Archive for the 'Wisconsin' Category

Place Called Horicon Marsh

Baby Geese and Family Stroll Dike Road at Horicon Marsh

Horicon Marsh is located in Wisconsin.  It has the distinction of being one of the largest cattail marshes in the United States.  Miles and Miles  of Cattails, water and waterways fill the area.  The marsh covers 33,000 acres.  The northern two thirds of the marsh is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The lower third is managed by the State of Wisconsin.  The federal section is tightly managed and only small areas are accessible.  The state managed area is more open to the general public.

In the city of Horicon you can take a boat ride in the marsh and a guide will share interesting notes about the marsh.  You can even rent a canoe and explore on your own.

One of the best places to see waterfowl and birds is on Dike Road.  It separates the federal from the state land.  When you drive the road take your time.  You will see a lot more.  Those that drive fast miss much and also scare the wildlife.

The scene above was common except for the vehicles.  There were not many vehicles on the road, but there were many families of geese.  They would walk the  road in front of you, taking their sweet time.  It was as if they were telling you to slow down and enjoy the time there.

Goosling Along Road at Horicon Marsh Along Dike Road

Photography along the road is easy.  Your vehicle is a natural blind.  The birds will sit there much of the time and let you photograph.  This baby goose was satisfied to just sit and soak up the sun while I enjoyed the quite sounds and tranquil scene.

There were pelicans, green herons, great egrets, sandhill cranes, muskrats and much more.

Great Egret Wading and Hunting at Horicon Marsh Along Dike Road


Great Egret Landing on Horicon Marsh Along Dike Road

One of the birds most desired to be seen by most people are the Sandhill Cranes.  If you are lucky you may see a few.  I was lucky to see a pair on the entrance side of the road each day there.  One thing to do, is learn the sounds they make before visiting the marsh.  It is very unique and will help you pinpoint them if they are in the grasses.

Sandhill Crane at Horicon Marsh on Dike Road

 One of the best times to head to the marsh is at sunrise.  The marsh was never overloaded with people, but I had the road to myself for up to two hours in the morning before anyone showed up.  That means you get to see all the birds before they are scared away by other people.  A big plus for morning visits is the lighting for photography as seen in the image below.  The colors are rich and glow.

Sandhill Crane in Morning Light at Horicon Marsh on Dike Road

 Getting out, taking a walk to stretch your legs is always a good idea.  I took a mile stroll and came upon this site.  I really liked the pattern the cattails made close to the bank.

Floating Cattails at Horicon Marsh

The road gives a but a small taste of what the marsh is about.  Next time I visit, a canoe will be the mode of transportation.  The pictures of the birds were all taken from my vehicle, but as you can see there is so much more to explore.  This really is a great place to visit.  I was there the end of May.  A few weeks earlier there was a heavy migration of warblers.  If you have a chance visit the marsh.  I think you will enjoy it.

Just a Small Part of the 33,000 Acres of Horicon Marsh