Friday, February 19, 2010

Golden Eagles in Buffalo County WI

Last month, 60 Golden Eagles were spotted in Buffalo County during the 6th annual winter Golden Eagle count.  With the uncertainty of icy rural roads, snow and my Prius brakes, I'd been reluctant to go look for them.  Today I had great weather and no excuses.  I hopped in the Prius and headed over to State Road 88, near Gilmantown to look for Goldens.

The Coulees were full of Bald Eagles, perched in naked deciduous trees at the edge of farm fields.   We spotted several flocks of juncos, horned larks, tree sparrows and crows apparently feeding on weed seeds recently uncovered along the roadsides by the county snow plows.  Wild Turkeys foraged in the cornfields full of stunted stalks left unharvested after last summer's drought.

But despite my stealth Prius, the birds took off before I could open the car window. 

We spotted lots of raptors in Praag Valley between Gilmantown and Czechville.

Red-tailed Hawks.  

A dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk tipping his tail then lightening his load (note the white mute) before take-off.

But no Golden Eagles.

Our consolation prize?  Five Ring-necked Pheasants, close-to-the-road.

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