Well, there you go. The above photo pretty much describes Wisconsin in winter. At least, western Wisconsin anyway. Snow, cornfields, hills, ect. One thing it does not describe though, is just how cold it can get here in the upper midwest. Last Sun, the temperatures started out in the usual 15-20 degree range. Pretty normal for Wisconsin this time of year. Then, on Monday, the temperatures dropped, sharply. The high temperature balanced on edge in the single digits on Monday and Tuesday and then fell off the edge. Tuesday night, the temperature got down to -20. That's a bit of a chilly night for Wisconsin. We get one or two of those nights every year, but not for very long. Usually only one night. On Wednesday, the temperature struggled to get to the zero degree mark. That night the temps dropped again. This time it was -26. A bit colder.
Yesterday (Thursday) the temps decided not to break the -5 degree mark, hovering around -6 all day. Thursday night, we had one of the coldest nights I've ever seen. 36 degrees below zero! Now that's COLD! Windchills on Wednesday and Thursday dropped down to 40 below and in some places 50 degrees below zero! Windchill this morning was about -50.
Naturally, all the public schools in the state were closed both yesterday and today. Businesses were closed, activities canceled, people just stayed home. I have been told that Minnesota closed all their schools and schools in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio were closed.
Thus the saying goes "You know you're from Wisconsin if school has ever been canceled because of extreme cold."
Anyway, enough about cold for now. I will be making one more post about cold sometime soon, that is, if I can get my video program to work right.
Getting to the subject at hand:
Today, I completed my section of the annual Golden Eagle survey that is run by Scott Mehus who is program specialist of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota.
My section covered the area North of US Hwy 14, East of La Crosse, West of Cashton and south of I-90.
It was a beautiful day (albeit cold) to be out and birding. I saw several Red-tailed Hawks, quite a few Rough-legged Hawks including one beautiful Dark-morph, one Northern Harrier, one immature Bald Eagle and one beautiful adult Golden Eagle.
Out of all the eagles on the planet, Golden has always been, and always will be, my favorite eagle.
I'll leave you with a little photo quiz to bend your brains around. Time of year and location are in small print under the photo:
late winter, Wisconsin
I'll post the answer (if it hasn't been answered, otherwise I'll declare a winner) sometime next week. Good luck!