Fresh Fish Fast Food
I heard from a friend and confirmed with an on-line forum that bald eagles were feasting on fish at this time of the year on the Mississippi river in Iowa. Birders World magazine listed the Mississippi as the second best place for viewing bald eagles in the USA. It did not take long to convince ourselves that we should spend a few days photographing this unique and exciting event. We quickly made plans, made reservations, packed our gear, drove to Denver International Airport and we were soon on a flight to Chicago. We rented a car and by mid-day we were in Davenport, Iowa in search of eagles. After spending half a day checking out two of the locks on the river (only a few eagles could be seen at these locks and they were too far away for good photography) we finally converged on Lock and Dam 14 in LeClair, Iowa. Thanks to a “network” of local wildlife photographers we learned that Lock and Dam 14 was the best place in the quad city area at that time (mid-January). Lock and Dam 14 is just off of the road with ample parking and a long boardwalk for many, many photographers. We arrived early the next morning and spent the day watching and photographing one of natures exciting spectacles – eagles swooping, diving, and grabbing fish from the river. The weather was dreary (cloud cover and fog) but the company was good (20-30 other photographers) and the location was perfect. We had a front row view as the eagles swooped in parallel to the boardwalk, not more that 150-200 feet away to grab the shad fish that were floating on or near the surface after being stunned on their trip through the dam.
When there were not enough fish to interest the eagles and therefore no fishing activity, some eager visitors would hurl fresh bait fish out into the river. The eagles could not resist these easy targets. Is this cheating or assisting nature?
~ by richardseeley on February 18, 2010.
Posted in Photo Adventures, Stories
Tags: "fast food", adventure, animal, attacking, bald eagle, beak, bird, crusader, diner, eye, fast, fish, fishing, flight, flying, food, fresh, Iowa, LeClair, Lock 14, lock and dam, lock and dam 14, lunch, mississippi, nature, places, predation, predator, prey, reflection, river, shad, talons, waiting, watching, water, wild, wildlife, wing