The Ultimate Eagle Day By Rhoda Gerig

Snow was falling it was a dreary morning. My hope of a good day photographing eagles was dampened by a forecasted six inches of snow. Even with the low light, I decided to go out knowing the snowy conditions can sometimes produce unique effects. Not having much time before driving conditions would became difficult, I took off to the spillway at Salamonie Reservoir in central Indiana. The eagles gather there when other fishing spots are frozen over because the dam guarantees open water and fish stunned from passing through the dam. When I arrived I wasn’t disappointed, finding eagles fishing and chasing each other for every fish.

The stone walls on the cliff side of the river were covered in ice from the winter thawing and freezing. The snow was still falling.

Putting a Maid of the Mist poncho over my camera, I walked down the steps to the river. I chuckled, knowing my mom would have loved this. She saved all kinds of things because, “You never know when you might need it.” Going through her things after she passed away, I came across the poncho, and like her, I just couldn’t throw it away. A poncho with a rubber band makes a great water barrier for my camera.

After an hour the snow was coming down so wet and heavy that the eagle action was slowing. I knew the roads would not be getting any better so I decided to head back before my little Prius would not make it through the unplowed country roads.

After checking the hourly forecast I decided to settle in and do some photo editing. The predicted sun in the afternoon would provide better conditions for photography and also left me hoping that the road crews would clear a path.

When the sun came out I put on my warm winter gear to shovel the drive but to my surprise opening the garage door I saw my neighbor’s two sons had shoveled it for me. Gratefully, I took off half an hour earlier than planned.

When I got to the Mississinewa River I immediately found an eagle and a clear view of it through some branches. While waiting for the take-off shot someone came by and said there were a group of eagles further up river. With news of more eagles the inevitable question arose; “Do I stay and wait or do I go where the action could be better?” Years of watching eagles convinced me that this eagle was about to go, so I stayed.

Thankfully the wait was only about five minutes.

As I was preparing to leave, an eagle landed eye level with a freshly caught fish in a tree right in front of me. I should have known then and there it was going to be a great eagle day.

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Created By
Rhoda Gerig


All images © Rhoda Gerig.  All rights reserved.

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