Eagles Against the Wind (Clarksville, Missouri)

January 24, 2018

A bald eagle gains lift against a west wind with its catch from the Mississippi River.

I learned many years ago as a duck hunter that birds prefer to land and take off into the wind, even if only a slight breeze. Every winter I check the weather almost every day in anticipation for a west wind at my favorite eagle spot, Lock and Dam 24 at Clarksville, Missouri. On those rare days like this afternoon when decent eagle numbers (over 50) combine that west wind I mentioned, magic can happen as eagles fly right toward the lenses of photographers on the Missouri shoreline of the Mississippi River. Now some of you might be wondering, “What the heck is Danny doing out in the afternoon?” Well, eagle photography at Clarksville requires afternoon light as I’m standing on the west bank of the Mississippi River facing east. Believe me, it really goes against my grain to pack my gear and head out at noon but late-afternoon light can be just as easy on the eyes as at the break of dawn.

So it was high noon when I departed for Clarksville today (175 mile round trip) and I arrived just in time for the action. I set up on the bank, as close as I could get to the river and almost immediately made the featured image of an eagle gaining lift after plucking a gizzard shad from the Mississippi River. The image below is what I call the “chomp shot” when the eagle swings the shad up with its feet and chomps the fish and swallows it in mid-air. During a sequence like this is a rare time that I appreciate the capability of my Canon 1D Mark IV to shoot 10 frames per second.

The moment when the eagle swings its catch up and chomps it down in mid-air.

The next image is a closer look at the features of an eagle including its great bill and talons.

A close-up look at an eagle with its catch.

A wider look at the action over the icy Mississippi River.

These were only a few of the keepers I managed this afternoon in the west wind and afternoon light. I even captured some American white pelican images between the eagle action. All in all, it was a great adventure, even if it didn’t begin at 0 dark 30.

Thanks for looking,


Email me with questions or comments at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images and Print Information:  www.dannybrownphotography.com


America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.


4 comments on “Eagles Against the Wind (Clarksville, Missouri)”

  1. What great images! I agree with you that afternoon light can be just as good for photogaphy as early morning light!

  2. Back in the early eighties, we were at Clarkesville, after a long extended cold snap and saw 50 eagles at the locks.

  3. Awesome photos of one of my favorite birds.

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