My choosing that day to drive down and see Bald Eagles brought a sort of catch-22 with it. I wanted a 'warm' day so my hands and the digital camera wouldn't freeze stiff shortly after leaving the car...but a warm day also meant the eagles weren't hunkered in the trees after breakfast, just sitting around conserving their strength like they do in bitter cold weather. On Saturday the 31st, they were quite active, and if there were trees somewhere with a bunch of eagles just a'sittin--I never found them.
It was such a treat to make a third visit to the region in the last 12 months. I'd passed through during the spring on PPP1, and then I'd come down again on my third autumn excursion, to see the glorious colors. But it had been many years since I'd last been down during the winter, and a more beautiful day could hardly be found.
Started my day down by the Mississippi in Wabasha itself, and got to enjoy a flock of Canada Geese taking off and flying near the bridge. There were eagles around, but they were in the bottomlands across the main branch of the Mississippi from the town, and even at maximum zoom they were hardly that close.
I headed over to the Wisconsin side for a bit, and while I did see a pair of odd hang-glider-like planes, I didn't see any eagles. So crossed back over to Wabasha and headed north to the Read's Landing area that various websites recommended.
That was the highlight of the trip. Found a trampled path leading away from the pull-out and got fairly close to an eagle perched in a tree before he got fed up with me and flew away. Crossed the railroad tracks and made my way right down to the river's edge. It was gorgeous down there. The sky and the water were a lovely pale blue and all the white snow--just delicious. I sat on a very cold rock and took photos and a movie (hence my new avatar) of the eagles as they flew around.
My last destination was Frontenac State Park, since I have a pass for a year, may as well use it! Lovely views from the 400 ft/122 m bluffs, as well as a pair of eagles flying around over the park itself. I wasn't expecting to see any near Frontenac, as the Mississippi is frozen over around there, but my closest sighting was actually as I approached the area, when one swooped fairly close to my car.
Can't close out this post without mentioning the other thing I saw gobs of, on a warm Saturday at the end of January: ice fishers and ice-fishing houses. They were out in droves, all along the Mississippi. I know it might sound odd to you Europeans and Australians, but ice-fishing in a shack, of various levels of luxury, is a Minnesota pastime. I'd rather the eagles catch the fish, however. ;)
((All the photos I've uploaded can be seen here including some not linked in the text above. Most eagle shots are blurry/grainy because my camera was cold and I was at maximum zoom.))