Photo Courtesy of Larry Granat. Bald Eagle near Yorkville, Illinois.
I was out on my front porch today enjoying a leisurely smoke of a cheap cigar. I enjoy watching the late afternoon sun creating patterns on the leafless trees. Todays show had the addition of a fresh blanket of snow and snow covered branches stood out starkly against an intense blue sky.
On days like this the shadows on the snow have a blue cast to them. Hard to see if your brain has been trained to think of shadows as gray. All shadows have color in them. You have to retrain your brain to see them.
Down on the Fox River a couple of blocks away geese were honking. They are the occasional honks that hardly let you know that there are a few hundred geese sitting around in the open slack water areas of the river. This honking goes on night and day and you would think it's not something you should be hearing at two in the morning.
Over the six years I've been living here I have got used to seeing the wide variety of wildlife. In my front yard I've had a couple of different types of hawks, a couple more varieties of owls, flying squirrels, wild turkey, deer, more birds than I know how to identify and then the usual possum, coons and squirrels.
What I'll never get used to seeing are the bald eagles. There was one today, drifting high on the slight wind out over the river. This is the third one I've seen so far this year. I hear they're out in greater numbers down stream from me, but I've yet to go looking for them. On January 10th, one of those balmy winter days we've been having, I was out fishing the Fox River in Montgomery and got to see an eagle drifting just over the tree tops.
From Elgin down stream through virtually all of the towns along the river, there have been reports of eagle sightings. As I said, even more reports of sightings down stream of Yorkville, in towns most have never heard of with names like Millington, Millhurst and Millbrook. The first part of their names will tell you how close they are to the Fox River.
I've been seeing the bald eagles along the Fox for about 10 years now. I keep thinking I should go to Starved Rock on the Illinois River, or out to the Mississippi River. There are eagle watching tours going out to these locations all winter and I hear they're pretty popular.
But it's hard to get motivated to do that kind of traveling. Instead, I go for a drive or a walk along the Fox, no more than 10 miles in either direction from my house. If I take my time and keep an eye on the sky, there's a good chance I'm going to see a bald eagle. I think my fascination with eagles stems from being told as a kid that they were on the verge of extinction. I assumed by now there would be none left on earth.
No matter how many I see or how often I see them now, I can't help but stop and stare.
I hope that sense of fascination never goes away.
Photo Courtesy of Larry Granat. Bald Eagle near Oswego, Illinois.
Bald Eagle Photos Courtesy of Larry Granat and his Facebook Page: The Kendall County Bird Page.