It's COLD Outside

Roosting high above
Wisconsin River. dwm
Saturday morning, the Weather Channel was in DefCon 4 Storm Mode. From what I could tell, it had something to do with the temperature dropping below 30 in Atlanta and snow falling and piling up along the mid-Atlantic coast.

In southern Wisconsin, it was a fairly balmy day in paradise.  Sunny skies, light winds, and a high temperature of 14 expected.

We drove north 20 miles to check out the local tourists.

Bald Eagles enjoy spending their winters along the Wisconsin River.

"I'm ready for my close up."  dwm
When it gets cold enough for most of the river to ice over, the birds congregate closer to Prairie du Sac because of the hydro-electric dam.  The water coursing through the power plant keeps the water open for the eagles to fish.

Since moving to Madison, each winter includes a trip to Prairie du Sac to check out the Bald Eagles.

The past weekend may have been the best trip yet.  2013  2014  2015  2016

Location, Location,
Location.  dwm
The deep blue skies and the sunshine created a wonderful landscape to search for these incredibly beautiful birds.

There's no telling on the drive up if you will even see the eagles.  It's not like they have an appearance schedule or anything like that.

Second, if the birds are roosting, the next concern is if my camera lens will 'reach' far enough to capture their image.  If they are in range, they might be facing away from my position.

Another variable are other people out looking at the eagles.  Some ignore the signs asking viewers stay in their vehicle so they don't frighten the birds. Others seem oblivious to bird watchers trying to quietly observe the avian visitors.
Looking for breakfast.  dwm

Since it's been seriously cold for more than a week (lows below 20 for more than a week), it was a bit of a surprise how much of the river through Prairie du Sac was still open.

The colder it gets and stays forces the birds to gather closer to areas of the river which stay open on the coldest days.

It was worth bundling up a little and making the short trip to see the snow-birds visiting their winter homes.