January is Eagle Day season around here. It used to be just one day once a year, but then everyone and their brother got into the act. Now it is a season. This being the first weekend after New Year’s, it doubles as the season’s kickoff. We headed up to the Riverlands to look for some of the 34,000 eagles that annually descend upon us. I am not sure that I believe that figure, but it is what one eagle tourism booster claimed on TV last night. We went to Riverlands where their tote board claimed 42 birds for the day. We saw about six. Anne was still not sure that the number 42 was derived from counting the same six eagles seven times or not. It being Eagle Day, the Audubon Center at the Riverlands was crowded. Their lot was full, and we had to park on the shoulder of the road. There were lots of activities for kids and spotter scopes were setup all around. Even so, the birds had chosen to roost in trees on the far side of the slough, reducing them to small spots, even using the scopes, some with white accents and others that were all brown.
After the Audubon Center, we tried to checkout Mel Price lock and dam, but access to it was closed because of construction. In fact, all North County remains heavily under the sway of orange cone season. We even had to detour around some of it. It is January and all good road construction workers should be off the road by now. Across the slough, on Ellis Island, we got a little closer to the birds and I got this action shot. Out of frame another eagle had caught a fish. Then two more eagles approached with intensions of stealing that fish. This eagle began calling out and bouncing up and down, trying to shoo the newcomers away. Afterwards, we headed across the river to checkout Alton’s eagle day activities. They had a rescued eagle that was posing for photos and by the time we arrived empty food trucks. I was then able to coax Anne into eating a late lunch at Taco Bell. On the way home, it began to graupel (soft hail).