In anticipation of working the next 12 days straight, I spent the weekend entirely with my family. It was awesome and needed. Today, I bring you images from our Mystery Ride. What's a Mystery Ride? It's when Jen and I put kids in the car and go on a mystery ride. Saturday's destination and mystery was the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN.
Wabasha sits on the mighty Missippi River. The area has become a gathering place of sorts for many bald eagles and other raptors. Our day started with some classroom education. Here are a few pics.
This is Harriet and she's the eagle on the Minnesota license plate.
After our hour long kids class at the center, we ventured outside to look for eagles. Our real challenge would begin.
We saw this one from the observation deck of the Eagle Center. In my mind, I thought this might be the closest we got. We proceeded to our car and started our eagle search. Since I was driving I wasn't that good of a spotter. My daughter spotted two just as we crossed over the river into Wisconsin.
By the time we got our car parked and walked out on the snowshoe trail, there was only one eagle left in the tree. It didn't like the sound of my camera and as soon as I took two pictures it spread it's wings and flew away. Wow, what a wingspan!
After driving around some more and after an ice cream snack, we headed home. We stopped at several overlooks and spotted eagles off in the distance either in trees or floating on chunks of ice in the river. It was an awesome day. Content with our eagle count, we headed home.
As the sun was setting across the rolling farmland, my eagle eyed daughter spotted another followed by my wife spotting a couple in a field. I pulled off the road and watched a few congregate around what looked to be the remains of a dead bunny rabbit. Soon another eagle joined them.
Natalie and I decided to get out of the car and walk a bit to see if we could get any closer. The eagles quickly flew away, but they were not going to leave that food alone and quickly circled back. Eventually, they became a bit more comfortable with us and came back to the food. This is when I got my favorite shot of the day.
For me, this last shot shows the beauty and grace of our symbolic bald eagle. All in all a great day.
I really learned how hard good wildlife photographers work to get the shots they do. To get the shots they get they need to be out in the environment every day. I shot everything you see here with Canon's new 70-300L zoom lens attached to my Canon 7D. All were shot handheld at roughly a 450mm equivalent. That's pretty long and by far the longest reaching zoom I've shot. It's also the nicest lens I've ever shot. Wow!