52 degrees Sunny Wind 3mph SW
Under a brilliant blue sky and warm early winter sun, the scene I am looking at right now is one of so many things to be thankful for at this time of Thanksgiving. There are a few white strands of our snow that we got last Saturday still scattered here and there.
Sitting on the ice of a half frozen lake is a huge mature bald eagle.
Across the lake is a groups of beautiful white swans swimming in the open water.
And also on the blue open water and in moving 'clouds of white' above the lake are thousands of noisy seagulls.
There is a flock of about Canada geese in the water and on the ice yesterday.
But unfortunately no loons in sight.
Just now another eagle landed on the ice a little way from the first eagle. This one is an immature eagle without the white head and tail feathers. I wonder if these are the same two eagles that gave the coots such a scare and such fits a couple weeks ago.
The mature eagle can obviously see something through the thin ice.
He looks down through the ice and lifts one of his feet with talons extended as if he is ready to grab a fish. If only he could figure out what this strange hard glasslike stuff is that keeps him from reaching the fish. It is humorous to watch.
The immature eagle flaps his wings and rises about the ice a foot or two and then settles back down. The behavior is identical to when an immature eagle is testing his wings in the nest. Or can he too see fish through the ice and is trying to figure out how to get them. He looks down as he repeats the behavior several times.
But this scene is just a reminder of how beautiful life is and how much God has placed all around us to be thankful for.
Check out the USGS Loon Migration page at http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/terrestrial/migratory_birds/loons/migrations.html
Most of the loons are now migrating but 5 loons are hanging tough and are still on their home territories. The weather for the next few days is predicted be very mild so that will not be a great encouragement to the loons to move. But as soon as it turns colder, the rest of them will also be on their way. There is always a danger that a fast cool down and freeze up of the lakes could trap a loon who does not leave soon enough.
Already 4 of the loons are on the ocean - three on the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida and one on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.
So from under a brilliant blue sunny sky on a half frozen Minnesota lake of ice and skyblue open water - with eagles and swans and geese and seagulls - the best to each of you. Does life get much better than this?
May you stop today to consider the blessings that God has given you and placed all around you if you will just take the time to stop and look. And to be thankful for family and friends.
And to our friends outside of the United States, may this also be your day and time of thanksgiving.
[Change that. One hour later, FOUR eagles on the ice! One mature eagle and 3 immature eagles. And more swans have arrived also. Now there are more than 50 beautiful swans.]