Tour space available for Eagles & Ag | RecordCourier.com

Tour space available for Eagles & Ag

by Caryn Haller
challer@recordcourier.com

With two weeks left until the annual Eagles & Agriculture celebration eagles are being spotted all around the Valley, and organizers are expecting another good year.

Space is still available for the bus and river tours that make up the three-day event.

“They’re (eagles) all over the place,” said Bill Chernock, executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It should be a particularly good year for the viewing and photography of the eagles.”

On Feb. 24, the first raft/kayak birding and wildlife trip on the Carson River and two birders’ special Raptor Highway and Byway tours are offered.

Pat Fried of Great Basin Sports is watching the river flow and weather to decide which fork of the Carson River the tours will take this year. The rafting trips were canceled last year due to bad weather.

“Bird viewing from the unique perspective of a raft or kayak offers incredible photo opportunities of waterbirds, shorebirds, and sometimes we even pass under the trees where raptors are perched,” Fried said. “After a stop to enjoy hot drinks and snacks we will continue to view Washoe tribal lands and be greeted by a tribal member enriching us with the history, biology and geology of the land. The float will proceed through a blue heron rookery where you will be able to see dozens of large blue heron and egret nests.”

Snacks and warm beverages will be provided, and participants should bring a bag lunch.

Tickets are also available for the five-course prime rib welcome dinner that evening, which features falconers Mark and Rob Moglich with a rare White Siberian Goshawk and a Harris Hawk. Eagles & Ag stalwart Dr. Alan Gubanich will give attendees an overview of what to expect during the weekend and Dr. Mike Fischer will speak as well.

On Feb. 25, luxury motor coaches depart from the Carson Valley Inn for the private ranch and eagle tour first thing in the morning, and includes a luncheon. Attendees will learn about Carson Valley ranching and conservation plus have the opportunity to observe birds of prey from vantage points not available to the general public. On Saturday afternoon, the Raptor Highway and Byway tour will again be offered, along with the popular Owl Prowl.

The barns visited on the Owl Prowl is determined by where the most owls are spotted around the Valley.

“We usually hit a number of barns, but most likely we’re going to Stodieck Farms. It’s one of the most popular events we have at Eagles and Ag,” Steve Lewis of the UNR Cooperative Extension said. “We’re definitely going to Whit Hall at the Nature Conservancy in Genoa. There will be a falconer there to fly his bird and demonstrate the falcon’s flight.”

On Feb. 26, both the Raptor Highway & Byway tour and the Carson River tours return with morning starts, and the photography workshop takes to the field at first light to put the classroom tips into practice.

Professional photographer Doug Dill is leading the photography workshop that includes three hours of classroom instruction Saturday night, and three hours of hands-on photography Sunday morning.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for people. The instruction helps you not only capture wildlife, but operate your camera to get the best out of your picture. Then, on Sunday morning you go out all over the Valley and get pictures of eagles and owls and deer and whatever else you come upon,” said Dan Kaffer Eagles & Ag organizer. “Everytime we go out I learn something new. It’s a priceless opportunity that will change the way people take photos the rest of their lives.”

The 10th annual Eagles & Agriculture is sponsored by American Land Conservancy, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Authority, a group of Carson Valley ranchers, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Western Nevada Resource Conservation and Development, the Smallwood Foundation, Lahontan Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy and other members of conservation community.

Participants are encouraged to bring extra camera film, batteries, binoculars and sunscreen to all events.

Prices, registration and a full schedule of events are available online at http://www.visitcarsonvalley.org or Carson Valley Visitors Authority, (800) 727-7677.