November 4, 2023: Day Trip to Decorah

Story and photos by Robin Brumm

November 4, 2023: Mom and DM2 working on nestorations at N4
November 4, 2023: Mom and DM2 are busy with nestorations at N4!

The last few times I’ve been to Decorah, I haven’t had good luck getting any eagle pictures. I thought I would try again last Saturday, so I got up at dark ‘thirty and headed to Decorah. The last time I had gone to Decorah, I didn’t go down to N4 until late morning, and didn’t see Mom and DM2. I decided that this time, I would go to N4 first thing and hopefully would see them in the area. I got to Decorah and parked in the parking lot near the trail that leads to N4. I noticed that N4 was visible, behind a few branches from the spot where I parked. I didn’t see anybirdy in the nest, but it was still early in the day. As I got out of my car, I looked to the southeast and saw 3 big fires way off in the distance. Most likely someone was burning leaves, or a controlled burn of some kind. I hoped that the smoke didn’t drift my way, or toward the eagles’ nests!

November 4, 2023: So wonderful to see Mom and DM2. Thanks, Robin!
November 4, 2023: It’s so wonderful to see Mom and DM2. Thanks, Robin!

I grabbed all my stuff and headed down the trail. I got down the trail and saw one of the eagles perched in a tree that was a couple of trees to the right of N4. I believe it was DM2 that was perched there. I grabbed a few pictures and set up my lawn chair to wait for Mom to hopefully fly in. After a while, DM2 flew off, grabbed a stick and flew to the nest. Shortly after that, Mom flew into the nest! Yay! Both of them were in the nest together! It was fun to watch them moving sticks and getting in each other’s way, just like it used to be at N2B. I think I may have even seen some beakerson’s moments! Eventually, both Mom and DM2 flew off to the north. So I figured I’d go see what was going on at the hatchery. I packed up my stuff and off to the car I went!

November 4, 2023: Can you see the new nest? (hint: it's in the center of the photo)
November 4, 2023: Can you see the new nest? (hint: it’s in the center of the photo)

I drove toward the hatchery and noticed that it was much hazier the closer I got. I have seen HD & HM on the live camera feed taking sticks behind the bluffs. I thought I would stop at one of the pull off areas and look at the trees to see if I could see a new nest somewhere. I got out of my car, and the haze that I saw was definitely not fog, it was smoke! I could smell it the second I opened my door. I grabbed my binoculars and started scanning the trees. I was quite far from the trees, and it was so smoky that it was hard to see anything clearly. There were a couple of spots that looked like it could be a nest, but I couldn’t be sure. There were still some leaves on the trees that also made it difficult to tell if I was seeing a nest, or a bunch of leaves. Luckily, there was another person there that saw the parents fly into the new nest the day before, and was able to point it out to me.

November 4, 2023: HD or HM near the new nest.
November 4, 2023: HD or HM near the new nest

I was surprised by how big it looked already, since they hadn’t been building on it very long. I stayed for quite a while, hoping the parents would come to the nest so I could get a picture, but I never saw them fly in. Surprisingly, when I got home and looked at my photos, I had one photo with a parent perched right by the nest! I might not have seen them fly in because I was distracted by several eagles including juvies, subadults, and adults that kept soaring past in the sky.

After watching for several hours, I decided to head for home. I will definitely be going back soon so I can get better pictures of the new nest and hopefully pictures of HD and HM working on the nest. Does anyone have an “in” with Mother Nature, and could talk to her and tell her to make the weekends nice so I can go over to take pictures? Lol

November 4, 2023: Mom on a dead tree near N4.
November 4, 2023: Mom on a dead tree near N4

I did want to note that due to the distance I was from the nest, and the smoke/haze in the area, I had to crop and edit my nest photos quite a bit which reduces the quality of the photos. Hopefully next time will be a clearer day!

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.