View Full Version : Horicon Marsh help

Tim Theisen
03-16-2010, 06:24 PM
Hello everyone,

Can anyone give me some tips for my first visit to Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin? I intend to go sometime over the next couple of weeks but do not know the best sites for photographing birds or other wildlife. Any help is very much appreciated. Thank you.


Mark Fuge
03-16-2010, 07:35 PM
Hi Tim,

You're talking my old backyard. Well, I lived about 20 miles from there, but it was one of my two favorite "backyard" shooting areas. The other being Theresa Marsh off of Hwy 41 on Hwy 28 west. This is not quite the right time for either location, though if you did know where to go you might find some winter residents there. The two best times are spring and fall with fall being legendary.

First Theresa Marsh is located about 1/2 mile west of Hwy 41 on Hwy 28. 41/28 is a major interchange on Hwy 41. It is a very small area, but in the fall, the pond north of the road is stuffed with Canada Geese and being on the north side of the road it is perfect lighting to get good images. This is a little known marsh area, based on the average 2-3 photogs and visitors that I experienced on any stop there. I never advertized it, as it was nice to have room to set up a tripod. ;)

Horicon is famous for Hwy 49, but the main flock is usually on the south side of the road there, so you get many backlit "black" Canada Geese images. That's not to say there aren't good images at Horicon on "49", but the best luck is other locations in the marsh were you get good lighting.

The best time for both as noted is the fall migrations, in late September to Thanksgiving. At that time, Hwy 49 looks like Yellowstone during the rut season! Motorhomes everywhere. But that's when the geese are there. That is also when the colors are good and the other critters are active.

Summer is average, with local birds to shoot, some wildlife ... and mesquitos!

If I had to go today for only a week, I would wait until the snow melt was just over and the wildflowers were in bloom. That is when you will see the parent geese with the goslings, and other families. The Egrets and Great Blues will also be returning back from their winter vacation here in Florida.

For locations, I would do the loop road on the west end of the marsh, on the south side of 49. You can hike it, bike it or drive it, when it is open. It is closed in winter until ... ??? I can't remember the date it opens but you can check with the rangers. The loop road has praire and ponds and associated critters.

On the east side of the marsh there are a number of roads that go "into the marsh". They are off of CTH "Z".

Ledge Road is not gated and was one of my most productive roads. Go west off of CTH "Z" to the end of the road. It is about 1/2 mile long in the marsh and there is a turn around at the end.

Next is the Dike Road, on the east side of the marsh. This was the site of my only encounter with the Great Horned Owl. It is a little harder to find the first time, as it is off CTH TW. To get there from the north, take CTH "Z" south to Rockwale Road and take a right (south) to the Dike Road and turn right (west) and follow the road to the gate. This is also a restricted area, with the gate closed daily and seasonally. You need to verify times as I've been here for 10 years and can't remember the schedules.

Hope you have a good trip, but hope you wait a few weeks for the birds to get back home! We've had a rough winter here, but still better than the northland!

Good Shooting.

Tim Theisen
03-16-2010, 08:24 PM
Hello Mark,

Thank you so much for the detailed response. The information you so generously provided will make my trip much more productive as it will only be a day trip. I live about two hours south so I can return when my schedule permits. I will follow your advice and be sure to visit in the spring also. Yesterday I saw two flocks of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead towards the north, to Horicon I hope.:)

Thank you again for the great information! I hope you are enjoying yourself down there. It is hard to beat Florida for bird photography.

Best regards,


Mark Fuge
03-17-2010, 09:37 AM
Good Luck, Tim.

I see where Milwaukee is expecting another snow storm, so check the weather before your trip.

My wife is a Chitown girl, so I know the area down there as well. Your trip can be a lot of fun, or a waste of time. Depends on the weather and your intended subjects. If landscape is included, you might luck out with the snow. :D

Tim Theisen
03-17-2010, 05:50 PM

Thanks for the heads up. I had not heard about a possible snow storm. Based on your advice it might be wise to delay my trip. I appreciate all your help. Looking forward to heading up there, but I can be patient.