Catch the eagles in Winneconne as they congregate along open water on the Wolf River. Up to a dozen or more eagles have been spotted on the river, dancing through the skies over downtown and resting on the ice, waiting to snatch a careless duck or passing fish from the current. Along with the eagles, hundreds of diving ducks can be seen here, along with gulls and even a swan that occasionally makes an appearance. / Rob Zimmer/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
While the Fox River has remained frozen in many areas for much of winter, limiting the number of eagles congregating in the Valley compared to previous years, open water along the Wolf River in Winneconne has been a big draw for eagle watchers locally.
Up to a dozen or more majestic bald eagles have been spotted on the edge of the ice along the river in Winneconne, delighting visitors to restaurants here, such as the Fin and Feather, where diners can enjoy a great meal and watch eagles soaring and diving right outside the window.
From the bridge over the Wolf, hundreds of diving ducks raft in the open water below, feeding upon small fish and mollusks and apparently quite successful from the many catches I was able to watch in my short visit there this week.
Despite a strong south wind and light rain, the busy ducks dove constantly for food along the river bottom, emerging with bills full of small fish. The waters here are currently so clear that the gleaming white and black ducks can be seen as they propel themselves through the water with their giant, webbed feet.
Immediately upon rising from the depths below, the ducks are harassed by hungry gulls that also swarm the waters here, waiting to snatch away any morsels brought up from the river bottom.
Watching all the action, bald eagles sat in formation along the ice, waiting for an opportunity to snatch a careless duck or large, winterkilled fish that might happen to float by.
Both north and south of the bridge, eagles patrolled the water’s edge, often lifting into powerful flight to make a few rounds of the area and scan the clear waters from above.
Lifting from the ice, the huge birds sweep through the skies on powerful wings, often diving and chasing one another in amazing aerial displays. Elsewhere, eagle sentries can be seen perched in the trees lining the river to the south, and even more birds line the willows and cottonwoods along shore to the north.
From time to time, the birds come in close, dancing through the skies in loops and dives. Occasionally, the birds alight on the ice right beneath the bridge, delighting those who stop by to photograph the birds.
As the open water widens here, the concentrated waterfowl have more room to move, and their numbers will continue to increase through spring when more and more diving ducks return from the south.
The eagles, meanwhile, will move north with the open water, and soon, begin to nest.
— Rob Zimmer: 920-419-3734, email@example.com