Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saylorville Lake Eagle Watch

Recently, I took the time to visit the Saylorville Lake Visitor Center to checkout the current ice conditions.Reading about them in my weekly fishing news from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources made me a bit curious. First hand knowledge was apart of my agenda for that day.

The Center was closed when I stopped,wintertime hours are limited to special events.

 Since the building wasn't open I took off for
 the lake overlook. Along the pathway I came across an area filled with multiple bird feeding stations. All the feeders were lined with hungry occupants, that is until my presence put them to flight. They didn't stay away long after I tarried at a distance.

As I walked beside the feeders I heard a bird call that I didn't recognize.

However, for the most part the birds I saw were familiar to me, because their family members would visit my winter feeders when I pursued that hobby.

Warnings to keep off the ice were posted in more than one place. One on the door of the building pictured at the top, and more than one mention was taped to the windows of the marquee in front of me.

In other Iowa lake locations vehicles have been removed after breaking through what their owners  believed to be sturdy ice layers. Our run of above normal temps kept people guessing as to what they  would find on their fishing trips.

Authorities did a great job of keeping us informed with their reports.

Pictured to the right is the earthen Saylorville Dam built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On this day I saw three Eagles either sitting on the ice, or flying to open water. I didn't remember the binoculars, but definitely will add them to the list if I do head out to do more observing.

Facing northeast on the overlook I found open water not far from the shoreline.

Snapping pictures became a challenge with wind whipping and a few flurries sprinkling the air on this afternoon.

I had enough of the elements! Getting a chill I went back to the car to get me warmed up again.

Facing south towards downtown Des Moines,IA
Heading off  to explore some more , I took a right out of the parking lot, pointing the car in the direction of the dam.

Getting a little more than halfway onto the dam I pulled off the highway into a visitor's overlook parking space.

I sat and watched for  geese, and ducks, known to be in the area often at this time of year, under these weather conditions. My wait didn't provide any evidence they were least not here.

Activity around the dam wasn't extremely busy, but a few like minded individuals were out taking advantage of the lack of snow to do some sightseeing.
The Saylorville Visitor Center will be open tomorrow afternoon February 24th,2013,from 12:00 - 4:00 P.M.

The Annual Saylorville Lake Eagle Watch tour will begin at the Visitor Center with a theater show and an Eagle aptitude test. Spotting scopes will be available to see the Eagles soaring over the lake and the opportunity to see an eagle presentation will be available at the Jester Park Lodge.

Eagle watch sponsors are reminding individuals  to pickup your Eagle Watch Passports at any of the stops and when it has been completed take it back to where you began at the Saylorville Visitor Center on the eastside of the dam, on Horseshoe Road, off Highway 415, to enter a drawing to win prizes. For more information please call (515)276-4656.

Here's wishing you many Eagle sightings wherever you might be...Have a great day!