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.

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