Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Anne, Joanie and I attended the Eagle Days festival at the Riverlands. These seasonal river fêtes celebrate our winter migratory avian visitors. Bald eagles are the main draw and we saw a few of these, but there were way more Trumpeter swans to see than all of the other birds combined. I’m guessing about a thousand were present. They are the largest North American waterfowl. I’ve since learned that it also holds the dubious epitaph of being the heaviest North American bird. We also saw a kestrel, American pelicans and a host of other birds. The captive Red-shouldered hawk was on display at the Audubon center. It is a rescue bird.

Both the Mississippi and the Missouri are ice covered. The water is low and it looks like barge traffic has halted. In addition to the swan’s honking, we also heard the deep almost sub-audible creaking of the ice. People were walking on the ice, which seemed risky until I saw that someone had been heaving thirty-pound paving stones on to the ice, without making a dent. The paper said that this is our longest, continuous subfreezing cold snap in thirty-five years.

Afterwards, we headed over to Alton, IL, for lunch at Just Desserts. This eatery and quilt shop is always a fave with the ladies. The food is good, but the pie is to die for and is why we dine there. The day’s menu is written on chalkboards and items are erased when they run out, but sometimes new items also appear. We always order our desserts first, because life is often short and uncertain and the very best pie slices run out first.  

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