Made my annual trip to Alton, Illinois, to do a little bird watching this morning.
I wish a had a longer lens because the eagles were on the hunt this morning and it was tough to get zoomed in enough. If you look closely, you can see that this pretty fella nailed his treasure. An opportunistic eagle buddy tried to snatch a free lunch from him. They squabbled a bit, but the one who did the work got to keep his lunch in the end.
People come from all over to this place to see the variety of birds hanging out in this particular reserve. When I first arrived, a kind, elderly gentleman made sure to give me the scoop on the scene, pointing out pelicans, eagles, etc. He also suggested that I pay a visit to the visitor’s center to see a live barred owl and check out the wintering trumpeter swans. Then he gave me a gentle smile and announced that he was ready for lunch, so they were going to move along. I was actually kind of sad to see them go.
I moved along soon after. I got a sneak preview of the trumpeter swans on my drive to the visitor’s center.
Enormous, gorgeous creatures.
And then I saw this big guy. He looked a little cold and miserable.
Sure enough, I got to meet the barred owl. Pretty thing.
And then a volunteer suggested that I look through their telescope at the trumpeter swans…all 290 of them. It was absolutely spectacular.
It’s funny, but my day had started out kind of slow. I thought that Mr. Kitty here was going to be my only photo subject of the day. My photos didn’t turn out great, but it was such a wonderful experience.