Tag Archives: river city roasters

Bald Eagles in Yorkville Again

In the 1960’s I had already assumed I would never see a bald eagle in the wild. I assumed that if I ever made it to my mid 50’s, they would either be extinct or you might be able to go visit a few in a bird sanctuary somewhere.

Growing up in Chicago made those assumptions more realistic than not. The chances of seeing a bald eagle, or making it to my mid 50’s, in the Chicago area… why would that happen?

And yet, 45 years later, living a two minute walk to the Fox River in Yorkville, 50 miles from downtown Chicago, bald eagle sightings have become almost commonplace, but still fascinating.

I see them year round while out fishing the river, but winter seems to concentrate them in the open water below the Yorkville dam. Last year my friend and avid bird watcher, Larry Granat, saw a dozen in one day. For the birders, he runs a Facebook page called The Kendall County Bird Page and it’s worth a visit.

A couple of winters ago I was out on my front porch when an eagle came drifting up from the river. The crows were following him and you can tell he was annoyed. To take a break and to get away from the crows, he landed in the tree in my front yard, directly over my head. Of course, no camera.

This morning I made my usual trip down to the dam area to see what birds were around. Besides the ducks and geese, herons were stalking the island shore and seagulls were drifting on the wind. Within 15 minutes I had seen four bald eagles, three adults and a juvenile. I was expecting to see none this day.

I know birders in Chicago and the surrounding areas that travel out to the Rock River, the Mississippi River or down to Starved Rock for the off chance of seeing bald eagles. Why travel if you don’t have to, they’re barely 50 miles away.

While out here, stop in at River City Roasters to warm up and grab some coffee and something to eat. They’re right on the river and overlooking the dam. From a window seat, you might not even have to stand around out in the cold to catch sight of an eagle.

Oh yeah, I forgot, the usual question… where the hell is Yorkville?

You know where Aurora is? Yorkville is about 12 miles southwest of there.

Here’s a map.

The eagles should be around all winter. If you’ve always wanted to see one, it beats driving 100 miles or more for the opportunity.

Footbridge Over Marge Cline Whitewater Course in Yorkville Finally Installed

Back in December 2011, the footbridge that was slated to go over the Marge Cline Whitewater Course at the Bicentennial Riverfront Park in Yorkville, was finally put in place. The first week of January, during one of my many strolls along the Fox River, I noticed that someone had left the gate open for the bridge. I took the open invite to go do some exploring.

I recall reading somewhere that the bridge should make a good vantage point to watch the kayakers play in the course. That it will do.

Someone with a better camera than I have should be able to get some decent photos of them.

I imagine the Geneva Kayak Center, which is located at the head of the whitewater course, will be taking advantage of this.

There’s a foot path that runs the length of the island so you get some pretty nice views of the whole whitewater course. You will have to watch you’re step though, the geese seem to have taken a liking to this little island.

Since anglers are not allowed to fish anywhere near the course, without the bridge in place to get to the man made island that separates the course from the dam, for the last two years there really has been no place for anglers to go. This used to be a pretty popular spot and in years past on one day I recall seeing up to 30 anglers fishing the river between the dam and the Route 47 bridge.

For all of 2011, I don’t think I saw a half dozen anglers in the whole area.

Now that they can get to the island, I don’t think fishing there is going to be all that easy. Before the building of the course and the rebuilding of the dam, the south shoreline was relatively level and rock free. Not any more.

A little further down there’s a very short stretch that I’m sure the anglers will be clearing of all the small rocks so they can plop down their lawn chairs.

The south shoreline of this little island is not going to fit that many anglers though, no matter how many of those little rocks they throw back into the river. Fishing in the whitewater course itself will still be off limits.

I spoke to someone that lives overlooking the dam. Apparently, a few feet out into the river from the south shore of the island, is a channel that was created. He thinks its a good five or six feet deep. I know I won’t be going in there to find out. That pretty much guarantees that few will be trying to walk across the river from the island.

It would be a shame if the anglers didn’t return, a few new businesses have opened up on the edge of Bicentennial Riverfront Park (River City Roasters, Creative Kernels and White Water Ice Cream) and it would be nice to see them prosper. Maybe the loss of anglers will be offset by a gain in kayakers.

Back in August of 2011 I wrote about how the north shore of the river here is accessible to anglers. Apparently nobody is passing on that information to the anglers. I think I’ve written about it four times now and this will be the last time. They don’t show up, it will be their loss.

I’ll keep spreading the word to the kayakers to come visit instead.