It was a sunny, beautiful day in the low 20s with a bone-chilling southwest wind. Roughly three dozen people attended. The lower lake was roughly 50% frozen, but slowly freezing up again. The upper lake was 90-95% frozen, including Forebay.
There were several clear highlights. We saw the first Red-throated Loon we have ever seen on our early February trips (roughly 20-25 yrs). Marj RInes reported seeing 2 in bad light. We had good views of a drake Hooded Merganser and a female Common Merganser swimming and in flight, and more distant views into the sun of several dozen Common Mergs.
We spent around 80 minutes at the dam and then went up to Fore Bay and walked to the Aberjona. The clear highlight was having a subadult Bald Eagle (white head and tail, but dark smudging with a dark eyestripe and a narrow dark terminal band on the tail, with some vertical streaking). The eagle came in low right in front of us and then started soaring slowly in front of us. As forecast, it attracted a local, territorial Redtail who began stutter flapping over the eagle and then flying on its tail. THe eagle dropped down and eventually disappeared behind the canopy, while another Redtail got up and started acting territorial. The other highlight was seeing territorial Redtails (three adults) soaring together, drifting northeast over the Upper Lake. Ended up looking like a male territorial on the west side of the lake was escorting another male and a female out of his territory, back to the parkway side, where they soared without intrusion. After the eagle disappeared, we had a different pair of Redtail soaring west of the male sentry, so a total of five Redtails soaring on a beautiful winter's day for soaring.
The intense cold and heavy ice-up in December and January considerably reduced the variety of waterfowl and waterbirds we saw ()including noticeably no cormorants, esp Great Cormorants, and no Great Blue Heron) and we did not look actively for woodland birds.