Our first stop in Sauk was the birding overlook adjacent to the Wisconsin river. Unfortunately it was about 10F, and it was snowing. Eagles just like many other birds, in this kind of weather, tend to hunker down on a perch and wait for things to improve, weatherwise, so there wasn't a single Eagle fishing and cavorting in this typical Eagle spot. While I was checking the opposite tree line. Mark struck up a conversation with a local resident who happened to be walking by.
That is how we got the news that several eagles had been observed perched in tree's by the river, near the the village's sewage treatment facility. Needless to say this was a spot not notated on the official information, so directions in hand we headed for the water treatment plant.
As we drove into the parking lot, the view from the photo above, I spied a suspiciously eagley shape way over in the trees.
To spot the Eagle, first find the little orange sign that says Eagle buffer zone mid-photo. Follow the sign directly up and it leads to a tree trunk in the distance. Follow the tree trunk up until two large perpendicular branches veer off to the left. Just above the topmost of the two is a tiny shape, that is a Bald Eagle. Hunkered down indeed.
A closer view but not terribly clear as number one it is snowing, and two, this guy isn't making it easy for us either by perching behind all those twigs. In fact the spot I was standing in was the only angle from the parking lot, the farthest one was allowed to go near the eagles as it was a buffer zone, where this crafty fellow could be seen.
A marginal increase in clarity but enough to see that this bird is mature and is at least four years old. The clues, a fully white head and tail, and no pale splotches to speak of on the body.
After our visit, to the center of the festivities, we hopped back into the car with another tip from a local Eagle watcher about yet another less often visited Eagle viewing spot.
After veering away from the river for a few miles the river veered back toward the highway and yes, there was still open water here.
The Canada Geese were down on the ice taking care of some preening responsibilities.
Juncos waited patiently in the falling snow for things to take a better tack.
As did this male Cardinal... we got to a spot where the water could be seen without too much vegetative interference and I started scanning the far tree line. Ta da!
There, far, far away, but present, was I'd surmise a three year old American Bald Eagle staring at us.
Finding our presence acceptable, she went back to her business of scanning a particular area.
And scanned some more.
What is she looking at?
A Crow takes off, but that 's not it. Though we have noticed that the Crows seem to perch near the Eagles, possibly to be handy should the Eagle make a kill, and the conceivable opportunity of of taking some for themselves.
Ah, what's this? A group of Common Goldeneyes napping en masse and floating with the current. Perhaps the Eagle is considering a duck lunch? And as everyone has their head tucked who's watching out for the Eagle?
Ah, ha! This fellow some yards ahead and fully awake must be the group's sentinel.
Suddenly Mark called, "He's heading for the water! The brush is in the way I can't see if he hit the water for fish or not, now he's on the ice." And in a few seconds...
The bird has taken to the air again, though I don't see any obvious prey.