Crews prepared for the start of Eagle Cruise in Essex.
Beautiful bald American eagles were soaring high above the lower Connecticut River on Friday afternoon. They return each winter to nest and feed this when inland lakes and ponds freeze over. Now, Connecticut residents can see them by taking a cruise.
RiverQuest Captain Mark Yuknat was prepping his boat for Saturday's 14th season opener of their Eagle Cruise.
For $40 per person, guests climb aboard RiverQuest for a two-hour eye-opening tour of the lower Connecticut River to watch the eagles as they hunt for fish and nest. Seven nests are known to be thriving along the river between Goodspeed Bridge and Essex.
"We'll see Eagles; we'll see ducks that you don't see in the summer time,” Yuknat said. “We may see a seal popping its head up."
An ice covered river, 24 inches thick, prevented the boat from venturing out for several weeks the past two years. The Eagle Cruise has become very popular for bird watchers and photographers as they bundle up against the winter cold to watch nature in action.
"Even when the wind is blowing they're still out here,” Yuknat said. “[They] won't give up their spots."
There was a time when the Connecticut was polluted and the eagles stayed away. But, 50 years of good environmental intervention have seen the eagles return to stay.
"It’s cleaned up tremendously,” Yuknat said. “We have Osprey's back. We have Eagles back in pretty good numbers now."
Eagle Cruise passes also gain people entry into the Connecticut River Museum where RiverQuest was docked for these tours thru March 19.
"They're lasting about two hours plus or minus a little bit depending on conditions. We should see plenty of things,” Yuknat said.
The Eagle Cruises begins this weekend. If you want to find out more information, click here.
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