Winter is eagle watching season along the bluffs of the Mississippi River and Monday was a perfect day to go--cold and clear skies. First, we stopped by the Chain of Rocks Bridge along Riverview Drive but the parking lot was locked. So, we drove back about a mile south and parked at the Riverfront Park and walked to the boat slip. Immediately, we spotted two eagles. Very cool.
Next, we drove to the Melvin Price Lock and Dam #26 in Granite City, IL. The eagles are much harder to spot here--lots of visual distractions (museum, locks, gulls, pelicans, ducks, etc.)--but they can be seen. And, we did spot several eagles here as well. As an aside, the Melvin Price Locks are an interesting visit, especially if you're into environmental history or environmental studies. What the locks (i.e. The Corps) have done--regulating, controlling, dictating--to the natural flow and boundaries of the river and flood plan is amazing. That male dominated, imperialist attitude so typified by the Corps has completely changed our relationship to nature. It's really sad actually. But, that's really another post.
Next, we drove along the Great River Road to Grafton, IL for lunch at the Fin Inn - an aquarium restaurant. The food was not great nor was the atmosphere. If you're in the area, skip it. On the drive home, we saw more eagles than we could count. If for nothing else that a great scenic trip, I recommend that everyone take the drive along route 3 in IL north through Granite & Woodriver (not so scenic) into Alton, Elsah, Grafton, and as far north as you feel like going.