Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Deep Freeze at Eagle Bluffs

The landscape of Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area was especially beautiful this morning; crystal-clear air, bright sunshine and snow-crusted foliage produced spectacular scenery.  On the other hand, the temperature was in the mid teens (F), causing steam to rise from the open pools and injecting patchy fog from the adjacent Missouri River.

Waterfowl, mostly mallards, congregated on what open water remained and large flocks of ducks wheeled above the frozen landscape.  Ten trumpeter swans lounged on an ice covered pool, oblivious of the winter chill, and a single flock of snow geese passed overhead, on their way to less frigid climes.  Several bald eagles and two red-tailed hawks patrolled the floodplain, where massive flocks of red-winged blackbirds scoured the icy fields.

It was nature at its best, combining scenic beauty, the challenges of winter and the fortitude of wildlife.  Watching the activity from the comfort of my heated pickup, I was forced to acknowledge the relative vulnerability of modern man.