Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Eagles of Wabasha

I recently stumbled upon a Twin Cities Photography group through I went to my first social gathering the other night at a local bar/bowling alley down the road from me. And they happen to have another activity today that I joined in on. Today's meetup was "The Eagles of Red Wing". Red Wing is about an hour and a half from my house and the meet up time was set for 6:45am. Which is why I waited til the last minute to decide if I was going to go or not... that meant I needed to get up at 4:45, which I have a hard enough time making it to work by 8am. But I knew I would be kicking myself if I didn't, and getting up in the morning for something you're excited for isn't that bad. I remember as a kid and having to get drug out of bed for family vacations. Even though I'd be stumbling down the hallway with my pillow in tow, bumping into my zombie brothers, it was still fun knowing we were going on a trip. And that's how this morning was, my alarm went off and I had the familiar feel of "no not again, just a little bit longer" then looked at my alarm and had a weird feeling of "why is my alarm going off at 4:45am?!?" then a happy feeling of "AH yes, I'm going to shoot eagles today" and that got me up real quick. Even though I set all my camera stuff out ready to go the night before, I still managed to take forever and pulled out of the garage at 5:22am, that's twenty two minutes AFTER I was wanting to. But it ended up being perfect timing.

Driving to a photo spot, is much like hunting. I got up before the sun, to be in place before the sun, to 'shoot' these creatures. I changed my mind about wearing my snow pants because I didn't want to be too noisy. It's the excitement of the 'hunt' but unlike hunting my shooting doesn't kill them, but helps preserve their beautiful being :-)
morning 1

We met at Colvill park in Red Wing.
morning trees

It was a beautiful calm morning, but the sun never really came out. I actually started to get discouraged because we saw maybe two eagles fly overhead. And they were flying too fast for me to get one and it was too dark for my pictures to turn out.

After a little wait time, about four of us decided to we travel 40 minutes south to another spot called Read's Landing which is just north of Wabasha. We had heard before hand that Colvill Park hasn't had much turn out, but since it was our designated meet spot, we met up there anyway.
photog guys

Read's Landing was much more successful. (look in the trees)
the other side

Granted they were on the other side of the river and my camera lens only reaches so far (it was zoom out in the photo above to give you perspective)... it was still a super fun experience.
soaring trees

They were EVERYWHERE! It was awesome!
soaring trees 2

The eagles come to Wabasha to eat. When winter comes they head south looking for food and Wabasha is one of the first places they come to with open water. They don't like to go farther than they need to which is why they usually stop here. It is the connection of two rivers which causes the water to remain open. read more
fly like an eagle

There was a little spot in the water that they kept landing on, probably hunting for fish.
landing spot

A little later in our watch a crow stole the spot while one was out fishing. I don't think the eagles like this because they kept swarming around it waiting for the crow to leave, it was funny. The crow would not budge.
fight for the spot

I call this one FG Eagle, because it reminds me of the Fair Grove Eagles signs all through my high school :-P

After my face was frozen and my index finger went numb, a few of us headed back to our cars and decided to migrate even farther south.
railroad eagle

Not much farther, we just went the four miles into the town of Wabasha, near the National Eagle Center. Hoping to get to a narrower spot in the river and get us closer to the eagles.
red barn

We saw a few more here
w eagles post

Nearly 100 bald eagles live in the town of Wabasha and can be seen year round.
w eagles

All adult eagles (both males and females) have white heads and white tales, that they get in their fourth or fifth year of life. read more
w eagles 2

It began to snow on us and after over 200 pictures we figured we'd had enough eagle time.
river in wabasha

So me and two others walked back into the little town and decided to stop and get some coffee at a little cafe.
snowy wabasha

We had a nice chat and warmed up. Then we headed our separate directions. I had a 2 hour drive ahead of me so I moseyed on out of Wabasha. I kept my eye to the east looking for birds in the trees and happened upon a few flying near a pull off area, right near where we stopped in Reads Landing.
before I leave

There he was on the west side of the river just perched up in a tree.
heading out

I got closer and closer, I was actually hoping he'd fly away so I could get some close shots of one flying.
snowy eagle
But he just sat there, posing for me :-)
close up

Warm Wishes!


Leslie said...

awesome pictures of the eagles Daisy!

SaraV said...

That is awesome! Each time I read your blog, it makes me want to get a DSLR even more.

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