It's all waning now, with longer days signalling the earth's gradual tilt to spring. At least KLK and I found a most entertaining way to take advantage of the cold weather while it lasted. All along the upper Mississippi and many of its larger tributaries, instead of migrating, American bald eagles wait out the lean months below locks and dams, which keep the water from freezing over so they can continue to feed on fish. In late January, at the Army Corps of Engineers lock and dam at Utica, and across the Illinois River at Starved Rock State Park, the Illinois Audubon Society hosted Bald Eagle Watch. This view is from above the lock and dam. Impressive ice coverage!
But I did catch one magnificent bird on the wing from the vantage of a high bluff over the river:
Plum Island, an Audubon island sanctuary in the middle of the river, were amazingly full of roosting eagles. Because of the distance and angle of the light coming through the trees, I have no good photos to share, but these Canada geese also availed themselves of the safe harbor, resting on the ice in numbers.
And the white-breasted nuthatch at the suet:
Here's a nice bald eagle caught by the waning sunshine as it flies past Starved Rock.