Friday, January 29, 2010

Eagles & Trumpeter Swans on the Upper Mississippi

It was seasonably cold today - by noon the temperature was sunny 16ºF.   A great day to go check out the eagles down the road along the Mississippi River.

Tom and I hopped into the Toyota Prius and headed west, then north from Wabasha towards Lake City.  We hit the jackpot at our first stop:  Reads Landing.

Reads Landing is one of the best places in Minnesota to spot bald eagles this time of year.  The flow of water from the Lower Chippewa River and Lake Pepin speeds up as it moves through the narrow channel, keeping the river from freezing from Reads Landing to Wabasha.   Eagles are attracted to places like this - where the river is open and the fishing is good.

We counted over 200 eagles on the ice on both sides of the river...

loafing in trees over-looking the river...
and flying overhead...

... along with goldeneyes, mallards, crows and - I couldn't believe my eyes (I had to roll down my car window and hear their calls) - 2 dozen Trumpeter Swans.

The Trumpeter Swans were a first for me this time of year.

Reads Landing, however, isn't the only place to spot eagles in our neighborhood.  

You can see dozens hanging out in Red Wing's Colvill Park (where the river is heated Xcel Energy Plant).  Look for them in Alma, Wisconsin by the lock and dam.  Arcadia, Wisconsin, home of Ashley Furniture and Gold'n Plump Chicken, is another great place to see Bald Eagles.   Call the Chamber for sighting info before you go... (608) 323-2319.

And in case you didn't know... Buffalo County Wisconsin is a "hot spot" for wintering Golden Eagles.  Sixty Golden Eagles were spotted in the bluffs of Buffalo County on the 6th annual golden eagle survey, Jan 16th! 


1 comment:

  1. Wow! That is just about the coolest thing (and I'm not referring to the weather!) All those bald eagles! Great pictures, too.