Bald Eagle Watching - Feb 8, 2014

posted Feb 11, 2014, 11:18 AM by Jim Twellman
By request of the St Charles County Parks system, we once again participated with telescopes at their annual eagle watching event.  As the eagles do not generally come real close to people, the scopes are a big help in observing these fine creatures.   David L., Marc A. and Larry C. contributed their assistance here in the VERY cold weather.  Here are some excerpts from reports I received:

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Hello Friends!

Despite the snow and cold, there were about 125 guests who came out to participate in the Bald Eagle Winter Watch program this weekend.  Being able to see Lewis, the bald eagle, up close was such a treat!  Thank you Bobb and Patti Holden for your generous donation of the live eagle display for the program.  I also want to thank all who assisted in the program and those who made sure the park was ready for visitors.  In addition to the live viewing of Lewis, we were fortunate to see some eagles soaring across the sky during the program.  Members of the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri also assisted and had a nice view of an eagle perched in a tree in their telescope during the program.  Bill also zoomed in on a few eagles with our new spotting scope!  Thanks again for all who helped with the event...good times!  Attached are a few photos of the program.  

Nancy Lee Gomer, Marketing Coordinator  -  St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department

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Marc and Kathy only lasted one hour.  We left our cohorts when they weren't looking.  Dang it was cold out there.  The wind was killer.

David set up his 25x100s we set up our 20x80s and Larry set up his Maksutov.  There was a fair amount of folks come through during the hour we were there from 9:30 to 10:30.  Probably about a dozen or so.  There was even some birds to watch, across the frozen river where the ices stopped.

Wish we could have stayed longer to keep helping.  My face un-numbed itself a couple of hours ago!!

Marc

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I will agree with Marc.  It was very cold, and the event was well attended by everyone except the eagles..

The parks department had set up a very well planned event.  Nancy was running things, and there was a full complement of rangers and park workers.  They had an area plowed, marked and a site upwind set apart for us to set up the optical equipment.  I saw a large male in the trees directly across the river right after set-up and thought that was a good sign, but that was my closest sighting.  Maybe about 4-5 eagles seen, most of them downriver on the ice or in the trees. There was a steady stream of guests to the event over the course of 2 1/2 hours- I would guess around 50- but perhaps Nancy has a more accurate number.  They were very appreciative for the ASEM scopes and operators, and everyone seemed to enjoy looking through the binos (and Larry's scope) to see even just the winter scene.
 
There were some folks from the Wild Bird Sanctuary in attendance, and they brought a live bald eagle for show-and-tell.  He was a hit!  It was cool to see a specimen live and up close, and they were very engaging with the crowd, answering all kinds of bird questions (which is good, because my range of  bird-lore is mighty slim).
 
A good time was had by all.  It made me appreciate our Parks department all the more...
 
Dave L



Bino-viewing some eagles. ((double-click on photos to enlarge))

Needing a little help keeping that one eye closed!

Lewis, spreading his wings!



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