Every winter the Missouri Department of Conservation sponsors Eagle Days in various locations throughout the state. Depending on location Eagle Days will be held in December or January. For St. Louis, Eagle Days is in January and is held at the Chain of Rocks Bridge which crosses the Mississippi river just north of St. Louis. The bridge has an interesting history and unique design. The web has several sites with info about the bridge but for me the best sit is at this URL: http://www.rollanet.org/~conorw/cwome/article4.htm. I’ve tried making a link to this site but just can’t get it to work stick. Just cut and paste this in the address line at the top of your browser. I think it’s worth the read to understand why the bridge doesn’t run straight across the river but has a turn in it and what those “stone castles” are out there in the river.
Activities for the Eagle Days at the Chain of Rocks include a tent that is set up at the entrance to the bridge on the Missouri side of the river for informative presentations given throughout the day. One or two eagles are present so people can get a close up view of an eagle. Across the path from the tent are a small number of food stalls with the ubiquitous kettle corn stand. (I prefer spelling corn with a c versus k even though it follows the word kettle.) There is also a replica of an eagle’s nest for the kids to climb in (and adults) to get their picture taken.
Half way out on the bridge is a warming tent. This tent takes up the whole width of the bridge so if you want to keep going farther on the bridge you have to go through the tent. That’s not a bad thing but it is very crowed in cold years. Inside the tent there is a display of a couple of dozen stuffed predator and other birds (not mounted). It’s kind of strange in that they are laid out by size along a couple of tables. So when you walk up to the table you see the largest ones first and then walk along to view the others in descending size order. Several people behind the tables present facts about the different birds and answer questions. Strange but interesting. The people are very nice and you can tell they really enjoy talking about the birds.
If you decide to go on out the other side of the tent you will find a couple of people with spotting scopes trained on eagle nests in the trees on the Illinois side of the river or in the general direction of where eagles have been soaring. People can take turns looking through the scopes. Also, depending on the time of day and weather, you may see people with (to use the technical term) humongous telephoto lenses trying to capture pictures of the eagles.
So that’s the setup for Eagle Days in St. Louis. This was our second year and the weather was much nicer that our first year. That first year started out nice enough for a January day but by the time we got to the warming tent it was snowing sideways. Between the limited focal length of my lens and the poor visibility due to the snow, trying to see a bird let alone photograph one was out of the question. This year I still did not have the lens for birding but we did have bearably cold, sunny weather that did allow for these photos taken from the Chain of Rocks Bridge
The photos were generally taken looking south from the bridge toward St. Louis. Illinois is on the left bank and Missouri is on the right. In some of these photos if you look to the left of buildings silhouetted in the skyline you will see a silhouette of the St. Louis Arch. Due south of the bridge is a large island and the main channel of the Mississippi goes to the right of the island. Between the bridge and St. Louis the Mississippi River bends west and then east. That’s why the city, especially in the third photo, appears to be on the Illinois side.
Looking southeast toward the Illinois shore. The St. Louis Arch is visible in the center of the horizon. The St. Louis skyline looks as though it is on the Illinois side because the river bends to the west and then to the east above the city.
Looking at the same water tower as above but with more of a down river view. Not sure about the bird, possibly a gull.
In the two prior pictures I was closer to the Illinois side of the river. Here I’m almost directly above the Missouri bank.
This is a different water tower closer to the Missouri side. The buildings on the shore are part of the St. Louis water treatment center.
Same tower as above, just zoomed in.
Thank you for stopping by.