of it doesn't do it justice but I will re-photograph it in better light and re-post it. Thanks Jen and Jess.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Snow to the East.

This photo was taken along U.S. Hwy. 2 east of Ashland and just west of Hurley WI. The Hurley / Ironwood MI area had a major snow strom last night. It was nice seeing fresh snow cover. Ashland is still snow free.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

For the Waushara grandma. The birthday boy.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

This has all been made possible by YOU my loyal readers.

I just had to! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to "make the cover of Time".

Actually! this has all been made possible by Photoshop and a warped sense of humor.

I hope it made you smile.

Gyrfalcon on the Oredock. Sorry poor photos.

Look close the Gyrfalcon is there on the top rail between the first and second light pole. See the red circle. Hint: click on this photo or any photo to get an enlarged version. I've included this photo so the reader can get a perspective of just how far away this bird is from our viewing spot. As the ice freezes and becomes safe we are able to get out along side the oredock and get a better view. Probably not until mid January considering the warm weather we're having. The bird spent a great deal of time preening his feather in the morning sun.

8:02 A.M.: Just as I was arriving at one of the viewing points overlooking the Oredock my cellphone rang it was Ryan B. "the Gyr is on the east side of the Oredock on the top rail three section from the end". All this shorthand describes the favorite perching area of a Gyrfalcon that has overwinter here for the last 3-4 years.

Within minutes of my arrival it was apparent that Ryan was letting everyone know the Gyr was here and soon there was a gathering of local birders. Tim O., Nick A., Ryan B. and myself all standing along the shoreline pointing lots of very expensive optical equipment and this one bird.

Today we also had an out of town birder (Brian) enjoying the sighting. Brian is a graduate student at Clemson University in South Carolina he is studying Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Brian is on a birding tour with Ashland as one of his stops. It turns out Brian must be a lucky birder at least he was today. Brian got to see this Gyrfalcon on his first attempt this morning. Not bad considering I've been trying to see the Gyr everyday for the last two weeks with no luck.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Raptors on the move.

This Bald Eagle was maintaining a vigilance over a dead deer carcus. The close approach of 4 crows moved it from it's perch to the distant hay bale.

This Rough-Legged Hawk is the Bibon Swamp bird I have photographed several times over the last two weeks.

Both of these raptors were photographed on the road to work. Yesterday I drove 140 miles without a single sighting of any wildlife. Today all it took was the usual trip to work to get some great opportunities.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Richard I. Bong Bridge.

Made a road trip to Duluth MN today. Beautiful sunny day making it a great day for a ride. Very little (none) wildlife to photograph in the 140 mile round trip. I did get the chance to try out my new Canon 100-400mm lens. I thought the close up details (bottom photo) weren't bad for a hand held shot from this distant.

The photos of the Richard "Dick" I. Bong Bridge were taken from the Duluth MN Skyline Drive. The bridge connects Superior WI with Duluth MN. The bridge is a memorial to a local World War II fighter pilot.

Dick Bong was born and raised in Popular WI. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in the early days of World War II. He flew a P-38 Lightning and became an Ace for downing 40 enemy planes in the Pacific theater. For more information about Dick Bong visit his Heritage Center website.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Hanging out in the backyard.

These two eagles were staying close to "home".

Enlarged upper left and lower right eagles.

If only it had happened this way.

TOTALLY Photoshopped image.

Both the upper and lower photos were taken within minutes of each other from the same position. Unfortunately the geese simply wouldn't agree to a low level pass over the beautifully snow capped pilings while I stood there with my camera.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Washburn, WI shoreline.

Today was sunny and warm for December 10th. Although the Chequamegon Bay is iced over from the lighthouse to the Hwy 13 "S curve" the water north of that line is still open. This photo was taken from the park just north of Washburn.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Someone always has to be first.

Each year someone has to be the first fisherman on the bay. This year it it's this guy. In fact it might have been two fishermen. Although I saw no one moving in and out of the teepee on the right I would guess it was occupied. Just a note the teepee probably stands about 6.5 feet tall at the apex. This should offer some perspective of the size of the Oredock.

Rough-legged Hawk

This is the same hawk from the December 6th. post. It was photographed today within 100 yards of the photos of December 6. Based on the in-flight photos Ryan Brady ID the hawk as an immature Rough-Legged Hawk just hatched this past summer. According to Ryan "the lack of a broad, dark trailing edge on the underside of the wings" distinguishes (my word) it as an immature . This bird has been frequenting the roadside area of Hwy 63 in the Bibon Swamp.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The changed weather.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post we have had a weather change in northern Wisconsin. Frequent readers of this blog will recognize this location and similar photos taken from this location. This photo (and others) were taken from the marina behind the Chequamegon Hotel.

This is one of the spots used to survey the bay (summer and winter). Today I was looking for early Snowy Owls that might be out on the ice.

This spot is also a good location to survey the west side of the Oredock (with binoculars) looking for the Gyrfalcon which has been seen in the last few days. No luck today.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Afternoon drive home.

Well it's that time of year. The afternoon drive home usually includes a sunset. Today I managed to see this hawk circling along the edge of the road. The coloration on the trailing edge of the wings is the rays from this sunset.

I believe this is a Rough-legged hawk. But I'll wait for the birders in the reading audience to confirm my ID. Ryan B. ?

In any case it's sure nice to see some wildlife out and about.

It has been really slow for several weeks. We have recently had a weather change (snow and colder temps) and this seems to have gotten things moving.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Man at work.

See the SMILE.

This is one happy snow shoveler. Just imagine how happy he'll be when it's a snowblower. Vroom! Vroom!

Chainsaw art.

This great chainsaw art work can be seen at GRIZZ WORKS in Maple Wisconsin (11547 E US Hwy 2) or visit their website here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Elk hunt. Clam Lake Wisconsin.

Mrs. Shutterwi and I took a road trip today to try and get some photos of a Elk. The top photo is as close as we got to seeing anything that even resembled an Elk. The area was beautiful and we did enjoy the ride along the well marked perimeter of the Elk management area. Discussion with some locals made it clear we need to be there early in the AM (before sunrise) or at dusk. We might try again in the next few days if the weather agrees.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

View from Longbridge looking Northwest

Calm November waters at the head of the Chequamegon Bay. This is a favorite viewing spot for birders in the area.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ruffed Grouse. The seven year cycle.

Conventional wisdom around here has it that the Ruffed Grouse (Partridge) are on a seven year population cycle. Every seven years the populations peak and then gradually decline until it then recycles in about seven years hence.

This cyclic high does seem to occur. I'm not sure if the scientific data supports my personal observations but I know that I haven't seen many birds over the last few years until this year. In the last two days I've seen and photographed five different birds.

Now it has occurred to me that when the populations are high more hunters are encouraged to kick the brush and harvest birds (or at least try). This in itself might explain the decline side of the cycle. More birds harvested.

In the down years a typical conversation on a city street in the fall might go like this. Seeing birds? Nope! Been out? Nope! Going? Nope! Me neither! This might in fact explain the upside of the cycle. More birds surviving to propagate.

In any case. It seems like an up year and my "shooting" will not contribute to the decline.

The only problem is Partridge are great eating. Oh well as Skip would say I never hit anything I was shooting at anyway.