There were a half dozen Tundra Swans in the ever-shrinking circle of ice-free water at Rieck's Lake Park in Alma, Wisconsin on Thursday afternoon (December 3). Just up the road, there were 2,000 or more close to shore at Cedar Ridge Resort near Nelson.
With the temperatures hovering around 24-degrees Farenheit, it would be just a matter of days before the inevitable - the shallows will be covered by ice and the waterfowl will have to leave.
The inevitable happened today at Rieck's Lake Park. The Buffalo River shallows are iced-over and covered with a light dusting of snow.
Up the road at Cedar Ridge Resort, the open water in the Mississippi backwaters had diminished significantly, concentrating several thousand waterfowl - ducks, geese and swans. With snow in the forecast for early this week, this may be the last weekend for waterfowl in Pool 4.
The Tundras will head east to the Chesapeake Bay and Outer Banks of North Carolina. The ducks and geese will push south.
The next spectacle is waiting in the wings - the over-wintering congregation of Bald Eagles along the Mississippi River from Lake City and Pepin south to the lock and dam in Alma.
Let the "chittering" begin!