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Tag Archives: Bald Eagles

Last weekend we drove through Crex Meadows. We were hoping to see Sandhill Cranes but we didn’t see a single crane. The flowages were frozen so most of the waterfall were gone. We did see quite a few birds of prey in the meadows.¬† Bald Eagles were perched near Phantom Lake and we saw more out in the flowages.

We also saw quite a few Rough-legged Hawks hunting. These are some of the best pictures I’ve gotten of Rough-legged Hawks.

As we drove past one of the lakes we noticed bear tracks going out on to the lake. I measured them and they were 4 X 6 inches.

We found one lone Trumpeter Swan hanging out on a small area of open water by one of the flowage dams.

As we drove toward home we did notice Sandhill Cranes in some of the fields. There was snow on the ground and it looked like most of the crops had not been harvested from the fields so there could have been many more cranes in the fields.

Yesterday we drove up to Crex Meadows to check out the bird activity. Normally the Crex Meadows web site provides a summary of bird activity but the staff has been cut from five to two and they don’t always have the time to update the report. We had planned on spending the night but found there were not that many birds around so we just drove through the Meadows before heading back home. Almost none of the fields south of town have been harvested so it is difficult to find the birds in the fields although if you look hard you can find them in open areas.

This Meadowlark kept flying in front of the car and I was finally able to get a shot of it after three or four attempts.

Meadowlark

Grebe

There were a pair of immature Bald Eagles hunting along Phantom Lake road as we drove out of the Meadows.

Bald Eagles

We didn’t see many Sandhill Cranes. They could have been out feeding in the fields but as I mention it was hard to find them.

Sandhill Cranes

American Coots

It doesn’t look like the fall colors are going to be all that great. Many of the leaves seem to be turning brown and dropping this year.

This past weekend the temperature was in the 60’s so we started to get an itch to go hiking. Unfortunately the trails around home were either closed or very wet. We decided to drive down to Perot State Park in Trempealeau, Wisconsin. Perot is a little further south and they have a number of great trails that are largely south facing. It was a great day of hiking and allowed us to get some much needed exercise.

What was really made the day was the number of eagles we saw on the trip as we drove along the Mississippi River. We saw a few on the drive over to Nelson but between Nelson, Wisconsin and Trempealeau, Wisconsin we saw well in excess of 50 eagles. It was the most eagles we have ever seen in a single day.

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With the leaves still off of the trees it was easy to spot eagle nests. In most cases there were eagle sitting in the tree besides the nest.

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The weather was nice so we decided to take another road trip along the Mississippi River looking for birds. The main goal was to find Bald Eagles but Trumpeter Swans and ducks were also fair game. Our first stop was Wabasha but we didn’t see any. We can usually find them in the trees on the east side of the river but there wasn’t a single bird.

Our next stop was Reads Landing. We spotted six Bald Eagles all flying. On pair was performing¬† synchronized acrobatics. We watched them for quite a while. Unfortunately they were too far away for photographs. This is the first time we haven’t seen any Trumpeter Swans in the area. This is a photo from last year.

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We headed for Red Wing and Colvill Park. Unfortunately we only found a single eagle sitting in a tree. He looked a little disheveled.

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So far things hadn’t gone all that well so we decided to drive up to Miesville, Minnesota and try and find Kings Bar and Grill. A friend said they had great burgers. It would have made things easier if I remembered the name of the town or the name of the restaurant. All I could remember was that the name of the town started with M and the restaurant might be Kings and it was on highway 61 north of Red Wing .

Fortunately we found the place. It was mid afternoon on a Sunday and the place was packed. Luckily we found a table. The service was fast but it took a while to decide on a burger because there were so many choices. Once we ordered we had our meal in a short time. The burgers were great making up for a lousy day of bird watching. Would highly recommend Kings Bar and Grill. We have added it to our places to stop when we are in the area.

This past week we made our last trip looking for large birds. Our initial visit was to Reads Landing along the Mississippi River. We saw a few Bald Eagles but nothing like what we has seen earlier in the year. As we were arriving one flew up into a tree right in front of the car. Just as I was getting out of the car a long train came by and the bird took off. There were also a family of Trumpeter Swans just off shore. There was a lot more open water than there was two weeks ago.

We then headed to Covill Park in Red Wing. On the way we saw a number of Bald Eagles in the Lake Pepin area. When we arrived at Covill Park the temperature was about 40 degrees warmer than it was on our last trip. There was also a lot more open water.Bald-Eagles-14-2-_1391

Most of the Eagles remained on the opposite shore. I noticed two mature eagles sitting in a tree and took their picture. The male seemed to be whispering sweet nothings in the females ear. The next thing I knew they were mating.Bald-Eagles-14-2-_1398

Speaking of mating one pair of eagles in Minnesota has already mated and has started laying eggs. It’s a bit early. This same pair laid their eggs in January last year and the eggs froze and they abandon the nest. They seem to be getting a little closer to getting it right this year. You can follow them on the Minnesota DNR webcam.

A few eagles were fishing but when they caught something they attracted a lot of friends. I suppose it is like winning the lottery you find a lot more friends than you knew you had. The bird with the fish usually ended up dropping it resulting in a skirmish on the ground.Bald-Eagles-14-2-_1468

In between watching the eagles I also watched the many ducks in the area. While I was watching a truck pulled up and all of the ducks started toward shore. Apparently someone comes every day to feed the ducks. There was also a Redheaded Duck hanging around but it was not interested in feeding along shore.Mallard-Duck-14-2-_1430

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After lunch we headed up to Hudson to check on the Trumpeter Swans. There was a lot more open water this time. We could see open water on the other side of the river and the swans seemed to be going back and forth between the two areas. There were also a lot more Canada Geese this time. Until the swans and geese are together you have a hard time appreciating the difference in size.Swans-and-Geese-14-2-_1716

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My wife and I headed out last week to search for Bald Eagles along the Mississippi River. Our first stop was Alma below Lock and Dam number four. Not an eagle to be seen. Our next stop was Reads Landing. We saw only two eagles and didn’t bother to get the camera out.Bald-Eagle-14-2-_1043

We then headed up to Red Wing and Colvill Park. As soon as we pulled into the park we saw an immature Bald Eagle sitting in a tree next to the parking lot. Someone was taking it’s photo. I was able to get some photos of it then went looking for other shots.Bald-Eagle-14-2-_1001

There were about two dozen eagles in the area. A few of them were successful in catching fish but as soon as they landed they attracted other eagles that started battling for the fish. In several cases they lost the fish.Bald-Eagle-14-2-_1057

The immature Bald Eagle returned to a tree near the parking lot so I managed some more photos of it. In talking with another photographer she said that earlier in the morning it had landed on one of the docks and she was able to walk up to within four feet of it.Bald-Eagle-14-2-_1027

Most of my photos were of immature Bald Eagles because those were the ones hanging around the parking area on this particular day.Bald-Eagle-14-2-_1050

They should be around until the end of February when they will disperse to their summer grounds.Bald-Eagle-14-2-_1046

More Bald Eagle photos can be found on my website.

 

Bald-Eagle-14-1-_2164We pulled into the parking lot at Reads Landing and immediately saw a couple of dozen Bald Eagles flying above the open water. Since our last visit the amount of open water had decreased dramatically. Another couple of weeks of cold weather and there will not be any open water at Reads Landing.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_0637

The eagles were working the open water but I didn’t see a single eagle dive into the water. It appeared that there were not any fish near the surface. On our previous visits the eagles were having good luck catching fish. As I understand it, when the river freezes over the eagles head inland to some turkey farms where they manage to find food.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_2124

A pair of eagles seemed to be performing the mating ritual although this usually takes place in February. They chased one another around and at one point were talon to talon.Bald-Eagles-14-1-_2081

More photos from Reads Landing can be found on my website.

My wife and I have been out looking for Bald Eagles on the Mississippi River this Winter. With the cold weather most of the river in our area is frozen over. The eagles have been forced to congregate in areas of open water. Bald-Eagle-14-1-_0632

We have developed a little road trip that takes most of a day. We start out by driving from Menomonie, Wisconsin to Durand, Wisconsin. In Durand we stop at the River Valley Bakery to pick up some artisan bread and pastries. Unfortunately they are closed until the 13th of February. We can’t wait until they open again. When they do open they have limited hours so call ahead.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_0637

Our next stop is Alma, Wisconsin where the eagles gather just below Lock and Dam number 4. The Mississippi River is almost completely frozen in the area so the only open water is found just below the dam. There is an outdoor viewing platform at the lock and dam and Wings over Alma also offers a free viewing deck. The times we have been there we have seen a dozen to over thirty Bald Eagles.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_0632

We then head down to Reads Landing, Minnesota for lunch at the Reads Landing Brewing Company. They have limited winter hours so check their website. At Reeds landing there are usually a large number of Bald Eagles searching for food in the open water. The great thing is that you can have lunch at the brewery and watch the eagles at the same time.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_0634

If you haven’t been to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota you should stop in. They have five captive eagles that are on display and they do daily presentations. Generally you can see wild eagles from the Center. They also have an eagle count on their home page so it is a good way to see where the eagles are gathering. When we stop in Wabasha we try to visit the Olde Triangle Pub for some fine Irish stew. No the eagle is not dining at the Olde Triangle Pub.

Rabbit for Lunch

Rabbit for Lunch