I had decided to rev up my new birding hobby by persuading my friend Mr. Science to join me at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha for the annual Golden Eagle Count. To my surprise, Golden Eagles are found wintering here in the Mississippi Valley. Unfortunately, he couldn't make it, so we decided to branch out on our own the following Friday. We stopped by the Eagle Center to get some ideas on routes to take where we might see the Goldens. There were learned that sixty Goldens had been spotted, the previous weekend, in Minn. Iowa, and Wisconsin . On to Wisconsin!!
We made a waystop near Reeds landing where we spotted six Balds and a host of the usual waterfowl including common goldeneyes and Canada geese. Then it was across the Wabasha Bridge over The Big River and south towards Alma. We turned left and headed into the coulee country east of Alma. There we spotted perhaps another half of a dozen Balds in the next couple of hours before we started thinking about lunch. "Where should we go," I asked somewhat naively. "Hey every little town in Wisconsin has at least one bar," I was informed. So there ahead in the distance appeared to be a small crossroads.
As we approached the town's outskirts, I noticed some buildings and a fence line stretching toward the east. "There's a huge flock of crows in the trees on that fence line up ahead," I pointed out . As we approached, the "crows" seemed to be growing in size.
Stopping, we got out and scanned with our binocs. They were definitely Balds and my partner began counting till he reached over fifty. It was then that I noticed what appeared to be a hog confinement building along the road ahead of us. There were also some eagles on the ground in the alfalfa field behind the buildings and adjacent to the fence.We decided to approach closer by pulling the car ahead about a hundred yards. Now we could see clearly behind the building. There were dozens of Balds on the ground, some in a literal pile, where they were swarming and jumping in the air. This reminded me of one of those African documentaries where you see vultures clambering on the dead carcass of an antelope.
We also spotted two birds on the ground somewhat separated from the others that we thought might be Goldens. In the half hour we watched this amazing sight, they never took flight, so we were unable to confirm their identity.Finally, we left drove ahead into town to find (sure enough) a bar and grill. We had lunch with a view, including watching eagles flying back and forth across the highway and roosting in a churchyard next to the bar. . Upon asking our waitress if seeing so many eagles here was a common sight, she informed us that they were "here all winter due to the chicken farm." I am sure there were at least over a hundred eagles in the immediate area. "What an amazing day!"
Great story! We get balds here in the winter time as they like the fishing in the fresh waters and wetlands all around the Great Salt Lake. On one outing my granddaughter and I counted 127 total. A couple of nesting pairs stay year round. I can sure relate to the thrill of your sighting.ReplyDelete
Neat picture! That's more than we saw in our entire trip last week. Ruthie and I were going to go on that Golden Eagle survey too but we cancelled because of the rotten weather forecast. I really hope to go next year. I had heard about the chicken gut dumping drawing eagles.ReplyDelete
By golly, I'd say it was!!! Amazing is what came to my mind as I read of your adventure, good for you for being in awe & good for us that you shared it. Wow.ReplyDelete
OH MY GOODNESS!! I have NEVER seen so may eagles together except for this last while on the blogs. Here we are lucky to see 2 together. What a wonderful sight!! The Goldens are almost as beautiful as the Balds. Thanks for sharing Troutbirder. That was definitely a good day.ReplyDelete
I'm jealous! We've had about 10 BE's around here this winter, and I've seen a pair of Goldens. But never EVER anything like you're describing here. I'd love to make the trip and see that sometime. I'll have to sweet talk hubby - if we have any $$ left when the recession is done with us! Did you read my response to your comment on your other blog? Out of every 100 photos I take, I usually have only or or two I deem worth keeping! Your're hilarious, and thanks for the compliment!ReplyDelete
WOW what a treat for you. I have never, I repeat never, seen an Eagle here!!! I'm definitely green with envy.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a great day for eagle watching! I'm with flydragon - we never see eagles here, Bald or Golden!ReplyDelete
WOW! I got my first sight of a bald eagle last year in New Hampshire and I thought that was something. No comparison.ReplyDelete
Great story & pics! Eagles are grand birds, scavengers though they be. They've been returning here and are beginning to build up there nests. Food is scarce, but they make do on the cattle calving grounds (afterbirths).ReplyDelete
Sounds like a great day. We never know what we will find.ReplyDelete
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Wow,...I have yet to see ONE bald outside of captivity,.. I'm envious!ReplyDelete
Wow. Wow. Wow!!! Now, that was a good day indeed!ReplyDelete
An amazing day indeed! Wow, I think I want directions to that diner or the chicken farm..lol. How I would love to see that many eagles and golden to boot!! Glad you decided to go and share your experience with us!!ReplyDelete
Loved it!! :)
What an amazing sight! I'm envious!ReplyDelete
Great story and well told! Thanks for stopping by "Our Neck of the Woods" and leaving your nice comment re:Bird Photography Weekly.ReplyDelete
Great story. I am going back to see if I can spot a bald eagle in a couple of weeks.ReplyDelete
Lucky you! That will be a day to remember.ReplyDelete
I'm pretty sure we saw a juvenile golden eagle over here by the Boy Scout camp a couple weeks ago. It was a huge bird and when it took off to fly the white patches on the underside of its wings were clearly visible.ReplyDelete
Lucky you seeing all those eagles. We drove the WI side as well but didn't see the area you described. Where was it so I can make a note for next year.ReplyDelete
Great shot of the full tree. My DH hunts coyotes and he always says the best place to find them is by confinement barns :-)
It's nice to see all of those eagles hanging out and enjoying the end of winter. Such large groups are always worth visiting.ReplyDelete
Guess those eagles know which side their bread is buttered on, eh? :)ReplyDelete