Albert Lea, Minn., to Oshkosh, Wis.

We made only one stop on today’s drive — aside from short stops at rest areas or gas stations — and that was at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. Necedah N.W.R. is best known because Whooping Cranes have been reintroduced there. We did not see any Whooping Cranes, though we did see a dozen Sandhill Cranes. We also saw Trumpeter Swans, which breed here.

Trumpeter Swan, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. The poor image quality is because this bird was at the limit of the telephoto range of my pocket super-zoom camera

What I most enjoyed about Necedah N.W.R. was seeing eastern bird species I haven’t seen since I was in Massachusetts last summer. Seeing a Chipping Sparrow, for example, hopping on the sidewalk outside the refuge visitor center was a thrill for me — though they’re so common in the east they’re almost boring. I suppose after a year or so I too will be bored by Chipping Sparrows.

Chipping Sparrow on the sidewalk near the visitor center, Necedah N.W.R.

Also next to the visitor center, I saw a Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus). This is a common eastern lizard, but for someone who’s spent the last dozen years living in the land of Western Fence Lizards, it was a thrill to see a Five-lined Skink.

Five-lined Skink in the grass next to the visitor center, Necedah N.W.R.

After leaving Necedah N.W.R., we drove straight through to Oshkosh, Wis. We’ll be staying here for a week, visiting Dad-in-law and his wife Nancy. Seeing them this evening was the highlight of the day!

Update, June 28: Yesterday and today, we’ve found 3 dog ticks on us or our clothing. So that’s yet another species of organism we found in Necedah NWR.

My iNaturalist observations for June 27