Our first stop was Bluegill Bay, a really nice park right close to town. There were nice walking trails through mixed deciduous and evergreen woods. We saw lots of Cedar Waxwings, a couple of Eastern Phoebes, and some vireos that we weren't able to positively ID (but we were leaning towards Yellow Throated). I heard these Red Breasted Nuthatches long before I saw one. This is the first of these I've seen so far this year. I hope they show up at my feeders again this winter because I think they're such charming little birds!
As the name implied, there was a bay with bluegills in the park. We did see a few of the fish, but were much more excited by the herons we saw. There were several Green Herons present and they weren't at all shy.
There were also Great Blue Herons everywhere we looked! I was thrilled to see this one on the walking path (scratching its chin!)
I tried sneaking up on it, but this bird wasn't nearly as tolerant as the green herons, and took off the other direction when I got within about 30 yards.
Of course, the usual flock of mallards was hanging around, but I did remark to Lynne that it seemed strange we didn't see any Giant Canada Geese here (or anywhere else for that matter!)
And the action wasn't all in the trees or water. I spotted this little leopard frog while I was checking out some flowers at the edge of the river bank. Isn't their camouflage great? I would never have seen this little guy except that he hopped out of my way as I walked across the grass.
Most of the grass was mowed away from the paths, but at the edge of some evergreens, we found this blooming Orange Hawkweed bravely trying to establish itself. You can see how close it came to getting dug out too!
Right next to the parking lot I found these cute little pink flowers, but I can't remember for sure what they are. I've narrowed it down to 2 possibilities: something in the purslane family or one of the wild pinks. If anyone has a positive ID, be sure to leave a comment. Thanks!
Our next stop was Rib Mountain State Park, one of the highest elevations in Wisconsin. From this lookout point, we had a good view of the City of Wausau and we were even able to pick out the Super 8 we were staying at.
At the top of Rib Mountain, I had the chance to climb the 60-foot observation tower (and no, I wasn't able to get to the top without stopping to catch my breath!)
Check out these views! I thought the outside railing was a tad too low, so I stayed close to the interior of the top platform for these shots.
Lynne chose to enjoy the view from the ground and we played "camera duel" as I made my way back down. Hi Lynne!!
For any of you who have been lucky enough to meet Lynne in person, you know how friendly she is. And it's not just humans who are charmed by her.......
The granite boulder formations in this park were amazing!
I was fascinated with all the plants and ferns that were able to establish themselves and grow in the cracks of these rocks. (This picture has become the newest desktop wallpaper on my home computer!)
And even though it was close to 80 degrees in the middle of September, signs of fall were everywhere we looked.