Saturday March 2, 2013, temps in the upper 20's.
Explored: Northwest IIllinois and
Transportation: 2009 Grand Caravan
Along US-20 near the
(Elizabeth): 1.; Lock & Dam #12 (Bellevue): 8; 2 miles south
of Bellevue, IA: 1 nest; Harbor Campground at Sabula, IA:
7; for a total of 17.
(This is a loss of 5 from last year.)
Turkey Count: Saw four groups
averaging 8 turkeys each in Iowa and Illinois.
See 2012's Eagle Hunt here.
The gray let up for a few days and temps warmed up to
the 30's, after a few days of icy snow, allowing for a pleasant drive
across Illinois to the Mississippi River for our annual bald eagle hunt.
The Fox River and Rock river were flowing free, so it was a surprise to
see the Mississippi iced up. We spotted our first eagle near the Apple
River just west of Elizabeth, IL. The ice makes it
easier to find wintering eagles, which congregate at meltwater patches
to hunt for fish. After a visit to a couple shops in historic
Galena, we crossed the Mississippi River at Dubuque
and headed straight to our favorite hunting grounds in Iowa.
Look what we caught in Sabula.
Lock & Dam #12 in Bellevue was very
productive with several eagles actively hunting and eating in trees and
along the locks, where the ice was broken up. Andrew spotted a pile of
half chewed fish tails in the snow. After Ana's diaper explosion, we
headed 19 miles south to the pretty bayous surrounding Sabula, IA.
Sabula's wide open waters were choked
with ice, but in the few spots where it was not, a half dozen eagles
flew around looking for fish. The fish came to the surface, gasping for
air, only to be grabbed by eagles. As dusk set in, Andrew and I invented
a game of throwing rocks along the ice. It made a high pitched echoing
sound. We made a hole with a large rock and then slid a few of the dead
frozen fish that lined the shore by the dozens, trying to get it in the
hole. After this sport, we sledded for a bit, until dark. After dinner
in Dixon, IL, we headed back to Chicago completely
satisfied with our drive.
Galena's historic main drag
houses shops for the upper classes to enjoy, but once was an optimistic
lead mining town. It sits at the bottom of the terraced city.