Pella Chronicle

October 21, 2011

Ask the Corps

Sherri Duey
Operations Manager Lake Red Rock

Pella — Many visitors come to Red Rock to specifically watch wildlife.  While everyone has their favorite species, eagles are definitely one of the most popular attractions. Here are a few suggestions of viewing locations:

Bald Eagles – While some of these fantastic raptors are at the lake year-round, the best viewing times to spot large numbers of them are during the winter months.  The birds migrate here from the northern states searching for open water and “fishing hotspots”.  Eagle numbers start increasing in November and December, with January offering some prime viewing opportunities.   Good places to start your eagle quest include the parks below the dam (Howell Station Landing, North Tailwater and South Tailwater Recreation Areas).  The north side of the Horns Ferry Bridge by Howell Station Landing (the bridge that no longer crosses the river) offers a great place to view eagles feeding and roosting in the trees along the water’s edge.  Please remember to use “Eagle Etiquette” when watching them – use binoculars and view the birds from a distance so they don’t waste energy flying off or getting stressed.        

General Birding - Suggestions about where to spot other bird species can be found on the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union website at (click “Places” on the top toolbar, then choose “Site Guide,”  “Southeast” and then “Red Rock” to see the lake birding information).  You can also pick up a free copy of the “Makoke Trail: A Guide to Birding in Central Iowa. ”  The booklet is available in hard copy form at the Red Rock Visitor Center and is available online by clicking “Makoke Trail-Central Iowa Birding Trail” in the left column of the homepage.

General Wildlife - A driving tour of the area parks often produce many photo opportunities of birds, mammals and other creatures.  While most parks have seasonal opening and closures, their gates typically stay open year-round. Call the Corps office at (641) 828-7522 or (641) 628-8690 for more details.