Eagles in the Fog

Following a chilly night in Central Missouri, banks of dense fog enveloped Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area yesterday morning.  As the fog began to lift and drifted toward the wooded hills, the scene mimicked that of a wildfire, with clouds of smoke shrouding the bluffs.

From those clouds, two adult bald eagles soared into a patch of blue sky, cavorting above the floodplain and giving every indication that they appreciated the crisp autumn air as much as I did.  Farther south, another bald eagle chased an osprey from the refuge and a fourth lounged in a cottonwood, watching a trio of pied-billed grebes as they dove for their breakfast.  Other sightings included northern harriers, great blue herons, great egrets, wood ducks, killdeer, belted kingfishers and restless flocks of red-winged blackbirds.

By mid morning the fog banks had burned away and bright sunshine bathed the refuge, highlighting the early autumn colors that paint much of the landscape.  Within a week or two the waterfowl migrations will commence, peaking in November as a diverse assembly of grebes, ducks and geese stop to rest and feed along the Missouri River.  Of course, the resident eagles are looking forward to their arrival as well.