Bald Eagles – Lock and Dam 14 . . . Again

So Thursday of last week, on my day off, my friend Percy and I ventured off to Lock and Dam 14 in LeClaire, IA for some eagle viewing. The weather forecast wasn’t very promising when I went to bed on Wednesday night, but for once, the weather forecasters were wrong in our favor. It was an absolutely beautiful sunny day. Cold, but sunny.
We left my place around 10AM, and arrived at Lock and Dam 14 at or near 1PM. There were eagles in the trees behind us, and we were there all alone for a while. Sweet! So we put on our cold weather gear, get our camera bodies, lenses, and other assorted photographer junk <together, and start taking pictures. We had all kinds of equipment this day. I brought my D300 with my 70-200 2.8, and a 300 2.8 that I rented from Calumet Photographic, my employer (so I got a healthy discount on the rental). Percy brought a 1DMarkII, a 1DsMarkIII, a 300 2.8, and 2 different telescopes! Yes, Percy is an astronomer, and he uses telescopes to photograph nature. He runs the observatory at Harper College in Palatine. He even let me take a couple of photos with the thing. (see image to the right)
My cousin Jon showed up shortly after we arrived, and the 3 of us took photographs all afternoon. Some of the highlights of the day were:
  1. To finally get shots of an eagle having lunch up in a tree, with a blue sky background.
  2. Capturing images of 2 eagles fighting in mid air.
  3. Capturing images of a juvenille eagle trying to carry a fish that weighed more than he did.
  4. Being dive bombed by an adult American Bald Eagle. No kidding, the bird flew right over us, and dropped his fish almost on our heads.

After almost 4 hours of photographing eagles, we finally headed out for gas and food, and then made the drive back home to Chicago. We stopped at Village Inn in Bettendorf, and as we left the restaurant, Percy was trying to take pictures of the I74 bridge as the sun set against it. So I drove across the street, and down to the riverfront where we noticed a gorgeous sunset, complete with a couple of trees to frame it up. Percy got some great sunset shots, some great bridge shots, and even some shots of a barge as it went under the bridge. Then we noticed some snow geese, and they even walked up to the car to get their picture taken!