Lock and Dam #14

I had an appointment in the Iowa City area on Wednesday that got done a lot quicker than I thought. I took advantage of my free time to drive about 70 minutes on I80 to Lock and Dam #14. When visiting with the nearly 40 photographers there on Tuesday, I was told that some people travel for 8 or 9 hours from all directions to photograph American Bald Eagles during January and February at this amazing site.

When the Great Lake Region becomes snow covered and the streams/rivers frozen, the eagles begin to migrate south in search of food. This migration generally begins mid December through the third week or so of February.

For photographers, Lock and Dam #14 offers a large public parking lot, restrooms, handicapped facilities, a long board walk to set up tripods. You will see the eagles fishing under the dam, which at times, seem almost in hands reach. With some patience, some super images can be taken with as little as a 200mm lens. Generally, a 300 to 800mm lens is used. The image (see below) was taken with the Canon 100-400mm II lens and a Canon 80D. I was able to find a spot on the boardwalk between a Nikon photographer with a 600mm lens and a person taking photos with their cell phone.

For the Bald Eagles, the river offers great Gizzard Shad fishing. This adult eagle was carrying lunch up and into one of the many trees that are located around the area. Just next to the parking lot, there is a Bald Eagle Sanctuary where the eagles can rest without people disturbing them. If you go, be sure to dress warm as the air off the Mississippi River can chill you quickly.

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