Fall is a beautiful time of year to explore, especially in the Midwest. The weather has begun to cool; plants wither with color, and my favorite wildlife activity is migratory birds congregating for their trip south while winter birds appear in waves. Aside from the birds, the mammals are actively raising their young for the long winter.
This Fall, I had the opportunity to travel and camp in the Northwoods and along the Mississippi River, photographing nature - both flora and fauna - from my kayak: Feelfree Moken 12.5 v2. In September, I purchased a new kayak, the Feelfree Moken 12.5 pdl, to allow for quick travel on the water. I have not used the pedal drive system as much as I anticipated, but being able to paddle or pedal allows for a more versatile experience on the water.
I took thousands of photos this fall. This blog showcases a few captioned images highlighting Fall while on the water. If you are not out paddling during the Fall season, you are missing out on some of the best wildlife activities of the year!
The Feelfree Moken 12.5 PDL. A lightweight, stable, fast, spacious, and maneuverable kayak very suitable for wildlife photographing from the kayak. I trust this kayak with my gear and its reliability to get me from point A to point B. The flat deck allows me to shoot and lay low while being comfortable with the EZ Rider seat. I am just overall impressed with Feelfree Kayaks' product and innovation. I'll be sticking with the Moken 12.5 pdl for a few years and look forward to the adventures next year.
The eagles of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is well known for its abundance of eagle sightings from Lake Itasca in MN to the Gulf of Mexico, a 2,350-mile stretch. The eagle congregation in the hundreds typically doesn't occur until the wintertime. During the fall, the juvenile bald eagles will start their migration journey. You will see many more mature bald eagles compared to juveniles for this reason. With the leaves withering, being able to spot the white head of the bald eagle becomes simple and allows for a great photo op.
The American White Pelican congregation. Fall is my favorite time of year to view the pelicans. They will gather in the thousands feeding until it is time to fly south. They are gentle giants but of course, I wouldn't dare get within their feeding grounds. Amazing birds to watch from afar, though!
The waterfowl migration. The abundant waterfowl provide a great food source for birds of prey, such as eagles. Many will live to migrate south and return to breed in the springtime. The waterfowl congregation is a must-see for any wildlife enthusiasts!
Green herons fledged and ready to migrate from their nesting ground. But not until they feed as much as they can before the fish starts to go deep! That's exactly what these green herons did. The fish will still hang out around the shallow water providing a food source for the herons. When the food becomes scarce, the green herons will start to migrate south to hopefully return to their breeding/nesting grounds to birth the next generation.
Ring-necked gull feeding on shad. Gulls are often viewed as pests due to their aggression towards food. Contrarily, they should be viewed as one of the most opportune bird species due to their versatility and success in attaining food. During the Fall at the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, gulls can be seen soaring 30' in the sky scouring the water for fish. When the fish becomes entrapped in the vegetation, the gulls would swoop down for a meal. It is a sight to see! Many gulls hang around in Wisconsin as long as there's open water. Certain stretches of the Mississippi River are open water so there viewing can be common.
The breathtaking Fall foliage. Amidst all the wildlife activity, we should not forget the everchanging nature scene all around us. Whether you're in the Northwoods or on the Mississippi River shoreline, there's ample opportunity to view the Fall foliage and palette.
Additional Fall photo highlights. Please enjoy the few more highlights this Fall. You can view the rest of my wildlife gallery at my site here: https://changlorwildlife.smugmug.com/
Written by Chang Lor, Feelfree Pros Staff Team Member
Edited by Bobby Ulrich, Feelfree Pro Staff Team Member