Birdchick's Eagle Route

Ian was reading some directions I sent to he and Margery to see eagles towards Red Wing after my segment. Here are the directions he was reading:

This is a route that I use for going to Red Wing to enjoy the eagles.

A Great Route For Eagles

Take Hwy 55 south to where it meets with Hwy 52, keep following it and when it splits, keep following Hwy 55. As you are driving along on this point, you should have seen some red-tailed hawks. When you get near the Shaar's Bluff turnoff for Hwy 42 watch the top of the poles, we have an unusual falcon hanging out here called a gyrfalcon. It's huge and gray and white. If it's there, you won't miss it.

Take Hwy 55 to Hwy 61. Turn left on 61 and then you will take a right at the next light--I believe it's called E 10th Street. Watch for red-tailed hawks and since it's March, you might see some turkey vultures. You can tell them from eagles by their wings. They will hold their wings in a prominent "V" shape and rock back and forth like a kid on a bike for the first time. After a few miles, you should pass a patch of iced up water that is staring to melt. If it's open, you should find Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, common mergansers, hooded mergansers, goldeneye, and ring-necked ducks, killdeer and great blue herons.

You will notice some marshy areas and cottonwoods as you continue on, watch for large dark lumps in the trees--you should see some eagles. The road will eventually end, turn left (I think the road you turn onto is 200th Street or County 18) and you will turn left and go over a bridge. You can pull off onto the parking and boat launch areas. Often times, you will find eagles hanging out fairly close to the parking area. Also, there are quite a few wood duck boxes, so in the water you should see some wood ducks and hooded mergansers.

Get back onto the road and keep going, follow the signs to Treasure Island. You will come to a three way stop with an abandon gas station on the left (it's the road to the casino). Pull into the parking lot and admire the bald eagle nest across the way. That's certainly one of the largest I have seen and could be one of the largest in the state. I'm not sure how much longer that tree can hold the nest. In the water around the nest, you may find common mergansers, Canada geese, mallards and maybe four trumpeter swans.

After watching the nest, get back onto County 18 Blvd and continue heading south, as you go, you should get another view of the nest on the driver's side of the car. Watch open water and trees on both sides of the road, if the pair of eagles that uses the nest isn't on it, they are probably on the surrounding trees.

The road will go up into the hills and then end up at Hwy 61. Turn left onto 61 and take it all the way into Red Wing. I usually like to stop into the mall in town and grab some hot chocolate or coffee while there to take to Colville Park. Take 61 past the curve, you should see the power plant on your left and should see large dark birds circling on the bluffs on either side of the road--those are ealges.

Watch and follow signs that say City Park, and turn right. You will turn right again, it will almost be a u-turn that will back track and then take to down to the marina. Park in the marina and watch for eagles in the trees, all around the parking lot.

If you want, after you are finished, you can keep heading south to Wabasha to visit the National Eagle Center. Any areas of open water will have eagles, often right on the hwy. Try to do this before the end of March for the best numbers.