Eats & Emiquon & Eagles, Oh My!
This past weekend being a three day weekend, and our schedules being suspiciously empty, I had the brilliant idea that we should have a bit of family time on Sunday enjoying the tastes and sights of central Illinois in the winter. Lucky for you what follows is mostly pictures of our travels down south to Delavan for brunch at the Harvest Cafe and our search for bald eagles along the Illinois river and at the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge.
After a late start (not MY fault), we arrived in Delavan perfectly positioned for a noon Sunday brunch. Unfortunately the food is so good we ate it before we could take pictures. Here are some old ones.
The Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge is about a half hour south of Peoria, and is a rebuilt wetlands that’s popular with birders. During the winter bald eagles hang out along the Illinois River, and Emiquon can be a good place to spot them.
Unfortunately by this weekend the river was completely frozen around Emiquon, so the eagles were scarce. We did find some dead fish though, some may have even been flash frozen.
So we didn’t spend a lot of time at Emiquon, as there was a notable lack of living wildlife. Aside from the humans walking out on the ice; possibly ice fishing, the binoculars couldn’t bring them into clear focus. But still, the ice didn’t look that thick. Silly humans.
We had seen a couple of teenager eagles when we turned on to the River Road going to Emiquon. We knew they were teenagers because their heads were still brown but they were much larger than the other raptors we see around here. (Yeah, our family is maybe a little obsessed with raptors, especially Cecile.)
So as we left Emiquon our hopes were not completely dashed as we knew there would still be chances for sightings as we followed the river back north. And sure enough, my eagle eyes (ha ha, right?) spotted a (presumably nesting) pair a few miles further up the road. Cecile generously turned the car around so we could go back and I could take some pictures. They were a bit far away, straining the 210 range of my zoom lens, and the flat, gray, overcast sky did make things difficult, but still some pretty good shots, if I do say so myself.
I could tell the one on the right was not happy with me, so I was even prepared for them to fly off, and managed a few good shots as they did. Click the GIF button at the bottom to see my animated gif of them flying off.