Tag Archives: eagles

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Five eagles.

Two hawks.

Two pheasant, granted, they were planted birds, but they were flying.

A thousand geese and ducks, give or take a hundred or two.

Rabbit tracks seen everywhere, but no rabbits seen.

Nineteen deer.

I had to stop on a 55 mph back road west of me to let five of them pass. Luckily this road isn’t all that busy. Except for the deer.

And I guess the sunset wasn’t too bad. Less clouds on the horizon would have made for a better one.

As for partridges, I wouldn’t know one if I saw one.

Eagle Watching on the Fox River

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think there would come a day when I could go eagle watching on the Fox River. And yet, from my front porch I see them all the time floating down the river at eye level. My house sits on a bluff that’s probably 60 feet up from the river and it’s hard to mistake these big birds for anything else.

Now and then one will come floating over my house. A couple of years ago, in order to get away from a flock of annoying crows, one even landed in the tree in front of my house, directly over my head.

There are a few eagles that live along the Fox River somewhere year round. I see them all the time in a couple of stretches I like to fish, but during the winter over the past three years they’ve been arriving in ever increasing numbers.

This colder than usual December has locked up the river with ice much sooner than usual. Normally it doesn’t look like this till nearly the end of January. At the end of January of this year I did a couple of reports on the eagles I saw. Twenty one day before I quit counting and 39 on another. If you have an interest in seeing the eagles near the Yorkville area, I give more details on how to go about it in those two posts.

Bald Eagles on the Fox River

Bald Eagles on the Fox River Update

This year the reports started appearing early. Larry Granat, who took all the photos in this post on December 12th, put up a report of seeing 6 bald eagles in the stretch below my house in Yorkville. If you haven’t done it, you should Like Larry’s Facebook page called The Kendall County Bird Page. He takes quite a few interesting photos of the bird populations around the area.

Of course, over the weekend I had to walk down the hill to the river to see this for myself. Below my house, out on the island, were four eagles. Down the road a bit, closer to the dam, were two more. The next day I ran into Larry out at Hoover Forest Preserve. That morning he said he saw 14 eagles in that same stretch.

Earlier this week I heard from another friend that likes to stay anonymous about another dozen eagles seen near the dam in Montgomery.

And a little while ago I got a note from Bob France about seeing 25 eagles up in Elgin today. He said 13 to 14 of them were all in one tree. You should go check out his Facebook page Bob Outdoors where he’s put up a bunch of photos he’s been taking.

When I was a kid I assumed that by the time I got to this age I would never see an eagle in the wild. Or I would have to go to Alaska or somewhere in Canada for the opportunity.

Now I walk out on my front porch and there they are, floating up and down the river. I go fishing over the summer and one will come floating by over my head. This weekend I’ll go for a drive up the river and I’d be surprised if I don’t see at least 30 of them.

I think it was Dale Bowman that said that one day I’ll take them for granted and view them as common place.

So far, that hasn’t happened.

I hope it never does.

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All photos in this post courtesy of Larry Granat of The Kendall County Bird Page on Facebook.

A Simple Afternoon of Fishing

The last I heard, here in the Chicago area this was the mildest winter in 75 years. You would think this would be an ideal setup for the creek fishing I like to do. I’ve been checking the creeks throughout the winter and they never got the amount of ice that I’ve seen in years past. In one creek in particular I haven’t caught a smallmouth bass since the last day of 2011. I thought for sure they would not only be there throughout the winter, I thought for sure now would be an excellent time to be fishing for them.

So far, that hasn’t happened.

I’m far from disappointed, the catching of fish is a bonus for getting to spend time in solitude and silence. Here the silence is so thick that when the car engine is turned off, the silence covers you like a blanket. You suddenly become painfully aware of the ringing in your ears, ringing that is probably there all the time, you’ve just learned to tune it out. Here, that is impossible.

Few cars travel down the road so there is no road noise. In the four years I’ve been coming here, I rarely run into anyone. I’ve never seen another person fishing the creek. I’ve only come across one other set of foot prints in those four years.

Today, all that was heard was the wind hissing through the bare branches and a chorus of song birds. The occasional squirrel rustling through the leaves. Got to see my first chipmunk of the year scurrying beneath a tangle of downed trees. Down in the valley the song of water over rock could be heard.

A couple of mallards were spooked off the water. A few feet later, two pairs of wood ducks jumped and moved further down stream. This would go on for the next hour and a half. I’d get closer to the wood ducks, they’d move a little more down stream. I see them in this stretch of the creek throughout the warmer months. One of these days I’d like to find where they live.

The taps of creek chubs came immediately. A few small ones were landed, then one big female.

I thought for sure this meant a few smallmouth bass in the deeper pools, but it became a stroll down the river teasing the chubs. Or they were teasing me.

A good part of the next hour and a half was spent in the meditative state running water over rock seems to put me in.

I can feel my heart rate slow. My breathing slows with my heart rate. I’ve been told that you can’t feel your blood pressure go up and down. I think that’s said to and by people that have never spent hours wandering down small creeks. I could feel my blood pressure lower.

I seem to have it timed so I can hit two creeks and a small pond in a leisurely afternoon of fishing. I think if the fishing were to become hot and heavy, this first creek would never be left, but for now, the more the merrier.

Second creek, first cast and a smallmouth bass near 16 inches obliged. And that was it out of the creek.

Here to it was dead quiet. The road in the distance doesn’t get used much and it was nice to sit in the soft dead grasses of last year and enjoy the view.

The walk back to the car along the pond had me spooking the nesting geese that call this place home every year. They build their nests right along the pond. I never see eggs or goslings. I’m assuming that’s because of the eagle, the owls, the red tail hawks and the coyote that also visit this place.

You would think the geese would learn.

A number of blue gill were caught from the pond and quite a few more bass self released while being reeled in. None of them were worthy of a picture, but the pond was.

As I got closer to the bridge I could hear a handful of girls chattering away as young girls do. They were hanging out on the small bridge tossing rocks in the water, talking nonsense and of course, texting away to whoever wasn’t there.

Found out that girls scurry away quickly when they see an old guy in waders with a weeks growth of beard come stumbling and crashing out of the woods. That’s okay, I wanted the bridge to myself.

I plopped my ass on the guard rail, lit up a cigar and stared off into the space over the creek.

Eventually, I went home.