I drove the Quad Cities on Thursday, with plans to photograph eagles. That morning, I set out and at about 11AM, I encountered a super thick ice fog. I could barely see to drive. Had the sun not been shining through the ice fog, I wouldn’t have been able to continue. So this lasted for about 45 minutes or so. At some points, traffic almost stopped due to lack of visibility. It was kinda weird. It was also annoying because the forecast said nothing about an ice fog, and it said the sun was suppose to be out. I arrived at the eagle site around 1PM, to find ZERO eagles. I was shocked. So I went to 2 other locations where I found 2. This was odd for late December. I set out again on Saturday, after the snow storm, and again found ZERO at the main site. This time I went to 3 other sites, and found a total of about 10. Again, very odd. Finally on Sunday I went to the main site, and found about 4 eagles there, but they weren’t moving. There were many eagles flying upriver, but they weren’t landing. Just circling high above. I was there for over an hour, and never saw an eagle dive for fish. I don’t know where they went, because I’ve seen photographs from other photographers from that site this year? I guess I’ll try again later. 🙂
I did encounter some new bird species today though. More to add to my life list. I saw a handful of Greater Scoups in breeding colors, and some Canvasbacks. One of my favorite waterfowl species is the Hooded Merganser, and there were a handful of them too.
Lulu Press is offering 40% off for my 2011 Quad Cities Bald Eagle Calendar! That’s insane!!! Take advantage of this before they realize their insanity!
“This American Bald Eagle Calendar, is a collection of American Bald Eagle images photographed entirely in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois. I hope that my bald eagle calendar sets itself apart from other bald eagle calendars out there. I’ve spent a great deal of time in the design and composition of this calendar, for you to enjoy throughout the year. I encourage you to preview the calendar, and flip through the pages to see how my calendar is unique. I hope you like it.”
Last Thursday I took what will probably be my last trip to the Quad Cities for bald eagle photography this season. I actually tried to head down the night before, but got sacked by a pop-up blizzard here in Chicago. Lake effect snow is a pain in the butt! I couldn’t see 5 feet in front of my car due to white out conditions from the snow. So I ended up driving down Thursday morning to arrive around 11:30AM. My dad showed up around 1PM, and we stayed photographing eagles until about 4PM.
It was a picture perfect day for photographing bald eagles. The sun was out all day, the temp was about 30 degrees, and there were plenty of eagles. For the first couple of hours though, there was very little hunting by the eagles. They were mostly kettling high up into the sky on the air currents. Eventually they started to arrive to hunt though, and by about 3PM, there were so many hunting that it became difficult to decide which bird to focus track as they dove, because there were so many. I think the trees they perch in must have had about 30 birds in them by the end of the day. I got some of my best photos this trip, and I even got some good video too. (I’ll be posting that later.)
So at the end of the day, I went home with 650 images on my memory card. After many long hours of reviewing images, and waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting for Photoshop to do it’s thing, I whittled it down to 70 keeper images. Throwing out anything that wasn’t in focus, was a bad pose, had the eagle turned away from the camera, had bad lighting, or whatever. About half of those keepers are posted here on my website, and there are a couple of teasers for you to enjoy in this blog.
Please show your support with a comment on the images or the gallery if you like them. If you REALLY like them, you can buy them to hang on your wall!!! *wink*
This years Quad Cities Eagles Calendar is a collection of my American Bald Eagle images taken entirely in 2009, in the Quad Cities region of Iowa/Illinois. If you’re someone who likes my eagle photography, this is the best way for you to get a collection of my best eagle images for 1 cheap price. I try to make my calendars stand out from others that you see online, by adding eagle facts, trivia, and other information to the calendar pages. I also name each image with it’s corresponding month, so that it’s easily noticable. Some of the images in this calendar have never been seen in this form before, so you’ll be getting something really unique from me. After you click the link below, you’ll be able to preview the calendar pages on the Lulu website. I hope you like it.
If you have friends, family, or know anyone who might like a copy of my calendar, please feel free to cross post the link to my blog, or the direct link to the calendar. I’d really love your help in getting the word out for this years calendar, since I’ve gotten it done in plenty of time for Christmas, and the new year. Thanks for your help everyone!
I only worked 4 hours today for some reason, so I took advantage of it, and bolted from work at 1PM to southern Illinois where the bald eagle nest is that I’ve photographed for the last 3 seasons. I wanted to find out if the eagles would return to this same nest again. They have! I saw 1 eagle when I got there, incubating the eggs (sitting on them in the nest). She just kind of looked around a bit. Not much else happening.
Oh! As I was walking down the road in my work attire on my way to the nest, in my London Fog trenchcoat (I looked like a businessman walking on the side of the road), a couple of attractive women in an SUV stopped because they thought I was broken down somewhere, but then they saw the binoculars around my neck, and realized what I was there for. They too were investigating eagle nests in the area. And wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to give them a business card! Darn!
It looks like the DNR have been prepping the eagle blind too. They’ve built a second viewing platform higher up on the hill, so you get a clear view over the platform below it. They still need to build steps into the hill so people don’t kill themselves trying to get up the hill to the blind. Oh well. At least they’ve built us this little viewing platform. 🙂