After a four year absence, I was finally able to get back to my roots in the Northwoods of Wisconsin last week. I spent most of my childhood years playing in the snow, traipsing through the forest, and swimming in pristine lakes. There’s no place like it on earth and I feel so privileged to know it’s beauty firsthand.
While the trees, lakes, wildflowers, and marshes all lend to the region’s rustic beauty, the presence of wildlife alongside human settlement has always been a source of amazement for me. Northern Wisconsin is peppered with a number of small towns, (most with populations of just a few hundred), with large expanses of state and national forests in between. These forests are filled with everything from deer, bald eagles, bears, and rodents. Throughout my life I’ve had honor of seeing these animals in their natural habitat.
My recent trip up north was no exception when it came to experiencing wildlife. I’ll be frank and admit that I was worried I had lost my touch in spotting animals through the trees and thick leaves. I live in the city where finding animals isn’t a necessary skill and it’s been a long time since I’ve thought of the “rules” my grandparents and aunt and uncle had taught me as a child.
- Rule#1: Be quiet and listen. Rustling leaves can mean a bird or small animal like a squirrel. A dull thud is something larger like a deer. Large rustling and a deeper thud might mean something larger like a bear. A hollow thud up high means a woodpecker is around!
- Rule #2: Don’t make sudden movements. Move slowly so as to not frighten animals away or trigger an attack out of fear (this is particularly true of bears).
- Rule #3: Keep your eyes open. Wherever you hear sound scan the area carefully. Animals tend to blend into the background, but if you look hard enough you’ll see them.
Within the first hour of arriving in Wisconsin, my worries were immediately put to rest. On the ride from the airport alone, I saw six deer! Every day after that, my list of wildlife sightings only grew. Luckily, I had my camera with me for some of these sightings.
In Land O’Lakes, on Big Portage Lake Road I spotted a large Red-Headed Woodpecker.
Walking along Bearskin Trail near Minocqua, I saw a number of little critters:
A chipmunk nibbling on his dinner.
A mother duck swimming with her brood of 10 chicks. Look through the two big trees to see them.
A robin clutching an earthworm.
A woodpecker (I’m not sure of the species).
While staying at my uncle and aunt’s cabin near Boulder Junction, I was lucky enough to see a nest of quail eggs and a cute painted turtle hanging out on a log on the lake.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera handy for the following sightings:
- 1 gray wolf. This was an unbelievable sighting and I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. He was beautiful.
- More than 20 deer, including a mother with her spotted fawn.
- 4 loons
- 2 turkey vultures
- 2 leopard frogs
- 1 toad
- 1 rabbit
- Countless chipmunks and squirrels (I know they are everywhere, but they are soooo cute!)
- Fish jumping to catch bugs
- 1 bald eagle
- 4 different varieties of owls
- 3 different varieties of hawks
The Northwoods of Wisconsin will always have a special place in my heart, as will all the beautiful creatures that roam through the trees and lakes.
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What is your favorite thing this week?
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26 thoughts on “Favorite Thing Friday: Wisconsin Wildlife”
I’m confessing, I read. Nothing of the post…I’m just here for the shots. Gorgeous. Just lovely.
Glad you enjoyed them! 🙂
Last November, when my hubby and I were on the way to spend Thanksgiving with his mom & siblings, we had not one, but TWO bald eagles swoop down in front of us on the highway. It was spectacular.
Wow! Seeing one is spectacular, two is epic! 🙂
Great pics! I miss the woods!
You have to go back soon! No matter how many times I go I never grow tired of the trees. 🙂
Wonderful photos. It took me awhile to find the chipmonk. I love how animals blend in.
I lost him a couple of times when trying to frame the shot!
How cool! I love the picture of the chipmunk. It’s been years since I’ve seen one. (They don’t live this far south.)
They are cute little critters. This particular one hung around for quite a while without a single care that people were watching him! 🙂
Loved these images of your trip! My favorite thing this week? Finally having weather good enough to get out and garden. 🙂
Oh how lovely! May green leaves and bright petals come your way soon! 🙂
Q: What do you call a woodpecker with no beak?
A: A headbanger.
(I’ll get my coat…)
Thanks for sharing those wonderful pics with us. 🙂
Glad you enjoyed them! My little camera once again proved you don’t need a lot of pixels to get some great shots! 🙂
Oh my! What a wonderful adventure for you! LOVE the first photo – a Pileated Woodpecker, my favorite!
I couldn’t believe how big he was! Most woodpeckers I see are pretty small, but he was a giant! 🙂
“And a partridge in a pear tree!” That’s what came to mind after reading that long list of critters sighted during your time in WIsconsin. lol The photos were amazing, too. 🙂
Haha! Now that song is in my head! 🙂
I am glad you had such a wonderful trip, and that you could fill your eyes and ears and nose with the North Woods. I hope the sights and sounds and smells make the Arizona summer bearable. Seeing a wolf and eagles -wow!!!!
As long as I stay inside Arizona summers aren’t that bad. 🙂 The wolf was an incredible sight. I still can’t believe I saw one.
Damn I am so jealous now 🙂 lol. I would give an arm and a leg to live in a place like that. Just the fact that the towns have no more than a few hundred people sounds FREAKING amazing. Here in Dhaka we are falling over each other, I think we are officially near the top of being the most crowded city in the whole wide world.
I feel very privileged to know what its like to live in a small town. I live in a big city now, but I like knowing both sides of the coin. One day I’m sure I’ll end up in a small community again, but until then I’ll muscle through the crowd.
I hope someday that I will get to retire in a small town where I can still be hyperconnected to the digital world 🙂
I was delighted to find high speed internet had arrived in the Northwoods, but the trees can make it a little touch and go.