A Few Eagles

Molly and I made a dash through Riverlands Monday afternoon based on the weather forecast and how our schedule looked this week. This week my images are on the blog because Molly shot some killers that will probably be in a competition in the future ( call it not tipping her hand 🙂 )
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Great Day On The River Road

This is the 'darkside' camera image :)

This is the ‘darkside’ camera image 🙂

First things….MAJOR Thanks to George Goeken (Master Eagle Chaser and Photographer) for telling us about the zoo at RMBS at the dam. Based on his report Molly decided we needed to go the opposite direction. So we were on The Great River Road at what passed for sunrise this morning— destination Pere Marquette’s ‘riverfront’. From sunrise until around 7:30 am, we searched in vain for eagles. Reluctantly, we decided that we would probably have to join the zoo at RMBS.

What’s the old saw about silver linings?
Well, we fell into a great string of ‘luck’. A short distance heading towards Grafton, we saw a hawk in a tree near a turn out. As we slowed to make the turn, another hawk landed on a telephone pole right where we were. Amazingly, the hawk tolerated all the commotion of Molly and me trying to retrieve cameras from the back of the crew cab and stayed for what seemed for hours but was probably more like 15 minutes. Molly even broke out our new “tourist point and shoot camera” and used it for the 1st image in the post. I always feel funny when we use that camera since it is a Nikon (darkside equipment) but I have to admit it does a pretty good job for a no viewfinder ‘idiot’ box :). Then again,it was a lot easier for Molly to use than trying to balance her 8+ pound 500mm on her upraised knee while sticking the lens/camera combo out the window.(2nd and 3rd images)

After the hawk decided we had all the images we needed by flying off, we headed for Grafton again. We had just passed the Brussels Ferry and saw a mature eagle in a tree relatively close to one of the two places you can actually get off the two lane road. Molly shot solo since if I opened my door I would have been standing in the road. The bird stayed for maybe 3 shots and then boogied. We headed into Grafton when we saw an immature eagle sitting in a tree next to a closed bar and grill parking lot. Again our luck held in that the eagle must have decided it was too cold to fly and posed for us for an extended time. We got some high quality images that will probably end up in competition soon.

We figured that we had the best The River Road had to offer and pointed the truck towards Alton. We decided to see what was shaking at RMBS and see what was happening at the zoo. When we pulled into the dam parking lot, there was the normal eagle jam. A couple of eagles were in the tree I had seen them in Friday (when I was one of 3 people there– perk of being retired). I pulled past the jam and saw pelicans,golden eyes, canvasbacks and a couple of scaup. I broke out the tripod and walked along part of the rip rap to take a few images. Molly saw a break in the traffic jam and backed the truck into what became the prime spot for the eagles that were flying in and out of the tree. Again, Molly got some killer images that will be seen in a competition soon.

Having got all the images we were willing to wait for……and ‘hearing’ hot coffee and food ‘calling our name’, we headed for home.

All images by Molly Forir Coatney

Again thanks to George, we had one of the most successful mornings we have had in quite some time.

Baldwin Lake

Snow Geese landing

Snow Geese landing

After all the cold and gloomy weather, the forecast Thursday for sun and above freezing temps prompted me to take a road trip to Baldwin Lake in Illinois. Truly a ‘wild hare’ kind of excursion since I had never been there and it is about an hour’s drive from home. John Watson had said there were snow geese there….actually he said there were thousands of snow geese there. He was right.

Only problems I had on the trip was the GPS sent me to the wrong part of town ( found out there was a service road that connected where I was to where I needed to be but it was closed of course 🙂 ). Also where the snow geese wanted to be was on the main drag near the power plant truck entrance. The road’s ‘shoulder’ at that location is best described as “slim and none” but the term where there is a will proved true.

The roads were in good shape for the most part and there were a ton of hawks along them,both going to the lake and coming home. You would have thought from the number of hawks that you were in western Missouri or eastern Oklahoma. Stopped at the area HQ and got some brochures about Baldwin Lake and Peabody-River King Fish and Wildlife Areas. Baldwin Lake may not become one of my ‘home’ areas like RMBS etc but it is definitely worth a return trip and I look forward to exploring River King as well.

Here are a few shots from Thursday 2/13/2014 and the trip to Baldwin Lake


The St. Louis Camera Club’s 100th Anniversary Photography Exhibit opened this last Friday (Feb 7) at the Sheldon Gallery/Concert Hall
(3648 Washington Blvd)
Molly and I attended and were blown away with the quality and creativity of the 50 images on display. When you see all the fine photography of the club members on a weekly basis, you tend to get a bit ‘jaded’. When you see the images printed and displayed in a gallery setting, you truly get to see just how good the members of the club really are at the art of photography.

After seeing all the great images on display, it makes having one of my images included in the exhibit a true honor.
The image below shows Molly and an escapee from Madam Tussaud’s with the image in the exhibit. I guess we can blame Carolyn Schleuter for suggesting we go photograph the horse races for the assault on “art” 🙂

Click for larger image