Saturday, October 31, 2015

An Autumn Day at Ouabache

These images are from an afternoon at Ouabache State Park on October 12. 

White-breasted Nuthatch

A woman "walking" her 13-year-old dogs

Some early autumn colors

We haven't been back to the park since that day. I suspect that the fall colors are pretty well gone by now. I'm glad we were able to see them, even at this early stage. Fall is such a beautiful time of the year. But its beauty is so brief.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lost Canyon, Wisconsin Dells

I almost forgot to tell you about another fun thing we did while we were at Wisconsin Dells on October 5th. We took the horse-drawn wagon tour through Lost Canyon.

A couple that we met while viewing the cranes had taken this tour and were telling us about it and how much they enjoyed it. I had read about it when researching the area for things to do, and it was on my "possibility" list; but our new friends helped to move it to the "do" list. 

This is where we boarded the 15-passenger wagon for the Lost Canyon Tour.

Slim and Whiskey, the team that took us through the canyon

The canyon was so narrow in places that Whiskey and Slim barely fit.

With a little imagination you can see an eagle in this formation.

Another narrow passage. Blue paint from the wagon was evident on some of the canyon walls.

This fox was making its way along the canyon wall, high above us.

It was so dark in the canyon that these photos are the best I could get of the fox.

This aerial view is from a by Trumble Photography, Wisconsin Dells

Taking this tour through Lost Canyon caused us to miss the boat tour of the Upper Dells that we had planned to take, but that just gives us some incentive to go back for the boat tour on another occasion.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Autumn Road Trip

On Thursday, Doug and I drove to Battle Creek, Michigan, to visit Doug's brother, Dennis. 

Some of you will recall that Dennis had to have his left leg amputated below the knee in April, 2014. He's been out of the hospital for a year now, living in an apartment in Battle Creek, with the help of a Home Health Aide who comes in several times a week to assist with all the chores that Dennis can't do for himself.

Thursday was such a beautiful fall day that, after a meal at Cracker Barrel, we went for a drive through the Battle Creek countryside. When I saw this "checkerboard" barn, I asked Doug to stop so I could get some pictures.


Then, on the way home that evening, I snapped these pictures of some of the fall foliage along the highway.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Still More Cranes

This post will wrap up our visit to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin earlier this month.

Black-Necked Crane

The black-necked crane is the only alpine crane in the world, residing almost exclusively at high altitudes on the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalaya.

Eurasian Crane

The Eurasian Crane, also known as the Common Crane, is the most widely distributed of all cranes, occurring in over 80 countries.

Eurasian Crane, exhibiting aggression

I've saved the two North American species of cranes for last. First, the Sandhill Crane, the world's most abundant crane, with populations that are stable to increasing.

Sandhill Crane

The early spring gathering of Sandhills on the Platte River in Nebraska is among the greatest wildlife spectacles on the continent, with over a quarter of a million birds present at one time.

And, lastly, the Whooping Crane, the tallest bird in North America, standing at approximately 5 feet (1.5 meters), and the rarest of all species of cranes. Their current population is estimated at approximately 600 birds.

Following is a video describing the effort to teach migration habits to young Whooping Cranes that have been raised in captivity:

I hope you've enjoyed these posts about the cranes as much as I enjoyed seeing, photographing, and learning about them. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

More Cranes

Here are some more of the beautiful cranes we saw when we visited the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, earlier this month.

All the photos in this post were achieved by shooting through a chain link fence. Although the camera did a fair job of focusing through the fence, you'll still see the blurred image of the fence in many of the shots.

Brolga (also known as Australian Crane), preening

Red-Crowned Crane (also known as Japanese Crane)

Sarus Crane

The Sarus Crane, pictured above, is the tallest flying bird in the world, standing at a height of up to 5 ft 11 in (1.8 m). It's a resident breeding bird in northern India, Nepal, Southeast Asia and Australia.

White-Naped Crane

The White-Naped Crane breeds in NE Mongolia, NE China and extreme SE Russia, and also in the Amur and Ussuri river basins. They winter in Korea, S Japan and CE China, in the Yangtze basin.

White-Naped Crane, head and neck

This crane "talked" to us the whole time we stood in front of its pen. I like to think we were having a friendly chat.

Lastly, in today's post, is the Siberian Crane. These showed some aggression, including squawking and wing flapping, when people approached their pen. It was brief, and I didn't capture any photos of that behavior. But I liked the expressiveness of their faces.

Siberian Crane

Siberian Crane

Also known as Snow Cranes, adults are nearly all snowy white except for their black primary feathers, that are visible in flight, and their brick-red faces and pinkish legs.

Siberian Crane
There were four more crane species that we saw that day, which I'll feature in the next post.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cranes of Africa

When we were in Baraboo, Wisconsin earlier this month, we visited the International Crane Foundation, where pairs of the world's 15 species of cranes could be viewed during a short walk along a paved trail. It was a fascinating experience.

I'll admit my ignorance here and tell you that I'd always thought "crane" was sort of a general term that included herons. I've learned that a key difference is that cranes fly with outstretched necks, while herons tuck their necks in flight.

During our visit, we were privileged to view 13 of the 15 species of cranes. Two remained hidden while we were there: the Hooded Crane and the Demoiselle Crane.

Although we had open views of a few of the cranes, many were behind chain link fences because they are territorial and potentially aggressive. As a result of having to shoot through the fences, some of the photos will have a shadow or may look a bit distorted.

The four species of cranes featured in this post are all from Africa. I've included two pictures of each. 

Wattled Crane

Wattled Crane

Black Crowned Crane

Black Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane

Blue Cranes
(The background is a mural painted on a wall of their pen.)

Blue Crane

I'll have more from this visit to the International Crane Foundation in future posts. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kilbourn Dam and & Natural Bridge State Park in Wisconsin

On our way home from the conference in Minnesota last week, we spent a couple of days in the area of the Wisconsin Dells. On Sunday, we drove through the town of Wisconsin Dells, to get some information on things we might want to do during our short visit. We picked up information on the Upper Dells Boat Tour, but it was pretty cold and dreary that day. We thought we'd come back the next day to do that.

You can see from the following picture of the Kilbourn Dam how dreary the day was:

Kilbourn Dam, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

So we decided to make Sunday's activity a visit the Natural Bridge State Park, not far from where we were staying in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

The trail to the Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge at Natural Bridge State Park, Sauk County, Wisconsin

Doug and me at the Natural Bridge

A little fall color along the trail on beyond the Natural Bridge

It's a pretty drive in the country, going to and from the Natural Bridge State Park, as the route takes you past many beautifully kept Wisconsin farms. On our way back to town after our hike, Doug spotted one farm that had a round house:

Round house on a farm in Sauk County, Wisconsin

One of my favorite things we did on this trip was to visit a sanctuary that is home to pairs of all 15 of the world's species of cranes. I'll share some photos from there on my next post.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Understanding the Times Conference 2015

Doug and I traveled to Eden Prairie, Minnesota, just outside Minneapolis, last week, to attend a Christian conference called "Understanding the Times." This is an annual conference, part of the ministries of Olivetree Ministries; but it's the first time we've attended. 

The conference sessions were on Friday night and all day Saturday, and there were some great speakers, all with messages on understanding the times in which we live in light of Bible prophecy. And, of course, it was nice to be among thousands of other like-minded folks.

Today, I'm sharing a few images from that conference.

Grace Church, where the conference was held

Jan Markell, Founder, President and host of Understanding the Times

The large screen enabled easy viewing of the speakers from any seat in the auditorium.

A panoramic view of the crowd

Books, CDs, and DVDs were available for purchase in the foyer during breaks in the conference.

A view from the other end of the foyer during the same break pictured in the previous photo

Our driving route to this conference took us near Wisconsin Dells, so we spent a couple of days there on our way back home. I'll share more about that in future posts.

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