Where to go, what to do … questions most often asked prior to visiting a new place. So when I was researching for this trip, I looked for places where birders might go. Goose Pond Sanctuary and surrounding area drew my attention. Despite this time of year not being the peak of any bird migration, birds are out all the time just making it more difficult to find them. But the other interesting thing in visiting Goose Pond is discovering the “Family Prairies”. These stewards of the land set aside acres to remain as prairie, so you will not see corn or soybeans planted and/or growing on these lands. The stewardship program has allowed the rest of us to walk the prairie.
I spent time at the ponds and walking trails conveniently mowed in or around some of the prairies. The wildflowers are beautiful too. At the ponds I saw cedar waxwings, swallows, red-winged blackbirds and a couple of mallard families. Below are photos of some birds and wildflowers, followed by time I spent at a marsh.
After driving the roads to the various “family Prairies” I spent the next hours at Schoenberg Marsh Waterfowl Production Area. From the parking lot you walk a paved trail to an observation deck. Along the way I saw some red-tailed hawks and American white pelicans.
After a short time on the observation deck I began talking with Jim. (We did eventually introduce ourselves to each other so I know his name.) We were talking about the farms and prairies when I discover he grew up on a farm just across the way from this marsh. Unfortunately he was in a farm accident and he moves around in his motorized wheel chair. He now lives more than a 1/2 hour away but often comes to this observation deck “to ponder”. We discussed how paved trails allow him accessibility to more outdoor places. We talked about many things … life, birds, muskrats, politics, kindness, wheelchairs … for a few hours while we watched the sky and trees for birds. The pelicans were around at water’s edge, cardinals and gray catbirds in the trees along with a chipmunk.
Before we each got into our vehicles, Jim gave me his phone number in case I had any questions about Wisconsin; very kind of him to do so. I am glad he did since I need to send him a photo of a bird we wondered about. It was an American kestrel!