Unexpected Bald Eagles

This-morning I set out to Montrose again but this time wrapped up in a couple of layers - a cold front had passed through and the temperature had dropped, coupled with a stiff NW wind, it felt quite a bit colder!

Though I tried a little later on, it wasn't a day for the dunes area - birds were most active on the south side of the hedge unsurprisingly and there were still plenty around including plenty of Magnolias and a few Parulas. At one point we had Yellowthroat, Wilson's, Blackpoll, Cape May, Yellow-rumped, Magnolia, Nashville, Parula and Redstart in one tree at the same time. Nearby I also had a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Parula Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Whilst photographing the above, a Pine Siskin flew in calling, landing on the top of a tree. Could just about make out that it was a juvenile and a very early one by all accounts. Still a fwe Goldfinches around but a juvenile Cooper's Hawk was patrolling the area so birds were understandably wary.

American Goldfinch
I then set off for a 2 1/2 hour drive to the bend in the Illinois River at Hennepin. I was a little disappointed when I got there as most of the water had been drained from the lake - this had left lots of muddy puddles which were just to far even with a scope. There is a very impressive observation tower which I took advantage of but the wind was a significant problem. There were birds out there, a flock of at least 200 peeps and sandpipers just too far out of reach. I could certainly make out Killdeers and Blue-winged Teal.

I walked south along the 'lakeside' path and was very pleasantly surprised to get two Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Then whilst scanning a large flock of distant Ring-billed Gulls, a juvenile Bald Eagle flew in front of me but was lost behind the trees quite quickly. I was very happy but even more so when sauntering back to the car, TWO immature Bald Eagles circled above my head. Now by now you'll have realised I'd made the classic mistake of leaving the camera in the car! Aaargh!

I'm taking a hotel in the area tonight and will be back looking for all sorts of stuff tomorrow with luck.


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