Monday, March 24, 2008

March Madness, Minnesota edition

It has been very snowy here lately, including a storm on the day before Easter and some light snow Easter morning. It's starting to feel like Spring will never come....

Snow notwithstanding, it has been getting a bit warmer, with melting during the day and re-freezing at night. Progress, I guess.

We heard that it was prime weather for seeing bald eagles, as the birds return to places along the Mississippi with moving water. So we took a day trip to Wabasha, MN, to the National Eagle Center. It's about an hour and a half drive, most of which is right along the river and very scenic.
This is a picture along Lake Pepin, a wider part of the Mississippi formed by water backing up behind sediment deposited by the delta of the Chippewa River. It's quite impressive.

The National Eagle Center has several eagles in residence. These are birds who were injured and are not capable of returning to the wild. One of the birds is available for close examination and even picture-taking. It's really remarkable (and slightly disturbing) to see a magnificent animal like this up close. When he flapped his wings, we wondered if he would fly off with the man holding his 'leash.'

Here Eric gets his picture taken with the bird and its somewhat intimidating beak.

Another close-up of the bird.

There are other eagles tethered in an enclosure, including a beautiful, if shy, golden eagle. It kept its back to the people the whole time we were there.

One of the bald eagles from the Center even appeared on the Colbert Report recently.... click here to watch the clip if you missed it...

After leaving the Center, we drove north to a town we had been told was a great place to see eagles. We pulled off the highway at several overlooks, and each time saw more eagles. We saw some sitting on the ice in the river-- the eagle in this picture is just to the right of the middle of the frame and looks like a black blob in the river. But trust us, it's an eagle...

And we saw some eagles perched in trees.

See it? Again, middle of the frame, look for the black blob, this one with a distinguishable white head.

A fun trip. We've already seen several eagles in the Twin Cities this year, and look forward to seeing many many more.


At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must go there during this time next year.

It looks scary to be standing so close to that huge bird.

Definitely beautiful in that snow!!!!

Ol' Faithful.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Pug&MooseMama said...

The Golden Eagle, for our Davis friends, actually came to the center from the Raptor Center at UC Davis, where it was rehabed. It said to say hi to its old neighbors. :)

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Stephanie said...

Uhm, the pics of the cold are not making me want to come back to Minnesota. BUT now I do want to go see some eagles.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger leigh said...

NICE!!! love the blobs!!!

It's terrific to read that the golden was rehab'd in Davis - I was just there yesterday oohing-ahhing over the raptors. Next time i go, i'll send your golden's regards. :)


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