Monday, January 10, 2011

Eagle Awareness, Part 1

Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge

One of my bestest buddies, Carroll, and I spent some quality time attending the Lake Guntersville State Park's Eagle Awareness weekend January 7th-9th. Eagle Awareness weekends at Lake Guntersville State Park are counted in the Top 10 Events by Alabama Tourism officials. Arriving Friday evening, we checked in to our bluff side room and stepped out onto the balcony to see this scene, below.

Lake Guntersville

These two shots were actually taken at sunrise Sunday morning, when we checked out but are my favorite shots of the lake. Guess I'm just a sunrise/sunset kinda gal.

Sunrise on Lake Guntersville

As a reminder, Guntersville is in Eve's territory. If you do not know Eve of Sunny Side Up I encourage you to visit her blog and mark it as a favorite because she is an amazing photographer, birder, gardener, creative spirit and a good friend of mine. She also owns and rides a Harley, which astounds little ole me.

Lodge entrance

Friday night the Park staff had an apple cider social along with an orientation about the program, letting us know what to expect throughout the weekend. A history of bald eagle restoration in Alabama was shared along with handouts to help us be able to tell a hawk from a falcon from an osprey from an eagle from a vulture, etc., in flight. We learned cool facts like bald eagles fly approximately 40 mph and their dives can be an incredible 100 mph! The winter count of bald eagles in Alabama was 700-1,000. That's amazing!

One eagle has 7,000 feathers. 7,000 feathers! The feathers of an eagle weigh more than its bones, which as you know are hollow. A group of eagles is called a "kettle." It is illegal to own any part of a raptor - ANY part of a raptor - including found feathers. Fines run up to $1,000.

Our room! (we cannot count this as an eagle spotting....)

Eagles were everywhere. Art on walls, art on water buckets and trays in our room as well as art in the gift shop. Because the lodge is situation high on a bluff overlooking the lake bald eagles constantly fly by at eye level. Walk outside on their many decks and patios and you can watch them fly by or soar overhead. Often in the middle of programs someone would call out "EAGLE!" which meant everyone ran to the windows to watch another one fly by. It was a complete and total immersion into the world of bald eagles and raptors.

Lake Guntersville State Park has been completely renovated and updated, to include leather furniture, a piano bar overlooking the lake below, an exercise room, game room for the kids, and multiple conference rooms. Their restaurant is incredible - Carroll and I, um, kinda indulged ourselves on the buffets. Yum! However, our rationale is that we would need the calories for field trips and eagle watching.

One of the many overlooks at Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge

Fireplaces and comfortable nooks for sitting and talking about eagles can be found throughout the Lodge. We found this setting, this venue, this event to be an amazing experience from start to finish. BUT ... did we see some eagles?


Bo Mackison said...

Gorgeous building, gorgeous setting, gorgeous sunrise, but....eagles???

bunnits said...

The lodge is beautiful. I haven't had a chance to get up there, kind of odd since I spend so much time running back and forth to Gunter's Landing and various fishing areas and the dam.

Gaelyn said...

What a fun weekend, eagles or not. The Lodge is beautiful and so is the view. Love the sunrise shots. Sure hope you did see eagles so we can too.


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