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Wisconsin Waterfowl - 2019

April 12th, 2019

Wisconsin Waterfowl - 2019

We have finally started to come out of our winter. Well almost, we got over a foot of snow yesterday, but it will melt quickly with the forecasted temperatures. Waterfowl have started to return to the northwoods in their spring plumage. I have seen mallards, wood ducks, mergansers and geese. I went to my honeyhole of a secluded pond. It still had some ice on it, but it was mainly ice free. The ducks cooperated.

I have been fortunate to be able to get some great images of these ducks. Check out my wildlife collection http://dalekphotography.com/collections/wildlife for these up close images of these wild ducks, enjoy! My wildlife images are available as prints (framed, canvas, acrylic, metal, wood or posters), greeting cards, throw pillows, tote bags, phone cases, duvet covers, shower curtains, fleece blankets, towels, spiral notebooks and coffee mugs. These products are available at: http://dalekphotography.com/.

Wisconsin Wild Turkeys - 2019

April 4th, 2019

Wisconsin Wild Turkeys - 2019

For the last few years, we have had turkeys wintering in the area where we live. Actually last summer there was a flock of 7 toms or adult males around. However, they did not come around by me and I only saw them driving around, but I knew they were here. We only had one hen with 9 poults last summer. She had another hen with her after a while. Only 5 poults survived the summer. Then late fall more turkeys showed up. It was a mixed flock of hens, jakes (juvenile males) and adult males. They are not around every day, so when you see them, it can make your day. One day in January they came through and I counted 41 birds. In February of this year, we received over 34 inches of snow in 8 days. The turkeys moved out to parts unknown, except for about a half dozen. A couple of weeks later, I saw about 15 with 2 toms. Gradually the numbers have increased to about 30 birds I would guess. We are back to 7 toms that hang together. Last week the toms started to gobble and strut, I guess spring is here.

I have been fortunate to be able to get some great images of these turkeys. Check out my wildlife collection http://dalekphotography.com/collections/wildlife for these up close images of these wild turkeys, enjoy! My wildlife images are available as prints (framed, canvas, acrylic, metal, wood or posters), greeting cards, throw pillows, tote bags, phone cases, duvet covers, shower curtains, fleece blankets, towels, spiral notebooks and coffee mugs. These products are available at: http://dalekphotography.com/.

Iconic Holy Hill of Wisconsin

October 29th, 2018

Iconic Holy Hill of Wisconsin

I had an opportunity to go to the Holy Hill Basilica this fall with the changing leaves, which has been on my list of places to photograph. It is one of southeast Wisconsin’s iconic landmarks. The basilica is northwest of the City of Milwaukee. It is located in the Town of Erin, near Hubertus, among the farm fields and woods. It resides at the highest point in this area of Wisconsin. The Holy Hill Basilica is a landmark situated on 435 acres of rural countryside and can be seen for miles. Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians is a Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was declared a shrine as early as 1903 and was raised to the status of a minor basilica in 2006. But as far back as the 1700's or earlier, Native Americans thought of it as a holy place. Built in 1926, this church has over 500,000 visitors from all over the world every year.

I had done some research beforehand, for its location and the roads surrounding it. As I headed out on this morning, there were clear skies. I had hoped for some clouds. As I arrived here, the clouds had slowly started to move in, perfect! As the morning went on, the sky became overcast. With the church located high on a hill, the morning light is the perfect time to photograph it. On this morning, the rising sun’s reddish light enhanced the brick walls.

Check out my Fall/Autumn collection http://dalekphotography.com/collections/fall+autumn for the images of Holy Hill, enjoy! My images are available as prints (framed, canvas, acrylic, metal, wood or posters), greeting cards, throw pillows, tote bags, phone cases, duvet covers, shower curtains, fleece blankets, towels, spiral notebooks and coffee mugs. These products are available at: http://dalekphotography.com/.

Wild Turkeys Wisconsin Style

April 30th, 2018

Wild Turkeys Wisconsin Style

Currently, wild turkeys are found in all 72 Wisconsin counties. But it hasn’t always been that way. The restoration of wild turkeys stands as one of the greatest conservation success stories in the history of wildlife management in Wisconsin. The turkey population went from complete absence to a healthy statewide population in 30 years. This successful restoration of wild turkeys to Wisconsin happened when the Wisconsin DNR and the Missouri Department of Conservation worked out an agreement. Missouri, with a healthy population of wild eastern turkeys, basically exchanged turkeys for Wisconsin’s ruffed grouse. It all started in 1976, when 29 turkeys were released in Vernon County, located in southwestern Wisconsin. To help expand the population, within a few years, the WDNR began moving birds from established populations in southwestern Wisconsin and releasing them at suitable sites throughout the southern two-thirds of the state.

For the last five years or so, we have had turkeys wintering in the area where we live. They tend to show up in midwinter and stay around to spring snow melt. This winter there have been about 50 turkeys in the area. It is a mixed flock of hens, jakes (juvenile males) and adult males. They are not around every day, so when you see them, it can make your day. Turkeys will basically eat almost anything, be it seeds, bugs, grubs or plants. That is how they make a living. They eat to stay alive and are extremely wary to not get eaten. In the spring, it is all about scratching out enough to eat and to breed. The entire flock has a pecking order. That order is established almost daily or hourly between hens, jakes and toms. As it gets later in the spring, it gets more rigorous. About 3 weeks ago, two hens fought about 10 feet away from me. They beat each other with their wings, scratch each other with their legs and wrestle with their heads and necks. Unfortunately, I could not get any photos of this fight, as I could not move with a dozen other birds looking on. Bigger jakes will pick on smaller jakes, you feel bad for those smaller birds. This flock has seven adult toms or males. The two top toms do all the strutting and make sure the lesser toms or jakes do not. They will put the run on them to stop it. Last fall, I was able to witness two toms fighting. They would clamp down on each other’s head and wrestle or peck each other in the head. It was a real test of endurance and strength. That fight last 28 minutes. The slightly bigger bird won, but each bird was worn out. It makes for some interesting observations.

They have keen eyesight and their hearing is unbelievable. To get them close, you must be still or move very slowly to not get noticed. You have to use that to your advantage, to get the close photos. It also helps to wear camouflage clothing to blend in. With my situation, I am lucky that I can be patient and get up close photos others cannot. Often these turkeys are within 3 to 4 feet and are unaware of my presence. It is fun just to observe their behavior.

I have been fortunate to be able to get some ridiculously close images of these turkeys. Click below for more information to check out my wildlife collection for these up close images of these wild turkeys, enjoy! My wildlife images are available as prints (framed, canvas, acrylic, metal, wood or posters), greeting cards, throw pillows, tote bags, phone cases, duvet covers, shower curtains, fleece blankets, towels, spiral notebooks and coffee mugs. These products are available at: http://dalekphotography.com/.