My friend Dwayne and I went on a photographic-themed trip today with only one goal: to photograph eagles. American Bald Eagles to be exact.
This is my second trip in as many years with Dwayne. I’ve been doing this for several years prior as a solo venture. It’s much more fun to do along side a friend, especially one as good at spotting birds as Dwayne is.
We had read that the eagle count was still good near Alton and Pere Marquette State Park. This is the first time either of us had gone to that location as a source of eagles. I usually have gone to one of the Lock & Dam installations on the Mississippi river, the one at Clarksville, MO in fact. Based on our experience today, we’ll be going back to this area next winter.
As soon as we arrived at the Great River Road, we saw three eagles, two mature and one immature (the immature Bald Eagle does not have a white head). That was a great welcome. We got out and were treated to two of the birds taking off in flight after we had opportunity to get some good photographs. One stayed behind and just kept looking, at us, at the river and all around.
We went north from there and saw another large mature bird, this one. It was alone in the tree. It was standing watch over the river, looking for a good meal to swim by, perhaps. We didn’t bother it much. In fact, I kept getting closer, and that is how I got this image.
We went further north, but by the time we got to Pere Marquette State Park, there were no eagles in sight. The guide at the park headquarters said that our report of sightings was unusual, that others had been reporting no sightings. By that time, we had counted eight of the mighty birds.
We did spot what appears to be an amazing cluster of eagle’s nests, on an island in the Mississippi River. That’s a good sign that these birds will be back next year. So will we.