A Sleepover and a Surprise

“Do you want to drive by the river and see if we can find the eagles?”

“Yes!  Then I can tell Mom and Dad and August that I saw them!  August loves birds too.”

I smile.  August is two-years-old.  We have picked up Sloane for an overnight with Grandma and Grumpa.

“It’s pretty overcast.  I don’t know if we’ll see anything.”

The days are so much shorter now, and it’s dark by 5:00 p.m.  It’s late afternoon  and we drive along for quite a while without seeing any birds, but Sloane is content to spot nests in the trees.

“What’s up ahead?”

Ric slows the car.  It’s a hawk circling above the road.  It lands high up in a tree across the river.  Sloane and I open our car windows for a better look, noticing a Great Blue heron standing just at the river’s edge beside where we’ve stopped.  I raise my camera, but not fast enough – both the hawk and the heron fly off.

Further along a flock of blackbirds gather, preparing for migration.

Sloane finds this interesting.  Exploring with her is so much fun. ‘Keeping her busy’, she calls it.

“Want to drive by the Little Falls?”

“I do!”

“There won’t be any eagles there, but there might be more herons.”

We pass the falls, but there are no birds, so Ric drives through the park that borders the river above the falls.  The light is fading.

“We likely won’t see anything else today.”

“Well we can back tomorrow,” Sloane suggests.

“Wait a minute,” I interject.  “What’s over there?”

Eagle 4Ric stops the car and I point my camera towards a tall tree across the river.   I can see two dark masses in high up in the tree.  One clearly looks like a nest, but the other…

“It’s a bald eagle!”

“I can’t see it, Grandma.”

Ric hands her the binoculars, but she can’t find what I’m looking at.  The bird is well camouflaged beneath a tangle of tree branches.

“Take lots of pictures, Grandma!”

“I have an idea,” Ric says and slowly pulls out of the park.  He drives back to the main road and across the bridge, turning down the street where the eagle in perched in a tree in someone’s backyard.

The eagle does not fly away at our approach, even as we roll down the windows and remark on his formidable presence.   I take more pictures, and Sloane gets the binoculars to work so she gets a good look.  Then we hurry home to look at our pictures and call her parents.

Eagle 13

Sloane’s dad is impressed with our find.

“I’ve never even seen an eagle,” he says.

Sloane beams.


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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

11 thoughts on “A Sleepover and a Surprise

  1. Oh I LOVE this, all of it, the story, the photos and especially the curious youngsters!! So happy she has grandparents who are sharing this with her.

    And I do hope your grandchildren know about the Decorah Eagles!

    Try this website, especially the video from the Des Moines Register that tells about the history of the site.


    so many of my posts are about Bald Eagles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. I had not heard of the Decorah bald eagles. I will share this with the kids for sure. We haven’t seen eagles in our part of the world for some time – only made a comeback in the last few years – so this is really exciting. I suspect I’ll be posting quite a bit about them too, lol.


      1. Oh I’m so glad. I’ve been watching them for many years.

        And have had the rare experience myself recently of a pair spending time in my front yard tree!

        Keep teaching those grandkids. Isn’t it just a wonderful, unexpected kind of LOVE?

        Liked by 1 person

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