In Search of Eagles was our planned outdoors adventure for this Saturday morning in February. Kellie and I stopped by and picked up our friends Kevin and Ashley. We traveled to Northwest Arkansas heading to the Gentry/Gravette area. My wife Kellie and I have been on many eagle watching adventures over the years. This was going to be the first time for Kevin and Ashley to be with us on an outdoors adventure. Kellie always drives the vehicle while I have my camera in hand ready for the next great shot. And since Kevin and Ashley were in the vehicle, I was the outdoors adventure guide describing what we are going to see, what we just saw and of course breaking out my old tried and true jokes.
As we made our way into Gentry we turned onto one of the side roads which we have been eagles in the past few years. No eagles this time so we traveled up the road to Eagle Watch which is located on the outskirts of Gentry. SWEPCO’s Flint Creek Power Plant in Northwest Arkansas has been home to the Eagle Watch Nature Trail since 1999. The year-round warm water in the coal-fueled power plant’s 500-acre reservoir, SWEPCO Lake, attracts wintering American Bald Eagles. SWEPCO employees, working in community partnerships, developed the 65-acre Eagle Watch project, which includes two wildlife viewing pavilions and a half-mile nature trail. School kids, community groups, bird watchers, hikers and others enjoy the Eagle Watch Nature Trail, which is open to the public throughout the year.
It's almost a guarantee you will see a bald eagle or two or immature eagles at the Eagle Watch area. This particular Saturday morning it was a chilly 40 something degrees with a brisk wind blowing. After a few minutes of searching Kellie spotted a bald eagle in a tree several hundred yards away near a point by the lake. This bald eagle is known as a resident eagle, one that migrated in an area and decided to stay and make it home. Another highlight for us was we saw several frost flowers on the ground coming up the trail to the main pavilion. A frost flower is formed when thin layers of ice are extruded from long-stemmed plants in autumn or early winter. The thin layers of ice are often formed into exquisite patterns that curl into "petals" that resemble flowers.
Back in the vehicle it was time for the searching to continue for more eagles. Leaving the Eagle Watch Nature Trail we turn left onto Highway 12 headed North. We have several roads we turn onto and travel down looking in the trees for those big beautiful birds. We saw two very large bald eagles in a pasture however they were a long distance away for my long zoom lens and our binoculars. We saw a few bald eagles here and there as we drive around the country roads off of the main highway. Then the moment we had prayed for as we started this outdoors adventure happened.
Going down one of the dirt country roads Kellie spotted a couple of bald eagles on the ground. It is quite exraordinary to see eagles on the ground. Such a magnificent sight to be able to see, plus an added bonus coverage this particular morning they were in a pasture close to cattle. One of the bald eagles would walk around and another bald eagle or an immature eagle would fly in and land on the ground as they seemed to be scoping out the area. Then one of the bald eagles landed in a tree near to us allowing us a closer view. We stayed parked on this country road for quite some time taking in this incredible moment God had allowed us on this Saturday morning. So happy that Kevin and Ashley experienced this magnificent moment with us.
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