The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It's a place to note the things you've seen in the natural world around you. Whether it's weather, bobcats, fish, bugs, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers, or old rocks, nothing is too big or too small, if it's part of the natural world, this is the place to talk about it.The end of December we drove up north hoping to a see a snowy owl that was reported to be hanging out at a lake up there. We got lucky and found the owl no sooner than we arrived which left us with most of the day to check out other areas. We decided to drive east and then follow the Mississippi river back down as it's a great place to see eagles in the winter. They congregate in large numbers around all the locks and dams to fish in the open water just below them.
So please let us know what's going on in your neighborhood and whereabouts that is.
Most winters, as in this one, by the end of December the river is locked in ice except for small areas just below the dams where the turbulence keeps the water ice free. And at the same time many fish, mostly shad, are injured or killed as they are pulled through the gates by the strong currents. Eagles, being fish eaters, are naturally drawn to the area and sometimes gather in the hundreds to take advantage of this winter bonanza. Gulls, mostly ring-billed, are also drawn to the dams for the same reasons and we must have seen five, maybe ten thousand that day, or as bwren would call it, TMTC, (too many to count).
It was a great day and we enjoyed it so much that we turned right around and went back for a second look a few days ago. There were a few less eagles than we saw on the previous trip but more than enough to keep us busy taking pics. And the gulls were still there and still TMTC. We also saw several big rafts of ducks of several species, two small flocks of white pelicans, and two horned grebes which were new life birds for us, so all in all, another great day for sure.
a bit , well, ok then, far behind some of my fellow bucketeers last year, and off to a slow start again this year I thought I better get busy before bwren hits me over the head, nudges me, so with so many cooperating eagles I thought I'd toss em in a bucket in between replying to comments in my Rusty diary today. So this will make two for January, which still has me running behind some of you folks, but hey, I'm trying......
Hope you enjoy the pics. It sure was fun taking them!