I usually spend part of New Year’s Day birding. I admit one of the reasons? Often my Nebraska Cornhuskers are playing in a bowl game that day. In recent years (decades?) they have been too stressful to watch, particularly in a bowl game. Hence, going birding gives me a reason to avoid seeing/hearing about the game. (Yeah, I know, that’s messed up..).
I missed New Year’s Day this year, going a day late! I don’t go down to Gavin’s Point Dam on the Nebraska/South Dakota border all that often, perhaps once a year. But it is a good place to bird in the fall and early winter. The most obvious attraction are Bald Eagles. Taking photos of Bald Eagles at Gavin’s Point Dam in winter truly is like shooting fish in a barrel at times. Not only are there good numbers around, but they’re often perched in a strip of trees that’s squeezed in between the Missouri River and the road, on the Nebraska side. With the steep bluff and cottonwoods lining the steep shoreline, the eagles like to hang out on branches that overlook the water, giving them an opportunity to swoop out and capture a fish (or sometimes unfortunate waterfowl) found right below the dam.
I have a lot of Bald Eagle photos,as they truly are a pretty easy to find species in South Dakota, but I would guess that about half of my photos are from the Gavin’s Point Dam area. I didn’t stay long yesterday, only hanging around the dam area for about an hour or so, but as always, I was able to get a few Bald Eagle photos. There were about a dozen hanging around, along with a few very big groups of ducks in open spots on Lake Yankton below the dam. A nice first birding trip for 2016!