Around the Marsh

Tom Turkey strolling.
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Before Saturday, I'd only driven the area known as the Cherokee Marsh.

Marshes like this one act as a giant water storage and purification system while creating an awesome habitat.

Jutting into the Yahara River where it slows its flow into Lake Mendota, the marsh is home to all kinds of creatures.

I heard lots of calling frogs.  But when I got within 15 feet of a shallow pool they seemed to know I was near and became still.

Black Throated Blue Warblers
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The brilliant birds in the photo to the right chatting about the weather caught my eye.  I'm not sure, but based on what I find online, I think they are Black-Throated Blue Warblers.

I've never seen these birds before.  If you enlarge the photo the flash of blue on the wings, cape, and cape stand out.

The wild turkeys I heard rustling in the underbrush as I approached.  Unlike their cousins at the University Arboretum, this Tom wasn't going to stop and chat.

Thankfully, I was able to get into position for a fairly clear "shot" before it disappeared; which is when his colors caught the sunshine.

A Painted Turtle basking (middle)
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It might have been some turkeys I heard at the start of my hike... it was in some heavy and tall grass and bushes.  They sounded big, like a deer or something bigger and maybe dangerous(???) rattling among the trees and brush.

Whatever it was, it quieted and I moved on without incident.

There was a snake in the grass, but it was a Garter Snake and it quickly slithered over the dead leaves and out of sight before I could get a picture.

The Painted Turtles were drying the paint and soaking up rays in its little pool of paradise.

Hairy Woodpecker, 25 feet up a tree
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The Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park has the marsh and river on one side and a city street on the other.  Yet, it felt like I was alone with nature.

There were dozens of different birds - Sandhill Cranes trumpeting and calling; Warblers; Robins; and the knock-knock-knock of Woodpeckers.

The Hairy Woodpecker is slightly larger than a Robin with a quick rat-a-tat-tat.  I don't this guy noticed me as I had several minutes to watch and shoot.

Such photos can be frustrating since its impossible to tell in the field if the subject is actually in focus; I was thrilled to discover Harry was.  I'm looking forward to a return trip to see what other cool creatures might be discovered.