Friday, July 18, 2014

National Eagle Center, Wabasha Minnesota

The Minnesota weather has been wonderful. Cool and not very humid. We had one overcast day up in Itasca, but we welcomed it and hunkered down for a rest day, cooking homemade soup and doing the wash. 

The tow package installations on our new Jeep were done by mid-day Thursday. I had not made plans for the night, but after a quick look in my reference books we got a spot at a private park in Wabasha MN. It looked like it was about half way between where we were and where we had reservations for Saturday night.

I have mentioned seeing many run down small town downtowns in our travels. Some of the more tourist-oriented destinations are overrun with souvenir shops.  Wabasha, Minnesota is different.  The small downtown is clean, the buildings are in good repair, and there are many "real" small business in addition to the usual eateries. It felt alive. A good place!

I would like to say we choose to come here for this attraction:

The National Eagle Center, but that would be a fib.  Instead, it was a very lucky landing at the Big River RV Park at the edge of town.

We really enjoyed our visit to this most excellent research, rescue, and educational facility.

Merikay compares her arm span with the wing spans of some raptors.

After enjoying some of the exhibits we sat in on the 11 AM presentation. A very perky intern (not the handler in the picture below) gave a fun and informative program about the eagles. Then the handler brought in one of the resident eagles and fed him lunch.

Today, fish was on the eagle lunch menu.  Sunday is Rat day and they love it!

After the program we got to view four of the resident eagles up close with no glass or barriers between.  The resident eagles are all "rescue" birds that have been injured and are unable to survive in the wild. 

It was great to see them so close and to learn more about how wild eagles make their living.

If we had wanted to hang around until 2 PM we could have gotten our pictures taken with a living eagle, but not wanting to wait, Merikay opted for a picture with this lifesize eagle statue. 

We left our Jeep parked there and took a nice short walk along the river. 

Lilies were among my favorite flowers as a child. Lilies blooming in the fields and along the roads meant summer and vacation to me.  Funny, how the sight of them again has brought back so many childhood memories!

After our lunch sandwiches, we headed out of town to a park that promised an easy 2 mile nature trail. 

As it happened, we almost managed to spend some time in Minnesota without being attacked by vast clouds of mosquitos. I had expected them when we visited Judy, but except for a few deer flies and the usual adult force of ticks, we were not bothered at all. We went for several walks and had no problems until Friday.  

We set out on the forested nature trail and although we had sprayed ourselves with "Deep Woods Off", we had to turn back because the mosquito were swarming over Craig.  I am one of the rare people who although I might be bitten by an occasional mosquitoe I rarely welt up or itch. I'm just not allergic to them. A blessing! Deer flies yes, chiggers yes, spiders yes.  But not mosquitoes.  I don't know why, and I'm not asking.

Finally, this was one of several river boats we saw on the Mississippi.

There were some very nice ones docked near where we had lunch.  Someday, I would like to rent a houseboat, perhaps with another couple or two to share the cost and fun, and cruise down one of the big rivers. 

Water RVing?

Anyone want to go?


  1. I used to work with the mayor of Wabasha. He would be happy to hear your comments on his town.

  2. Seems like out of every couple, one is the mosquito magnet. In our case, it is I. My sympathies to Craig!

  3. Looks like a neat town and eagle center.

  4. Enjoyed the pictures - especially the lilies. Also brings back good memories for me.

  5. We are just enamored of eagles. They are such stately creatures. We have one that lives in the cove behind the RV here on the lake. We love watching him as he flies to a tree, then sits there gazing out on the lake all day.

  6. Kathy and I might join you for a river cruise. In 1982, all the men in my family rented a 42 foot houseboat out of Prizer Pt. Marina on Lake Barkley in TN, I think, possibly still KY. We had a good time. To my knowledge they do not rent them on the MO or the Mississippi Rivers. They do rent them on Lake Cumberland in KY too. The problem with the going down the big rivers, someone might have to have certification from the Coast Guard. We did not on Lake Barkley, but beware the barge traffic, you get out of their way not vice versus. Please be careful on the road.


  7. Looks like a nice small town to visit and a visit with the eagles is a bonus. It would be great if the small towns that are successful could teach the small towns that are failing.

  8. Merikay I just found your blog and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading about your travels. Your pictures are wonderful what type of equipment do you use?

  9. Richard, for everyday pictures we use a Sony RX-100 (first version, they are up to their 3rd version which is probably even better). It can fit in a shirt pocket yet takes pretty good pictures. Complaints are a small zoom range, and a tendency to autofocus badly in low light.

    When there's an opportunity for big scenic pix, Craig takes his Nikon D3. It's a bit large to haul along for snapshots. A new Tamron 28-300 mm zoom makes it ready for almost any kind of shot, though you pay for the zoom range in relatively small aperture. The Tamron outperformed the 28-300 Nikon in a camera-store test.

    Also, we run every shot from either camera through Photoshop's Camera Raw front-end. It has enough capability that all we typically do in Photoshop itself is convert the images to JPEG. Standard processing is to darken highlights and lighten shadows, then adjust exposure for each image.

  10. Miss my lilies too, we had a number of different types. Planted glads in my pots this summer, we shall see how that goes. Dave is the skeeter magnet, I'd love to go on a house boat would just have to leave Dave home, with his motion sickness he'd never make it overnight.


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