Monthly Archives: January 2014

Valentine’s Tokens of Affection

Heritage Canyon
515 North Fourth Street
Fulton, Illinois 61252

We would like to invite you to a Valentine’s tea “Tokens of Affection”. Enjoy delicious desserts, sandwiches, tea, coffee and entertainment. Saturday February 15th at 1:00 at the Robert Fulton Community Center, 912 Fourth Street in Fulton. The cost is $10.00 for an afternoon of fun. For $5.00 children can enjoy snacks, crafts, and entertainment in a separate area while parents attend the tea. This is a fundraiser to help the Crafters purchase a golf cart to make the Canyon more handicap accessible. Since space is limited we ask you to make reservations in advance by calling Catherine Gravert at 815-772-3175.

America the Beautiful Concert

map-buttonSavanna Museum and Cultural Center
406 Main Street
Savanna, Illinois 61074

February 7, 2014 – 7:00 PM

The Savanna Museum and Cultural Center will present their first concert of 2014 – America the Beautiful. Michael Dunavant, Gloria Miner, Juliene McCormick and The New Spirit Band will be performing music that shows a love of country. The VFW Color Guard under the direction of Ed Arb will be presenting the colors while Gloria Miner, piano, Michael Dunavant, tenor, and The New Spirit Band perform “The Star Spangled Banner”. The New Spirit Band under the direction of Julinene McCormick, will perform old and new favorites with some banjo music by Gene Wright. There will be an audience sing-a-long with Gloria Miner on the piano and led by John LeComte and Ann Zink. Michael Dunavant, tenor, accompanied by Gloria Miner on piano, will perform American folk songs and hits from American musicals. Please join us at the conclusion of the performance for a reception with the performers. No admission charged, but donations will be accepted.

Romance in Carroll County

This Valentine’s Day follow Cupid’s arrow straight to the heart of Northwest Illinois. Wineries, fine dining, unique shopping, relaxing cabins, and romance awaits you. Make sure to get your Valentine something sweet and join us!

In Carroll County, love is always in the air and romantic getaway packages are available now!

map-buttonBlue Bedroom, The
321 1/2 Main Street
Savanna, Illinois 61074


Stay one night at the Blue Bedroom Feb 8-17, 2014 and receive your second night half off! We’re located in the historic district of downtown Savanna along the Mississippi River just 30 minutes from Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort and Galena. We offer four guest rooms with private baths and a full kitchen and living space featuring views of the Mississippi River. Savanna offers unique shopping, antique motorcycle museum, and the mighty Mississippi all within walking distance.  Call for details and to make your reservation.

map-buttonHickory Hideaway
24366 Payne Road
Shannon, Illinois 61078

lodging-carroll-county-illinois-hickory-hideaway-12Let Hickory Hideaway help make the most in planning your romantic getaway for two. Sip a glass of wine by the fireplace, enjoy stargazing beside the fire pit, or soak in a Jacuzzi tub filled with bubbles… whatever you wish.

In the privacy of your own cabin, you can also customize your package by adding Extra Special touches, from flowers, local wine, to a well deserved couples massage. We can also arrange for customized catering to be delivered right to your cabin.

If venturing out is your desire, we can point you in the right direction. So you can enjoy some of our quaint little specialty shops and fine local restaurants.

Pricing and packages vary, along with special requests. So give us a call and we will help you create a relaxing and loving getaway. We look forward to making memories for you.

map-buttonL & M Motel
2000 North Oakton Road
Savanna, Illinois 61074

L & M Motel Valentine’s Day Special includes a one night stay with us on Feb 14th or 15th for $99.00/ night or 2 nights for only $48.00 more.  Offer includes *dinner for 2 at Hillside Stables Restaurant with free shuttle service and a bottle of Champagne & a box of chocolates.  Make it even sweeter and stay 2 Nights for only $48 more.

*Dinner for 2 = $50 towards dinner at Hillside Stable. When you call us we can make arrangements for you, but L&M Motel does not take responsibility for availability or reservation limitations.

Reservations to the motel must be made before February 13th in order to participate in this special. Limited rooms available.

Bald Eagle Van Tours

Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge are pleased to announce Bald Eagle Viewing Van Tours during February and March. We will be traveling to locations where we have the ability to see the most eagles. So, destinations may change from week to week. Tours will be cancelled in case of inclement weather. Tours leave from Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center at 7071 Riverview Road and take approximately 3 hours. Space is limited to 14 people and pre-registration is required. To reserve your spot, please call the Ingersoll Center at 
815-273-2732. For more information, visit

Tour Schedule:
 February 07 - Friday – 9:00 AM
 February 16 - Sunday – 2:00 PM
 February 21 - Friday – 9:00 AM
    March 02 - Sunday – 2:00 PM
    March 09 - Sunday – 2:00 PM

It’s Eagle Watching Time

Bald Eagles have arrived in record number at Lock and Dam 13, just north of Fulton, Illinois. Over 1,100 eagles were counted in mid-December. Early snow fall and freezing temperatures in the North have pushed the eagles earlier this year, which allows excellent viewing opportunities. Many of these eagles will continue to travel south following the Mississippi River. Grab your camera and binoculars and head out to your favorite spot or better yet, signup for an eagle tour.

Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge (SUMRR) will be hosting several bald eagle viewing trips on each Saturday starting on January 11 through January. February trips will be on: Friday the 7th. We will leave the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center promptly at 9:00 a.m. and travel to various locations along the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge returning by noon. February 16th trip starting at 2:00 p.m. and returning by 5:00 p.m. There is no fee, but seating is limited so reserve your space today. You may register by sending an email to or call the center at 815-273-2732. The Center is located at 7071 Riverview Rd, Thomson, Illinois 61285. More information on additional tours and webcam viewing can be seen at

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is the most visited refuge in the United States. The refuge extends 261 miles along the Upper Mississippi River from Wabasha, MN. to Princeton, IA. protecting and preserving habitat for migratory birds, fish, and a variety of other wildlife.

Bald Eagles in Carroll County

wildlife-carroll-county-illinois-bald-eagle-1Wintering population keeps growing, to delight of bird-watchers and conservationists.

Despite the cold weather, thousands of people are grabbing their binoculars this winter and heading out to find bald eagles in Illinois.

Chances are better than ever they’ll see scenes like the one Thursday near Starved Rock State Park. Bald eagles, five or six at a time, swooping over the lock and dam on the Illinois River and then dropping into the icy water to grab fish. In trees along the shoreline, more birds were roosting.

Illinois once offered only a few rare glimpses of what was then a vanishing national symbol, but now the state has become second to Alaska in the U.S. in wintering bald eagle population, experts say. And this year’s frigid conditions, combined with the steadily growing population of eagles throughout North America, are bringing the birds into Illinois in greater numbers.

“The colder it is and the longer it stays cold, the more eagles you see,” said John Knoble, an Army Corps of Engineers supervisory park ranger in charge of natural resource management for more than 300 miles of the Mississippi River from Wisconsin to Missouri.

As lakes and rivers freeze up north, more eagles are flying south in search of open water and fish. The locks and dams along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, where water remains unfrozen and fish are plentiful, are prime spots for eagles, though the birds have been spotted in many areas of Illinois.

In places where it was once a thrill to see 10 eagles, there now may be hundreds.

“We had 300 birds in one location in Fulton, Illinois, this past weekend,” Knoble said of the Mississippi River town that birders say is the hot spot this year. “There was a day when we had over 1,000 birds there.”

Four decades after the eagle was declared an endangered species in the U.S., experts estimate that there are at least 3,000 eagles in Illinois this winter. That’s three times as many as the early ’90s. This weekend, volunteers coordinated by the Illinois Audubon Society will check the numbers as part of the organization’s annual midwinter bald eagle survey.

“It is hard to believe there was a day when we were concerned about the future of them,” Knoble said as he watched 25 eagles outside his Rock Island office along the Mississippi. “Their turnaround is remarkable.”

And the eagle-watchers are turning out in greater numbers, officials said.

About 150 to 200 people flock each Saturday and Sunday to the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center’s viewing area near the Starved Rock lock and dam in the winter, according to Army Corps park ranger Bob Petruney. And, he said, from 5,000 to 8,000 people typically attend Bald Eagle Watch Weekend in the Starved Rock area, one of several wintertime eagle-related events in Illinois. This year’s event at Starved Rock, on Jan. 25 to 26, may draw more people because of growing interest, he said.

Petruney has witnessed the aerial splendor of the eagles and their 6- to 8-foot wingspan for about 10 winters now. The birds arrive in December and depart in March.

As enthused as he is about the large bird of prey that represents freedom, he appears equally enthused with its human fans.

“Sometimes, especially on weekends, they are knocking down the door before 9, and they are still here at 5,” Petruney said. “Eagle numbers are up. And I’d say visitor numbers are definitely twice what they were 10 years ago.”

Barbara LeVault drove Wednesday with her husband, Jerry, from Morris, Ill., to the visitor center to look at eagles. They make about three trips a year.

“Winter is pretty dull and dark, but the eagles are the one thing we have,” she said. “Other people go to Florida, but we go eagling, and we really look forward to it.”

Even if you have watched these 10 – 14 pound birds soar and dive, “there’s no getting away from how impressive a bird they are,” Field Museum senior conservation ecologist Doug Stotz said.

Chicagoland eagle enthusiasts don’t need to travel as far as Starved Rock or the Mississippi to set their sights on at least one. Bald eagles have been spotted along the Fox River at Geneva, Batavia and further downstream at Oswego and Montgomery, as well as in numerous other northern Illinois counties. Chris Anchor, wildlife biologist for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, said eagles have been seen along the Des Plaines and Chicago rivers and Salt Creek.

“People will call (the Illinois Audubon Society office in Springfield) and say, ‘We want to see eagles. What should we do?’ And we say, ‘Look up,'” said Tom Clay, the society’s executive director. “Even in Sangamon County, here in the middle of the prairie, we have eagles.”

An American Success Story

One reason interest in the bald eagle is high is because it is so closely tied to the U.S., its image found in so many places, said Nan Buckardt, director of environmental education and public affairs for the Lake County Forest Preserve District.

“But they are also huge birds, and they are so impressive that when you see them it is hard not to stop and stare,” she said. “People tend to not believe their eyes, and then they call us and we get the pleasure of reassuring them. Yes, they’ve seen a bald eagle in the wild.”

“They are the great American success story,” Clay said. “Eagles are a sign that we can change our ways.”

On July 4, 1976, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the bald eagle on the national endangered species list after years of decline in population that is most often blamed on habitat destruction and the pesticide DDT.

But as DDT and similar pesticides were banned and laws were enacted to clean up the water and protect nesting trees, the eagles began to recover. In 2007, the bald eagle was taken off the endangered list, but it continues to be protected by other federal laws.

There are efforts nationwide to continue monitoring the population, among them the Audubon Society’s midwinter count to determine wintering populations in the contiguous U.S. The report has shown the midwinter count in Illinois rose from 1,156 in 1993 to 2,325 last year. Clay said he expects larger numbers this year and easier and more accurate counting because the birds are concentrated around locks and dams.

The Corps also does its own weekly lock and dam eagle count, with rangers along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers counting the eagles during December, January and February. The results from the Mississippi count are posted weekly on the Rock Island District’s website. Rangers say if there is any delay in online reporting, people call wanting to know where the eagles are that day and how many.

“I believe this marked our 30th year for organized bald eagles watches,” Knoble said. “When we started, we were lucky if we saw 10 to 15 at each lock and dam. We were thrilled. Now if we see 10 or 15, that’s a horrible day.”

Most of the birds seen in Illinois in January and February are migratory eagles that have come south from the Upper Great Lakes region in search of food, experts say. Though they prefer fish, they also will eat waterfowl and roadkill. They are opportunists, scientists say. Generally, the harsher the weather is for humans, the better it is for eagle-watching.

Breeding Numbers Up

While the winter numbers are impressive, what’s more important for the future is the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the state, said Joe Kath, endangered species manager with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“The midwinter count directs people toward the sites where they can see the eagles,” he said. “When it comes to recovery, it’s based on the number of breeding pairs.”

The IDNR in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitors active nests that produce and fledge young. Illinois documented just eight breeding pairs in 1990, but more than 100 in 2007. Kath said that upward trend continues in every state where eagles are documented.

According to Kath, early 1960s nationwide surveys showed 417 eagle breeding pairs in the Lower 48 states, but the number rose to 9,800 by the time the bald eagle was taken off the endangered list in 2007.

The IDNR lists 14 eagle events in Illinois on its website, Kath said. Some are in conjunction with Iowa and Missouri, and all take place on weekends in January and February, including this weekend’s Quad Cities Bald Eagle Appreciation Days.

Kathy Casstevens, marketing director at Starved Rock Lodge, said eagles have given people more than one reason to visit the state park in winter. “Frozen waterfalls are stunning,” she said. “But there’s nothing like seeing a mature bald eagle in flight right over your head.”

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