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MN Shutterbug

From the refuge.

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I had hoped to get some good shots of bald eagles, but they were very uncooperative. Either the light was bad, or they were much too far away, and cropping away 75% makes it tough to keep sharp. Anyway, I got a pretty good mix.

This juvie appears to have a broken beak tip. It's not a real good photo, but the beak is interesting, which made it worth showing.

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There was no shortage of geese, with 160,000 being the amount of snow geese the days I was there. They were much more photogenic.

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Nice images, Mike. I especially like the comp of the second-to-last group of snows, and that last tight snow image is sweet! I also really like the third image, what looks like an immature snow coming pretty straight at the camera (BIF shots like that have a lot of built-in drama).

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Mike,

I have to agree with Steve whole heartedly. That second to last shot is fantastic!!! Once again, the jealously wells up in my heart... What refuge were you on? Is that Big Stone? I would seriously come down and spend some time for good Snow Goose shots. I may have the weekend free on the 13th and 14th. If those are still in the area, I'd love to spend some time wherever you found 'em. If you have my email let me know. Once again, great work!

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Those are some great BIF shots Mike. They are so sharp and detailed. I think that we are going to have to swap chickadee's for snow geese and maybe I will throw in some gray jays grin

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Those are sweet Mike! You are really nailing the bif shots!! Oh, and holy carap that's alot of geese? Where was this?

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I have a new guess and I'm pretty sure I've got it right!

Squaw Creek NWR, Missouri

I should have known right off the bat with the combo of eagles and snow geese. I've been eyeing up that refuge for a visit for a while. It's just a touch far from here at 8 hours, but it looks well worth it. At there peak last year they reported over 1 million snows. That would be a sight worth seeing.

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Mr. Cary, you are so right. grin It's actually about a 6 hour drive from here, with a few short stops along the way. I left Monday and got there in time to make two 10 mile trips around the refuge and on Tuesday, I made at least another 6 rounds, and then headed home about 4:30. My total miles were 853. Yes, it was a lot of miles, but it's got to be the most photographical place I've ever been to. The refuge counted 79 bald eagles the first day we were there, but only 9 were mature. Just like everywhere, it's going to vary year by year. They say most of the snow geese come from Sand Lake NWR in SD. Their site showed only about 9,000 left, so I figured this would be a good time, due to the eagles following the snows. I also timed it according to the weather. I saw there was going to be one pretty nice day, which was Tuesday. Originally, I had planned on going Tuesday and coming back today. It's a good thing I changed my plans. Today, Mound City, MO, which is 5 miles from the refuge, had a daylight high of 28 and winds of 28 mph gusting to 37 mph. That wouldn't have been much fun. It also snowed a little there today. My last 50 miles home last night, was no picnic. I was averaging 25 mph the last 30, due to the snow and strong winds. I was very happy to see home. The bed felt so good.

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Mike,

I remember watching the reports last year and the numbers skyrocketed right before the refuge froze over. I'm assuming that the weather had forced the final big bunches down and then through. It peaked early in December this past year, if my memory serves me. I checked my work calendar for this next week and I don't have any meetings planned Thursday through the following Monday. If the weather cooperates, I think I'll be there.

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Mike,

I checked my work calendar for this next week and I don't have any meetings planned Thursday through the following Monday. If the weather cooperates, I think I'll be there.

Wanna pick me up, on the way? grin

Yes, I see that I missed a couple spots. Normally, I have just one or 2 to clone out. After this trip, I've had about 6 or 7. Since I don't change lenses, I have no idea where the dust came from.

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If you're serious, I certainly could. It's adds about an hour to the drive, but actually shaves a few miles off. Backroad vs. Interstate. If you weren't joking, shoot me an email at mikecary23 at hotmail.

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