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Old 01-17-2008, 06:37 PM   #1
DantesDame OP
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Location: Basel, Switzerland
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Hunting for Eagles in the PNW

I originally posted this in the Pacific Northwest forum, but thought that others might enjoy seeing the pictures...



Hunting Eagles

I had been hoping to get up to the Skagit River for a couple of years now to see the eagles when they congregate to feed on the spawing salmon. This was finally to be the year. I wanted to go last Sunday but it was just as well that I delayed for a week: the weather was phenomenal!
__________________________________________________ _____________
January 13, 2008
Total Miles: 254 miles, 1 day
Seattle, WA


The day was sunny and warm (50 degrees!) and I headed north to find some eagles and, if I felt ambitious, some snow for my snowshoes. One out of two wasn't bad. It took me about an hour to get to some nice back roads, after following I-5 to the Marysville exit and over to 9. The roads got better after Arlington where I took 530 through some fabulous countryside and into the mountains. It got cold enough for the snow to still cover fields but the roads were always clear, if not sometimes even dry. I had my heated gear on (including the gloves) so there was no way that I was going to be uncomfortable today!


Early view of the mountains outside of Darrington on 530



Close up of the towering peaks, with snow on the fields



Hwy 530 in the sunshine



White peak peeking at me



More Hwy 530



All dressed up for a day out


I reached Rockport where there were more people than eagles, each one with a pair of binoculars or a camera lens the size of a rolling pin. I felt silly with my little digital, but I figured "What the heck" and stopped. I was originally planning on parking the bike and shedding my gear to walk around but I no longer felt like it. I didn't like the crowds to I got back on the bike and headed further along Hwy 20 towards Marblemont. The few places that were convenient to pull over and be near the river were already full of eagle-watchers, so I tended to do a slow drive-by and keep on going. I reached Marblemont and chose to give the Buffalo Run Restaurant a try, as I heard that they had good food. The food was ok and no, I didn't have a buffalo burger, or even an elk burger, even though both are listed on the menu. I was surprised, however, when I got my bill and saw the following note: "Gov. Worker 10%" - ha! They thought my sherrif's badge was real and gave me a discount! I was too amused to say anything to them and just left them the same amount as I would have without the discount, letting the waitress reap the benefit of my "discount".

Back to the eagles. I decided that I might as well stop with the herds of people, as that was obviously where the eagles were. I stopped and got a few pictures of tiny brown dots. Once again I told myself that I need a better camera. Fed up with the crowds I headed back towards home. If nothing else, I had a great ride on a great day.



The Skagit River near Rockport



Eagle feeding in the river



Eagle taking off for the far shore (of course)



Looking along the Skagit River



Sunshine lights up the snowy peaks



A dead-end detour, explored "just because"


And of course as soon as you stop looking for something, you find it. Not more than five miles later I saw a pair of eagles resting just yards away from the roadside. I stopped for a couple of pictures, happy with the sightings. A mile later I saw another one, and a few miles later yet another one. I saw at least half a dozen eagles once I gave up looking for them. Now my day was complete and the sun was letting me know that it was time to go home and I was happy to oblige, knowing that I got what I had come for, and then some. Snowshoeing would wait for another day. The eagles' visit was fleeting.



Eagle sitting just off the road (center)



Another one a few yards away



The typical view of a bald eagle today (center of photo)



Digital zoom attempts to bring the subject closer



Failing sunlight along the river



Time to head home
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:42 PM   #2
jazzer
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Beautiful pictures! Today I needed to be reminded of the beauty that is around us.

Thanks for posting.

Ken
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