January 15, 2023: A Day Trip to Decorah

Story and photos by Robin Brumm

It has been quite awhile since I’ve been able to go to Decorah. The weather in the winter doesn’t always cooperate with my work schedule, lol. This past weekend was supposed to be warmer, so on Sunday, I got up early and off I went! When I got to Decorah, I drove through the hatchery first because I heard from a friend that there was a subadult hanging around. I saw an adult in a tree by the base of the bluff but the sub adult had already flown off. I grabbed a few pictures of the adult before it flew off and then headed to N4 to see if Mom and DM2 were around. [Amy’s note: N3 fell in a July storm. More here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2022/07/29/nest-n3-fell-in-the-strong-storms-that-rolled-across-ne-iowa-on-saturday-night/.

January 15, 2023: Nest N4.

January 15, 2023: Nest N4

I got to Walmart parking lot and headed down the trail to see if Mom and DM2 were around. I also wanted to see the progress that was made on N4. You can actually see N4 from a couple of places along the trail, although, once the leaves start budding in the spring, I’m not sure if, or how well, we will be able to see it. As I got down to the N4 area, I looked through my binoculars. Nobirdy was working on the nest. I looked at the perch tree. An eagle in the top branches! I took several pictures.. Hmmm.. not sure which one it was. The sun was so bright. I zoomed out and took a picture from back farther and.. Wait! There was another eagle lower down in the tree!

Comparing the two sizes, I’m pretty sure it was Mom on the top branch and DM2 on the lower branch. I am always thrilled when I get to see both of them together! I stood there watching and all of a sudden DM2 flew down and then banked up. There was another large bird he was chasing out of the area. I looked through my binoculars and saw that it was a sub adult. Maybe it was the one that was at the hatchery earlier.

I walked down the trail a little more to watch them flying. They both flew to the north and over the tree line. As I was walking back to get a better view of Mom, I heard her vocals. I quickly looked through my binoculars and noticed that DM2 had landed in the perch tree right next to her. Unfortunately, he was right behind her from my angle and you could barely tell he was there. It just looked like one really long eagle with 2 tails, lol. I took several pictures and tried to get both of them, but I wasn’t able to get the heads of both of them in a photo no matter what angle I tried! Finally DM2 flew off to the north, and then Mom followed. I decided to go back to the hatchery to see if anybirdy was there.

January 15, 2023: Subadult at the hatchery

January 15, 2023: Subadult at the hatchery

When I got there an adult was in the tree at the base of the bluff, and there was a subadult in the pine tree near the stream that goes by the pavilion. I decided to walk over that way to get a photo from another angle. I started to walk down the road and the SA flew off toward the bluff. I went back toward my car and noticed the adult in the same tree but a different spot. After a few minutes, the SA flew back to the pine tree. I had a better angle this time and was able to get pictures from my car. I found out later that there were actually 2 subadults there. Several minutes later, the SA flew off and the adult flew off after it. The adult came back and flew to the bluff where they like to perch. Surprisingly, the other adult was already perched there! I swear they are stealthy and invisible when they fly in sometimes, lolol.

January 15, 2023: Hatchery Mom below left, Hatchery Dad above right.

January 15, 2023: Hatchery Mom below left, Hatchery Dad above right.

After watching them perched in the bluff for quite awhile, I decided it was time for me to head for home. It is such an exciting time and the anticipation is giving me anxiety! Will Mom and DM2 lay eggs and have a successful season? Will HM & HD lay eggs and have a successful season. Like the mods always say… “All on eagle time!”

RRP appreciates Robin’s generosity in sharing her photos and reminds you they are copyrighted and may not be downloaded without her express written permission.