Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Minidoka Dam’

 “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings.” Hodding Carter.

Bald Eagle in Baytown, Texas. -- Photo by Joanne Kamo

Travels With Maggie

I spotted a bald eagle yesterday. It was just outside the park hanging around the Snake River below the Minidoka Dam in Southern Idaho.

It’s a bird that always makes my heart beat a little faster. It was sitting up on a utility pole, then flew away to the other side of the river as I passed by.

I don’t know whether it was an early migrant from Alaska, where huge numbers of eagle spend the summer, of if it was one that had stuck around the area for the entire year. There’s always a few that do.

It really didn’t matter. Either way it was a magnificent sight. It’s pure white head caught the sunlight as it flew across the water and my breath ceased for a few seconds. The bird’s brilliant white head feathers indicated it was at least four years old. Before that age, bald eagles are ratty brown all over.

Of course there wasn’t time for me to get a picture, as if I even could take a decent shot of a moving target. So I turned to Joanne Kamo’s online art gallery http://www.pbase.com/jitams to illustrate my blog. Joanne, whose bird photos are among the most awesome I’ve ever seen, has given me permission to occasionally use one of her copyrighted pictures. She didn’t fail me.

While bald eagles are beyond my photographic capabilities, even I can take a decent picture of a wild turkey, such as this one in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Her bald eagle photo took my breath away as quickly as did the real thing. If it doesn’t also cause you to gasp in delight, you’re as cold-hearted as a glacier and not someone I care to meet.

The sight of yesterday’s bald eagle made me grateful Ben Franklin didn’t get his way in having the wild turkey be our nation’s symbol. He thought the bald eagle was too much of a thief to represent our country.

I know he was right because I was once privileged to watch a bald eagle snatch a freshly caught fish from an osprey as it flew. The osprey was so frustrated that it chased the eagle until it came to its senses.

But the bald eagle today is also a symbol of what’s best in humankind. These birds were on the verge of becoming extinct when we Americans acted. Since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, bald eagles have regained healthy populations.

Sightings of them in the lower 48 states are becoming more common. And so I wish you good luck in having one of them fly your way.

Read Full Post »

 “Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.” – Albert Schweitzer

Water gushing down into the Snake River during a release at the Minidoka Dam. -- Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

The siren letting people downstream know they are letting water out of the dam here at Lake Walcott has been blaring frequently the past few days.

The lake’s high, the irrigation canals are full and the Snake River is flowing fast and furious.

I watched yesterday as the siren blew and the water gushed down from behind the dam. The white pelicans floating near where the water splashed as it cascaded down a short incline watched, too.

Occasionally I see pelicans in the lake, but sitting below the falls seems to be their favorite hang out, probably because fish like the oxygen rich spot, too. And pelicans like fish dinners.

Red-winged blackbirds build their nest in foilage growing in the shallow waters along Lake Walcott's shoreline. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Minidoka Dam here that created Lake Walcott has been around since 1906, and a power generating plant added soon after, giving local farmers both water and electricity. Teddy Roosevelt, in 1909, created the 25,000-acre Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge around the lake, and the state park, which came much later and which is full of families, fishermen, RV-ers, tenters and boaters for the memorial weekend,, is within the refuge boundaries.

While too often someone suffers when man interferes with Mother Nature, this time it seems like it’s mostly been a win-win situation for human and wildlife species alike.

This is  all too rare these days.

Read Full Post »